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CrisisWatch Philippines

Unchanged Situation

Clashes between authorities and communist rebels continued and govt conducted raids against Abu Sayyaf militants in south. Govt troops killed vice chairman of New People’s Army (NPA) 13 June in Sorsogon province; same day, suspected NPA fighters attacked police station in Mindanao province in south. Govt task force to end communist insurgency, created by President Duterte under executive order in 2018, reported NPA members 15 June killed two human rights activists in Sorsogon. In Negros Occidental, military 20 June killed two NPA militants in shoot-out in Santa Catalina town while one soldier died in clash with NPA in Manjuyod next day. Authorities early June arrested six suspected Abu Sayyaf members in separate raids in south; military announced deployment of 1,700 additional troops in Jolo to fight militants. Malaysian officials said Filipino gang members with suspected links to Abu Sayyaf militants abducted ten fishermen off Borneo island 18 June, taking them to southern Philippines; police 22 June reported that some hostages were freed in Sulu province, though total released remained unclear. Suicide bomb at military base in Jolo killed five and injured twelve 28 June; Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for attack while military said ISIS-linked Abu Sayyaf likely behind attack. Police in Cotabato province 10 June shot dead an ISIS-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter militant who had escaped detention in 2018. Security forces 15 June arrested two militants in Quezon city who took part in Marawi City siege of 2017. Filipino fishing boat sank following 9 June collision with Chinese vessel in contested waters in South China Sea (see South China Sea).

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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

Commentary / Asia

Philippines: Addressing Islamist Militancy after the Battle for Marawi

The Philippine city of Marawi, on Mindanao island, remains in ruins more than a year after a five-month jihadist takeover. To avoid fuelling militancy, Manila must involve locals in reconstruction, implement a 2014 deal with Mindanao separatists and go beyond efforts to counter jihadist ideology.

Op-Ed / Asia

Philippines Peace Process: Duterte Playing for High Stakes

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has put his weight unequivocally behind efforts to bring a negotiated end to more than four decades of conflict in the south of the country, but uncertainty is bleeding momentum from the process and the clock is ticking.

Originally published in The Interpreter

Op-Ed / Asia

The Philippines' Misguided Plan to Stop South China Sea Tensions

Cooperating on oil won't work - but fishing might.

Originally published in The National Interest

Op-Ed / Asia

Why Duterte Needs to Move Fast to End Decades-long Insurgency

The southern Philippines is potentially closer to peace than at any time in the four decades since Muslim insurgents started fighting for independence, but the substantial progress over the past six years is also fragile. The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, needs to build quickly on the foundations laid by the last administration or the process risks collapse.

Originally published in The Interpreter

Report / Asia

The Philippines: Renewing Prospects for Peace in Mindanao

Hopes are high that one of the world’s longest-running civil conflicts can be resolved in the Philippines. The newly-elected president must act on his commitment to the outgoing administration’s promise of autonomy for the southern Bangsamoro (Muslim Nation) population. Failure to do so risks more lawlessness or reigniting the insurgency.