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: former missionary freed

Italian businessman and ex-missionary, Rolando Del Torchio, kidnapped in the Philippines last October, was released on Friday 8 April, . Police picked up the 57-year-old in the southern Philippine island of Jolo. After six months of captivity, he appeared much thinner and was immediately taken to hospital for a check-up. […]

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IS allegiance reported in Philippines

A video has emerged showing the leader of Abu Sayyaf (a militant Islamist group based around the islands of and in south-western Philippines) swearing allegiance to the leader of Islamic State, reports Rappler, a digital news website based in the Philippines. The Abu Sayyaf leader is shown marching with other extremist […]

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