Whatever the outcome of the Philippine elections on 10 May, the new government should make Mindanao a priority, devoting serious attention to the peace process, the dissolution of private armies and justice for the 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
The massacre on 23 November 2009 of 57 men and women by the private army of a warlord allied to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo shocked the country and the world.
Six months after the collapse of autonomy negotiations between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippines government, low-intensity conflict continues but moves are under way to resurrect talks.
On 14 October 2008 the Supreme Court of the Philippines declared a draft agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippines government unconstitutional, effectively ending any hope of peacefully resolving the 30-year conflict in Mindanao while President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains in office.
U.S.-backed security operations in the southern Philippines are making progress but are also confusing counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency with dangerous implications for conflict in the region.
Terrorist alliances in the Philippines are in flux in a way that could affect the peace process between the Arroyo government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Persistent reports of links between the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terror network overshadow and put at risk the peace process between the MILF and the Philippine government.