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: Mindanao Christians present ‘policy agenda’ for new Muslim region

Christians form a minority in southern Philippines and policy proposals dealt with their concerns once they become citizens of an autonomous Muslim region. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Christian leaders have submitted a “Christian policy agenda” to the transitory body that will facilitate the formation of a new autonomous Muslim region in the southern Philippines, reports the Catholic news website UCAN. The agenda, put together after consultations last month in several areas set to become part of the […]

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Will new Muslim region in southern Philippines bring peace?

Will new Muslim region in southern Philippines bring peace?

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has called on all communities in the southern Mindanao region to support the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that is to facilitate the creation of an autonomous Muslim region. During a ceremony on Monday, 6 August, he urged the local population “to actively participate in constructive discussions […]

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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: Marawi, a year after Islamist siege, 50,000 still in temporary shelter

Street in battle-scarred Marawi in a still taken from a video.

 People in the battle-scarred Southern Philippines city of Marawi are trying to rebuild their homes and lives one year after the place was stormed by Islamist militants. On 23 May 2017, militants belonging to the Maute group, an affiliate of Islamic State, took over Marawi. In what followed, five […]

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