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

The siege of the city of Marawi in Mindanao by Islamists one year ago, displaced many people. (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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Kidnapped Philippines priest pleads: ‘Please consider us!’

Kidnapped Philippines priest pleads: ‘Please consider us!’

As the battle for the southern Philippines city of Marawi continues, a priest being held hostage by Islamist militants has appeared in a video, pleading for the President to “consider” hostages’ lives and stop bombing the city. A spokesman for the Philippines army dismissed the video, which was released yesterday […]

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Islamists besieging Marawi, southern Philippines, kill 9 Christians at checkpoint

Islamists besieging Marawi, southern Philippines, kill 9 Christians at checkpoint

UPDATE (25 May): Nine Christian civilians were reportedly shot dead at a militant-run checkpoint in the besieged city of Marawi in the southern Philippines on Tuesday (23 May). Filipino news site GMA News Online – one of the biggest news and public affairs networks in the country – reported that […]

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Arrest of Philippines bishop condemned as ‘illegal’

Arrest of Philippines bishop condemned as ‘illegal’

The arrest and detention of Carlos Morales, Bishop of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church), for harbouring a man wanted by the police has been condemned as “appalling and a violation of human rights”, reports ACNS. Mathews George Chunakara, general secretary of the Thailand-based Christian Conference of Asia, said in a statement […]

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