Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Kalinaw News: Army recovers high-powered firearms in latest clash with NPA terrorists in Rizal

Posted to the Kalinaw News Facebook Page (May 1, 2023): Army recovers high-powered firearms in latest clash with NPA terrorists in Rizal

CAVINTI, LAGUNA – Troops of 80th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army clashed with more or less 20 New People’s Army members belonging to KLG NARCISO, SRMA 4A under Janice JAVIER @YAYO, Secretary and Jordan MOPON @BOYONG, PL of PLTN 1 SDG, at vicinity So Ilas, Brgy Puray, Rodriguez, Rizal on May 1, 2023, Monday.

After the brief firefight, the government troops were able to capture one (1) M16 rifle, one (1) M203 grenade launcher, one (1) hand grenade, one (1) handheld radio, three (3) magazines for M16 rifle, other ordnance items and personal belongings of said NPA members. No government troops were injured in the said skirmish.

According to Brig. Gen. Cerilo C Balaoro Jr., Commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, the troops took action in response to the information provided by the residents about the presence of NPA members extorting foodstuffs and other supplies from the populace.

“We appreciate the valuable information provided by concerned residents of Sitio Ilas who are fed up with the NPA group under @BOYONG and @YAYO constantly harassing the community and extorting foodstuffs and other supplies from the poor families. We assure them that the Army will always act upon their call in order to put an end to the terroristic acts and threats being posed by remaining Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members to their families”, BGen Balaoro Jr added.

The unrelenting security operations of the government forces in Rizal and the adjacent provinces have prevented the planned atrocities of the CTG against government flagship projects and civilian targets. It can be recalled that three (3) days ago, another firefight transpired between government troops and the NPA in the boundary of Bulacan and Rizal with no reported casualties on both sides.

Meanwhile, three former rebels operating in Rizal recently surrendered to the 80th Infantry Battalion on April 28, 2023. According to the surrenderors, they were deceived by their recruiters and are already tired of fighting a nonsense ideology.
BGen Balaoro reiterated his persistent call on the remaining NPA members to return to the folds of the law, avail themselves of the government’s reintegration programs, and live a peaceful life with their families.


[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]



Kalinaw News: 450 San Isidro youths complete 3-day Youth Leadership Summit

Posted to the Kalinaw News Facebook Page (May 2, 2023): 450 San Isidro youths complete 3-day Youth Leadership Summit

ASUNCION, DDN – The Local Government Unit of San Isidro, Davao del Norte with its Sanguniang Kabataan (SK) Municipal Federation in partnership with the Youth for Peace Movement- Tanang Lihok Batan-on ug Sundalo (YFPM-TALBOS) and the 60th Infantry (MEDIATOR) Battalion, 10th Infantry (AGILA) Division, Philippine Army successfully facilitated the 3-day Municipal-wide 4th Youth Leadership Summit (YLS) with 450 participants from the thirteen (13) barangays of said municipality on April 29 to May 1 at Sawata Ernandcor Central Elementary School, Brgy. Sawata, San Isidro, Davao del Norte.

The 4th YLS in San Isidro with the theme: “PeaceFULL: Holistic Youth in Insurgency-free Communities”, highlights the different roles of the youth in the sustainment of peace in their community and in nation-building. On their first day, the participants underwent lectures on the Overview of the Youth for Peace Movement, Suicide Awareness and Prevention and Responsible Social Media Engagement. The second day involves a lecture and workshop on Project Pitching and lectures on NPA Infiltration and Recruitment in the Youth Sector and Fire Prevention from the 60IB and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) respectively. During the duration of the 3-day summit, the youth participants also participated in various team-building activities and interactive challenges, that developed their leadership, camaraderie, teamwork and self-reliance. These include Guidon Making Competition, Spiritual enhancement dubbed as “Peace Bonfire”, Cheers and Yells Competition, Academic Competitions, Search for Binibining YLS, Hunt for Breakfast and Shower for Peace.

