Country Profile



A recent peace agreement appears to have brought an element of stability to the Muslim regions of the Philippines. But the history of the insurgency has been one of groups fracturing, making peace, and slipping back into conflict. What should make this peace agreement different? The answers lie in the conflict's recent history: the military power of the Philippines' armed forces, the economic rewards of peace, and leaders who are determined to reach a settlement.

1The Muslim minority of the southern Philippines has been in conflict with the central government since the early 1970s. A peace agreement was signed early in 2014.

2While the conflict is divided along religious lines, not all groups have framed their resistance in Islamic terms – and some have used Islam as a cover for banditry.

3Many fighters have been influenced by global jihad, particularly in Afghanistan, but the grievances they are fighting against are local.

Situation Report

A peace treaty signed this year formally ended a long-drawn-out separatist rebellion by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the islands of Mindanao, the Sulu archipelago, and Palawan island. Groups, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) have been in armed conflict with the Philippine government since the 1970s.

They argued that Muslims were never part of the Philippine body politic, having been forcibly integrated under American colonial rule. Since then, the argument goes, Manila has maintained its control through the security forces, and by co-opting Muslim elites with offers of state positions. The government, they claimed, then encouraged families from the overpopulated and Christian regions to move to the country's last large island-frontier to civilise or replace the "backward Muslims" and other indigenous tribes of Mindanao.

  • Global Overview
  • 1. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: September 2016 1
  • 2. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: August 2016 7
  • 3. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: July 2016 4
  • 4. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: June 2016 5
  • 5. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: May 2016 1
  • 6. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: April 2016 7
  • 7. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: March 2016 8
  • 8. Violent Religious Extremism Incidents: February 2016 1
  • Extremism
  • Fatalities: Civilians: September 2016 14
  • Fatalities: Extremism: September 2016 2
  • Counter-Extremism
  • Counter-Extremism Incidents: September 2016 15
  • State Counter-Extremism: Arrests: September 2016 34
  • State Counter-Extremism: Statements: September 2016 6
  • State Counter-Extremism: Use of Force: September 2016 12