• Crisis Severity ?
    2.2
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    2.8
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.4
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    2.7
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    1.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 109,033,000 Total population [?]
  • 119,000 People displaced [?]
  • 119,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

08/03/2022

The Mindanao island group (Mindanao), with a population of 24 million, has long had the highest poverty rates in the Philippines despite its natural resources and a promising agricultural sector. Mindanao is prone to natural disasters resulting in displacement – as is the rest of the country. Displacement in Mindanao is also caused by clashes between the military and armed groups that reject or are no longer involved in peace talks with the Government. Besides conflict, displacement, and poverty, a shadow criminal economy, clan politics, and intercommunal tensions also disrupt the livelihoods and economic potential of Mindanao, requiring a nexus approach to response. Over 100,000 people are in protracted displacement in Mindanao because of conflict and violence.

Mindanao has a four-century-long history of Moro resistance against forces from outside the island, with conflict between the Philippine Government and armed groups lasting since the late 1960s. The communist New People’s Army is active across the country, including in Mindanao. The Islamic State has had influence in Mindanao since 2014. The siege of Marawi city in 2017, in Lanao Del Sur province, was a five-month battle between pro-Islamic State fighters and the Philippine military. The conflict displaced 400,000 people to nearby towns and left houses and infrastructure destroyed or damaged. Although reconstruction is taking place, approximately 17,000 IDPs are still unable to return after four years because of the destruction.

The establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in March 2019 has been a major step towards conflict resolution between the Philippine Government and several autonomy-seeking groups, particularly the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). BARMM is the poorest region in the country. Armed conflict and violence are still common in BARMM’s poorest provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Sulu, where clashes between the military and armed groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group occur frequently. ?

 
INFORM measures the Philippines' risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be high, at 5.3/10.?

Latest Developments

14/06/2022

No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

Risk

Political violence and attacks by armed groups in Mindanao around the May 2022 presidential elections result in displacement and protection issues Latest update: 27/03/2022

Probability

Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

Impact

Very low Moderate Major

RATIONALE

Electoral violence across the Philippines is a threat during the three-month-long election season that started on 8 February 2022. Filipino voters will choose their next president, vice president, and 18,000 other political positions on 9 May.? Electoral violence by privately hired armed groups includes voter intimidation, attacks on polls, and the assassination of political rivals.?

The leading candidate for the presidential elections is Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., who held the presidency from 1965 until a people’s revolution ousted him in 1986.? In southern Mindanao, Marcos Sr.’s policies contributed to land grabs, human rights abuses, and conflict.? Marcos Jr.’s controversial candidacy will likely contribute to increased political tensions and violence in Mindanao.

Armed group attacks and clashes with the military still affect Mindanao. Armed groups include the New People’s Army, Maute, Abu Sayyaf, and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.? These groups may take advantage of political tensions and authorities’ focus on the elections and conduct more attacks. Security forces are being deployed to areas of security concern across the country, mostly in Mindanao.?

Rivalling political clans that control the local economy by force and a shadow economy that provides the means for armed groups aggravate political violence and conflict in Mindanao.? The situation puts Mindanao at high risk of increased violence and attacks by armed groups, including electoral violence by ‘private’ armed groups hired to attack polls and political candidates by rivalling politicians.?

Polls in areas with the presence of armed groups, particularly the New People’s Army, are most at risk.?

IMPACT

The risk of electoral violence and increased conflict during and after the three-month-long election season (February–May 2022) will likely result in higher-than-average displacement (including protracted displacement) and raise protection concerns. There are two reasons the number of IDPs will most likely increase or spike when voters head to the polls on 9 May. The polls could be targeted with violence, or armed groups may take advantage of the security focus on polls to conduct attacks elsewhere.

The Government has sufficient resources to respond to IDP needs, but IDPs in Mindanao tend to become displaced for protracted periods. Protracted displacement reduces access to basic services, livelihoods, food, WASH, and protection. Evacuation centres and IDP sites in Mindanao also tend to be in remote areas difficult to access or far from services. IDPs may face protection issues because of a lack of security and the presence of criminality (such as drug-selling). Displaced people in Mindanao often resort or choose to stay with relatives, but sharing homes reduces privacy and space. The loss of livelihoods that accompanies displacement can also increase family tensions and gender-based violence.? Host families in Mindanao will likely come under additional economic strain for supporting displaced relatives, particularly when displacement becomes protracted. Mindanao regions have the highest poverty rates in the country, and the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impacts of Typhoon Rai have worsened the situation.?

 

Read this risk

Key Concerns

16/03/2022

Shelter: IDPs in Mindanao live in permanent housing, in transitory sites, or are hosted by friends or relatives. For those living with family or friends, lack of privacy and limited space are commonly reported issues.?

WASH: Transitory sites lack access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation. ?

Food and livelihoods: IDPs report being unable to pay for their daily needs because of limited livelihood opportunities.?

Access to services: Overall, access to basic services and assistance remains an issue.?