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: Islamic group vows to help Catholics with Marawi’s rebuilding

Approximately 350,000 Marawi residents who fled the conflict in their city last year still remain in temporary shelters. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

A programme launched by the Catholic Church, aimed at rebuilding the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines after months of fighting between Islamist groups and the military, has received support from the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. According to AsiaNews, the rebel group is […]

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Filipino priest Teresito Suganob free after 4 months as hostage

Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob in a still taken from a video shortly after his release.

Catholic Filipino priest Teresito “Chito” Suganob is finally free, having been held hostage by Islamic State-linked militants for almost four months in the war-torn city of Marawi. According to The New York Times, the priest was rescued late on Saturday (16 September) by the Philippines military, as it moved closer […]

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Three months on, Islamists still hold Christian hostages, as Marawi residents start to rebuild

Approximately 350,000 Marawi residents who fled the conflict in their city last year still remain in temporary shelters. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

More than three months after it first attacked the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines, the Maute terrorist group is on the run, while still apparently holding 46 hostages, including Catholic priest Teresito “Chito” Suganob and 13 children. Almost half a million Marawi residents are displaced as a result […]

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Fate of kidnapped Philippines priest – 57 today – ‘uncertain’

Catholic Priest Suganob is spending his 57th birthday in captivity, held by the Maute terrorist group in Marawi, Philippines. (Photo: still taken from a 'propaganda' video released by the kidnappers)

The fate of the kidnapped Filipino priest Teresito “Chito” Suganob – 57 today – has “become uncertain”, as the battle for the southern city of Marawi continues, according to the Catholic news agency UCAN. In June, World Watch Monitor reported that Father Suganob – who was abducted by the Maute […]

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Philippines reconsiders bill for autonomous Bangsamoro

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) shakes hands with Al-Hajj Murad (L), chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as Ghazali Jaafar (R), vice chairman of MILF, looks on during a ceremony where a draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was submitted to the president at the Malacanang Palace in Manila on July 17, 2017. (Photo: Getty Images)

A new law that will govern the creation of a new autonomous Muslim region in the southern Philippines was submitted as a bill to the government on Monday (July 17) for approval by Congress. President Rodrigo Duterte received the draft “Bangsamoro Basic Law” (BBL), crafted by a 21-member commission that […]

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Philippines: Islamist separatists endorse fatwa denouncing extremist violence

Philippines: Islamist separatists endorse fatwa denouncing extremist violence

The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group has backed a fatwa against violent extremism issued by a senior Islamic religious leader in the troubled southern region of Mindanao. Sheikh Abehuraira Abdulrahman Udasan, mufti of the influential Bangsamoro House of Opinion in Mindanao, issued the Islamic legal ruling “against the entry and […]

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Kidnapped Philippines priest ‘alive’ but Marawi situation ‘dire’

Kidnapped Philippines priest ‘alive’ but Marawi situation ‘dire’

The Catholic priest abducted by the Maute terrorist group last month – in the early stages of its ongoing assault on the city of Marawi in the southern Philippines – is believed to be still alive, after his release was reportedly offered in exchange for the parents of the Maute […]

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