• Crisis Severity ?
    2.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    3.1
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    1.5
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    3.4
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    2.0
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 109,033,000 Total population [?]
  • 136,000 People displaced [?]
  • 136,000 People in Need [?]

Overview

07/07/2021

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. Overall, there are 155,000 displaced people in Mindanao, 43,000 of whom were displaced in 2021 alone.

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 87,000 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

27/08/2021

Around 1,700 people are displaced to Tangcal town following clashes between the Philippines armed forces and Islamic State-linked Maute armed group in Tangcal and Munai (Lanao Del Norte province) and in Madalum (Lanao Del Sur province) on 24 August. The IDPs are staying with host families and in public buildings. Relief response is underway.?

Key Concerns

25/03/2021

Shelter: IDPs in Mindanao live in permanent housing, in transitory sites, or are hosted by friends or relatives. The building of additional transitory shelters has been delayed because of issues around eligibility, inclusion, and installation of utilities. For those living with family or friends, lack of privacy and limited space are commonly reported issues. Availability of permanent housing, eligibility, and administrative impediments are major access issues for most IDPs.?

WASH: Transitory sites lack access to clean water and sanitation. IDPs report limited numbers of latrines, resulting in open defecation and increasing the spread of communicable diseases.?

Food and livelihoods: IDPs report being unable to pay for their daily needs because of limited livelihood opportunities. IDPs say they are unable to sell their produce at the market or cultivate their land because of COVID-19 movement restrictions and armed conflict. Dry commodities (noodles, rice, and canned goods) remain the only form of assistance. There is a need for more nutritious food.?

Access to services: Overall, access to assistance remains an issue, particularly for those who are not registered as IDPs but who have still been displaced. Basic facilities can barely meet the needs of host communities, leaving displaced people with extremely restricted access.?

Political Climate and Peace Negotiations

27/08/2021

The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was legally formed in 2019 when the Senate passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The interim Bangsamoro Transitional Authority (BTA) is governing the region until 2022. The BTA comprises 80 representatives headed by the chief minister, who is also chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The BTA decided to postpone the parliamentary elections planned for May 2022 until 2025 because COVID-19 measures slowed down the transitional bureaucratic process.

Military clashes are taking place, with armed groups such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who reject the peace, wanting independence rather than autonomy. BIFF attacks are fuelled by some rival politicians and middlemen who run a shadow economy (drugs and weapons) in the BARMM and want to undermine the BTA. Although the BTA views the governmental militarised response as one of the conflict drivers, intercommunal tensions are the underlying cause of these episodes of violence and the proposed extension.

The Senate received BTA’s proposed bill 2214 to extend the three-year transition period on 20 May 2021. Protests took place in the Basilan province of the BARMM in late May because the extension delays the complete establishment of the BARMM. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is also against it because the extension would exclude the nine MNLF representatives currently part of the BTA.

The bill divides the 80 BTA seats between the MILF (47 seats); governors of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Sultan Kudarat provinces (24 seats); nominees of Marawi and Cotabato cities and 63 villages of Cotabato province (3 seats); and representatives of non-Moro indigenous peoples (6 seats).

It is not clear whether the exclusion of the MNLF would result in conflict escalationThe Senate approved the bill in late August.?