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New Report Explores Violent Extremism in the Philippines at a Moment of Historic Change

March 26, 2019

Read the full report here

A new report from IRI’s Center for Insights in Survey Research explores the drivers of conflict and violence in Mindanao, an island in the southern Philippines.  In recent years, Mindanao—a region suffering from deeply entrenched ethnic and religious divisions—has seen an uptick in high-profile terrorist attacks and has become the operational hub for more radical and brutal violent extremist groups.  

IRI conducted qualitative research to analyze vulnerabilities to extremism in Mindanao as well as potential sources of resilience. While the drivers of violent extremism are complex and vary across individual contexts, IRI found that pervasive violence and limited access to justice may increase the appeal of violent extremist organizations.

This report follows the recently-ratified Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), which is recognized as a historic breakthrough and represents a step toward security in the region. The BOL, which codifies the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) provides greater autonomy for the Muslim population in Mindanao. By establishing the BARMM, many of the historic grievances used to radicalize local populations and mobilize large indigenous militias have been significantly mitigated.

IRI found that focus group discussants were hopeful about the prospects of peace and security in the wake of the passage of the BOL. Discussants’ faith in the capacity of negotiation to resolve key issues could present an opportunity for the peaceful and democratic resolution of conflict at the local level.

IRI’s latest research will inform and underpin our approach to programming going forward to ensure that our work supports efforts to tackle the root causes of violent extremism in the Philippines. Read the full report for more information.