In his message, Lt. Col. Merrill C Sumalinog, Commanding Officer of 60IB expressed his grateful appreciation for the unwavering support of the Local Government Unit of San Isidro spearheaded by Hon. Silvano B. Gaje, Municipal Mayor, the different partner line government agencies and the Youth Sector to the Philippine Army which made the activity possible. He also thanked the facilitators coming from the YFPM- San Isidro Chapter, YFPM-Tagum City Chapter, YFPM- New Corella Chapter, YFPM-Carmen Chapter and YFPM-Laak Chapter for their enthusiasm and incomparable sense of volunteerism. He further urged the new breed of young volunteers to go home and continue serving their respective communities by advocating peace and encouraging their fellow youth to take part in the government’s advocacy of creating peaceful and conflict-resilient communities.

On the other hand, the Provincial Government of Davao del Norte led by Hon. Edwin I. Jubahib represented by Ms. Carmelita Apas, Liaison Officer of San Isidro, pledged to continue supporting this kind of activity that empowers the youth as advocators of peace and help them to develop their leadership potential.

The closing ceremony was highlighted by the Youth’s taking of their Oath of Allegiance to the Philippine Government in support to the government’s advocacy of maintaining the peaceful and insurgency-free status of their municipality and the whole of Davao del Norte as well and the Induction of the YFPM-San Isidro Chapter’s new set of officers.


[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]



Kalinaw News: Remaining towns of Polillo Group of Islands achieve insurgency-free status

Posted to the Kalinaw News Facebook Page (May 2, 2023): Remaining towns of Polillo Group of Islands achieve insurgency-free status

CAVINTI, LAGUNA – Patnanungan and Jomalig, both of Quezon province are now insurgency-free municipalities following the Ceremonial Signing of Memorandum of Understanding on April 27 and 28, 2023, respectively

Said municipalities were conferred by an inter-agency body with the Stable Internal Peace and Security (SIPS) status after successfully meeting the criteria established under the phases of Normalization per Revised Joint Implementing Rules and Regulations to Executive Order 546 Series of 2006, specifically the absence of recorded NPA violent activities for at least one year.

Town chiefs expressed their heartful gratitude to the different stakeholders and the citizenry for working hand in hand to achieve their shared dream of having a safe, secured and insurgency free environment. They are confident that by being known as an insurgency-free area, businesses and tourism will further flourish and prosperity will become a way of life in said island municipalities.

Brigadier General Cerilo C Balaoro Jr., Commander, 202nd Infantry Brigade, praised the Local Government of the newly declared insurgency-free municipalities for institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation approach in attaining this milestone in the Normalization process. “This declaration is our serious and sincere desire to finally attain national unity and put an end to the local communist armed conflict that has hindered our collective aspirations for peace and development.”

He also encouraged every citizen not to support the Communist Terrorist Group and its front organizations to sustain the gains of the government and the people and maintain the climate of peace.

With the declaration of SIPS status, the Local Chief Executives are now leading the charge in maintaining peace and security while pursuing development initiatives for the good of their constituents.

The program also involves the redeclaration of the CPP-NPA-NDF as Persona Non Grata in the two municipalities as well as the signing of the Pledge of Commitment of all stakeholders particularly the local officials from the municipal level, including the different Barangay Chairmen and SK Presidents.

It can be recalled that the three other municipalities on the Polillo Group of Islands namely Panukulan, Polillo and Burdeos achieved SIPS status last March 2023.

