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After decades of insurgency, the government of the Philippines is making efforts to deliver peace to Mindanao in the south of the country. Although the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in 2019 can be seen as an initial success on the road to peace, this entity is faced with a difficult task in managing the transition until the 2022 elections. Violence continues between the government and several armed groups, including ISIS-affiliated elements and the communist New People's Army. Through field research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to support the peace processes, promote strategies designed to limit the space for jihadist recruitment and mobilisation, and strengthen social cohesion in Mindanao.

CrisisWatch Philippines

Unchanged Situation

Violence persisted at low levels in south, while deadly clashes between govt forces and communists continued. In Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in south, clashes between militants and military forces were rare during month, notwithstanding relative insecurity. In Maguindanao province, Philippine security forces 2 Dec killed son of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) militant Hassan Indal in Ganta village; killing may suggest change in govt tactics to target top militant leaders instead of large-scale offensives. Unidentified gunmen same day shot off-duty policeman in Kauran village, Ampatuan town. In Sulu province, members of Radullan Sahiron’s faction of Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group 8 Dec clashed with military forces, killing one soldier and two militants. In Marawi city, rehabilitation efforts continued. Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) 8 Dec said more internally displaced people affected by 2017 siege could start rebuilding houses inside Marawi city’s ground zero by third week of Jan 2022; TFBM head Eduardo del Rosario and Mayor of Marawi Majul Gandamra 8 Dec agreed to expedite release of building permits for some 1,500 applicants. Meanwhile, clashes between armed forces and communist group New People’s Army (NPA) persisted with greater lethality compared to last month: govt security operations or rebel ambushes in Mindanao Island in south, Visayas Islands in centre and Luzon Island in north killed at least 20 combatants and civilians and injured six. Over 150 members of NPA-affiliated organisations 10 Dec surrendered to authorities. Typhoon Rai (Odette) as of 21 Dec left at least 378 dead in Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte province, Mindanao, and parts of Visayas, with authorities warning that without urgent humanitarian assistance, lack of food and water could lead to looting; NPA fighters in Negros Island, Visayas, committed to aid rehabilitation efforts.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

19 Aug 2016
If [President] Duterte can move this [the peace deal] forward during this honeymoon period rapidly, it has a much better chance of going through. I think it's an opportunity that's a tragedy to lose. ABS-CBN News
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Latest Updates

Q&A / Asia

Philippines: The International Criminal Court Goes After Duterte’s Drug War

Officials in The Hague have announced a formal investigation into alleged state crimes committed as part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s aggressive counter-narcotics campaign in the Philippines. For several reasons, as Crisis Group expert Georgi Engelbrecht explains, the enquiry will face an uphill battle.

Op-Ed / Asia

The Normalization Process in the Bangsamoro Faces Rising Uncertainty

Delays in the decommissioning of Moro rebels and other measures threaten the fragile peace in the newly created Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.

Originally published in The Diplomat

Report / Asia

Southern Philippines: Keeping Normalisation on Track in the Bangsamoro

Peace in the Philippines’ majority-Muslim region requires disarming 40,000 ex-rebels and encouraging economic development where they live. But progress toward these goals, together called “normalisation”, is sputtering. Both Manila and the former insurgents need to hit the accelerator lest the process lose momentum entirely.

Op-Ed / Asia

Bangsamoro’s Potential for Regional Gains

The recently established Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) offers new hope for a peaceful future for its majority-Muslim population after decades of war. The success of BARMM, and more broadly, the peace process, could send positive ripple effects across the wider region.

Originally published in Philippine Strategic Forum

Op-Ed / Asia

Marawi Rehabilitation Delays Could Cast a Dark Shadow over Duterte’s Peace Legacy

The glacial pace of the city’s reconstruction could fuel disillusionment among the region’s population.

Originally published in The Diplomat

Our People

Georgi Engelbrecht

Senior Analyst, Philippines