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Philippine Insurgency

"Conflict in South Philippines,
especially Mindanao Philippines"

Moro muslims in the Philippines
Philippine Insurgency: Mindanao Conflict

It's not only Thailand that has a domestic 'problem' in Southeast Asia. Philippines is part of the cake.

Since the 1960's there has been a struggle between the Muslims in south Philippines and the Philippine government, but the conflict is rooted back to 1900s.

So, how did it start?

For hundreds of years the southern region of the Philippines has been under Muslim rule of Sultanate of Sulu. When the US became the colonial power of the country in late 1800s it signed a peace treaty with the Sultanate of Sulu, to prevent war in the Moro area.

Moro soldiers in the Philippines
Philippine insurgency: Moro Muslims
But the Americans started to colonize Molo island which of course provoked the Moros.

It was the Muslim population called the Moros that started a launched struggle in the south. The Moros have formed the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and have been fighting for self-rule and self-determination.

Eventually there was a truce between the two parties from the late 90s. In 2008 they were close at getting autonomy, but the country's Supreme Court ruled the agreement on ancestral domain unconstitutional. Therefore the conflict escalated, leading to more violence. This agreement was negotiated for years and supposed to be signed in Malaysia in 2008.

A new peace contract was signed in July 2009.

There has also been violence linked to Muslim groups in the south, such as Abu Sayaf. It is claimed that these groups are supported by Al-Qaeda. Since 2000 there have been over 40 bombings against civilians and civilian property, mostly in Mindanao and Basilan.

How does this affect traveling in the Philippines?

There is a danger of kidnapping throughout the country, but it's not advisable to travel to Mindanao and in the Sulu sea because of high treat from kidnapping.

The latest incident was an Australian citizen who was kidnapped from Zamboanga in December 2011 from Tawi Tawi island. In July 2011 two American citizens were kidnapped from a resort on Tictabon island (Mindanao - Zamboanga). Since November 2011 there have been over 10 bombing incidents in Cotabato (Mindanao).

Philippine gunmen snatch US citizens on Tictabon

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