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.

Sort By date
Filter by Tag

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 […]

Read More

Philippines: Mindanao gets first deputy governor for Christians

(Photo: Getty Images/AFP/Ferdinandh Cabrera)

The autonomous Muslim region in the southern Philippines has named its first deputy governor for Christians. The governor, Mujiv Hataman, said the appointment of Edgardo Ramirez, a known human rights activist and radio broadcaster, would ensure the voices of Christians – a minority in the region – are heard. After […]

Read More

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, […]

Read More

Philippines: Marawi liberated but root cause of extremism remains

Soldiers on a military vehicle are seen on liberated but battle damaged street in Marawi City on 17 October. (Photo: Getty Images)

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared “Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence” on Tuesday (17 October) after the military killed two of the ring leaders behind the five-month assault on the city, but a religious freedom expert has warned the “killing of militant leaders does not destroy the fighters behind […]

Read More

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

The siege of the city of Marawi in Mindanao by Islamists one year ago, displaced many people. (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 […]

Read More

Philippines: Catholic priest free but over 40 hostages still held in Marawi

Members of the Philippine army are clearing Marawi City of the last fighters of the insurgent Maute group. (Photo: Getty Images)

Catholic Filipino priest Teresito “Chito” Suganob may have been freed, but the war in the southern city of Marawi is not over yet, as 40 hostages are still being held by militants in the city, while almost half a million Marawi residents are internally displaced. Father Suganob arrived in the […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More