Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June 2016, much of the world’s attention towards the Philippines has been on Duterte’s take-no-prisoners war on drugs, which has resulted in thousands of deaths. The campaign has overshadowed the country’s long-standing struggle with the Islamist-led independence movement on the southern island of Mindanao, where the Islamic State group wants to create a “province” of its “caliphate”. It was in Mindanao in May 2017 that Islamists pledging allegiance to IS besieged the city of Marawi, abducted a Catholic priest and several other Christians, set fire to buildings including a cathedral and Protestant-run college, beheaded a police chief, and erected the black flags of IS. Christians in the south fear that a proposed peace deal between the government and Mindanao’s Islamists will legitimise anti-Christian harassment. Already, the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches has reported that some recent converts from Islam have been abused by their families and communities.

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Philippines parliament approves bill for autonomous Bangsamoro

The Bangsamoro Basic Law is seen as key to ending decades of conflict and stopping the growth of Islamic extremism in the southern region of Mindanao where just last year the city of Marawi was attacked by a militant group. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Philippines parliament yesterday (30 May) approved a bill that will give greater autonomy to the southern region of Mindanao, as reported by Reuters. The approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is another step towards the creation a new autonomous territory called Bangsamoro, named after its ‘Moro’, or Muslim, […]

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Philippines: Catholic priest, Marawi hostage for almost 4 months, tries to find healing

Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob in a still taken from an IS propaganda video posted on 30 May last year.

One year after Islamist militants stormed the southern Philippines city of Marawi and 8 months since his escape from his kidnappers, Catholic priest Father Teresito Suganob is trying to find healing for himself and his nation, reported UCAN. Father Suganob was one of around 200 people who were taken hostage […]

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Philippines cathedral bomb attack followed warning of ‘very real’ terrorist threat

The situation in Mindanao has been tense for many years. Military personal stand guard in front of a church in Davao City, Mindanao, after a bomb attack killed 14 people here in 2016. (Photo: MANMAN DEJETO/AFP/Getty Images)

Two people were injured after a bomb went off outside a Catholic cathedral in the southern Philippines a day after regional leaders heard that the risk of terrorist attacks remains “very real”. The explosion at St. Anthony’s cathedral took place on Sunday (29 April) in the City of Koronadal, capital […]

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Marawi’s rebuilding yet to start, despite warning that defeating extremism depends on it

Marawi’s rebuilding yet to start, despite warning that defeating extremism depends on it

Four months after the battle ended over the southern Philippines city of Marawi, Muslim leaders have called on people to stop posting divisive information on social media. Rumours were spread via social media in recent weeks, saying that the Catholic cathedral, which was severely damaged during the conflict last year, […]

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