After decades of insurgency, the Philippine government is making efforts to bring stability to the Bangsamoro, a majority-Muslim area in the country's south. In 2019, Manila granted the region self-rule, an important step on the road to peace, but the new autonomous entity faces challenges in managing the transition until parliamentary elections in 2025. Clashes still break out sporadically. Meanwhile, Manila's disputes with Beijing in the South China Sea continue, amid rising U.S.-Chinese strategic competition. Through field research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to support the Bangsamoro peace process and reduce maritime tensions in the Asia Pacific.

CrisisWatch Philippines

Unchanged Situation

Clashes in south continued between security forces and Islamist militants amid intra-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighting, while military battled communist rebels.

Insecurity persisted in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In Basilian province, security forces 6 June rescued Indonesian child from custody of Abu Sayyaf Group commander in Sumisip municipality; army 7 June killed two Abu Sayyaf fighters in Sumisip hinterlands. Military and unnamed armed group 18 June skirmished in Ungkaya Pukan town. In Marawi city, joint police-military operation 14 June killed Abu Zakaria, Islamic State’s emir in Philippines and leader of remnants of Maute Group – local branch of Islamic State-inspired militants in Lanao region. Ambush same day killed two police officers in Shariff Aguak town, Maguindanao del Sur province, which authorities blamed on Islamic State-linked militants. Elsewhere in Maguindanao del Sur, police-military raid 18 June killed seven persons in Datu Paglas town in operation aimed at members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters; MILF claimed victims were its members. Members of MILF’s 105 and 118 Base Commands 20 June clashed in Datu Saudi town, marking fourth such round of fighting between groups this year. Militant surrenders continued: notably, in Sulu province, member of Abu Sayyaf and Egyptian militant 13 June surrendered.

Deadly clashes continued between military and communist rebels. Military operations and militant ambushes by communist New People’s Army in Mindanao in south and Visayas Islands in centre killed at least 13 combatants and civilians and injured four during June.

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In The News

6 May 2022
Time has passed since the time of Martial Law, and if you look at the demographics, it is mostly older Filipinos who remember and are opposed to BBM. Foreign Policy

Georgi Engelbrecht

Senior Analyst, Philippines

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Georgi Engelbrecht

Senior Analyst, Philippines
Georgi Engelbrecht

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