Read: https://bit.ly/44e831D

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]



CPP/Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis: Tropa ng 4th IB, inambus ng BHB sa Occidental Mindoro

Ang Bayan Daily News & Analysis online propaganda posted to the PRWC Newsroom, the blog site of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Information Bureau (May 1, 2022): Tropa ng 4th IB, inambus ng BHB sa Occidental Mindoro (Troops of the 4th IB, ambushed by the NPA in Occidental Mindoro)

May 01, 2023

Inambus ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB)-Mindoro ang tatlo-kataong tim ng 4th IB sa Lipitan, Barangay Monteclaro, San Jose, Occidental Mindoro noong Abril 25. Napatay sa naturang aksyon si Pvt. Mayu-ay Onaw habang nakatakas ang dalawa niyang kasamahan. Nakumpiska sa kanya ang isang kalibre .45 pistola na may dalawang magasin at selpon.

Sa ulat ng BHB-Mindoro, tiniyak ng mga Pulang mandirigma na hindi madamay ang apat pang sibilyan na naroon sa lugar ng ambus. Taliwas ito sa kasinungalingan pinalalabas ng 4th IB na pinaputukan ang mga sibilyan at piniringan pa ang mga ito.

Paliwanag pa ng yunit, ang ambus laban sa pasistang sundalo ay “nagsisilbing paggawad ng rebolusyonaryong hustisya” dahil sa pagkakasangkot ng mga sundalo ng 4th IB na walang tigil na naghahasik ng teror sa timog ng Mindoro, lalo na sa hanay ng mga katutubong Buhid.

Imbwelto si Pvt. Onaw sa mga operasyong kombat na ginagamit sa paggiya at pagsama sa mga operasyong search and destroy, paniktik, sapilitang nagpapasuko at tortyur sa mga kapwa niya katutubo.

Liban dito, isa din siyang masugid na galamay sa pagrerekrut ng CAFGU sa hanay ng mga Hanunuo at Buhid sa mga bayan ng Rizal at San Jose, Occidental Mindoro ayon sa yunit ng BHB.


CPP/NDF-Negros Island-MAKIBAKA: Idalum sa kubay sang NDFP, nagabaskog ang militansya sang kababaihan

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 2, 2023): Idalum sa kubay sang NDFP, nagabaskog ang militansya sang kababaihan (Under the influence of the NDFP, women's militancy is getting stronger)

Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan-Negros Island
NDF-Negros Island
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

May 02, 2023

Tuman nga ginadayaw kag ginakalipay sang mga rebolusyonaryong kababaihan ang ika-singkwenta nga anibersaryo sang National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Pamatuod ini sa pagka-mabinatuon, indi malutos, kag labi nga pagbakud sang rebolusyonaryong hanay. Subongman, mas pa nga nagabaskog ang hanay sang MAKIBAKA ukon Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan, ang rebolusyonaryong organisasyon sang kababaihang Pilipino.

Indi mapanginwala ang mapuslanon nga papel sang NDFP sa sulod sang pungsodnon demokratiko nga kahublagan nga nagtinguha sa pagbag-o sa sosyedad nga malapyudal kag malakonyal nga gintuga sang imperyalismo, burukrata kapitalismo kag pyudalismo. Idalum sa kubay sang NDFP, nagabaskog ang militansya sang kababaihan upod ang masa agud batoan ang mga naga-upang sa ginahandum nga hilway nga sosyedad.

Base sini, ginakondena sang MAKIBAKA ang ginhiwat nga Balikatan Exercises nga nagpasulod sang 15,000 ka Amerikanong tropa sa pungsod. Isa ini ka pagtraydor sang rehimen Marcos Jr sa pungsodnon nga soberanya kag nagbutang sa masang Pilipino, ilabi na sa kakabaihan, sa peligro. Ginpalayas pa gid ang madamu nga pumuluyo sa ila panimalay agud himuon nga “playground” sang mga berdugo nga suldado sang papet nga reaksyonaryong estado kag sang agalon sini nga Estados Unidos.

Dugang sa paslaw nga tinguha sang reaksyonaryong gobyerno nga lutuson ang rebolusyonaryong kahublagan paagi sa kalakasan kag pagsabwag sang kakugmat sa kaumhan man ukon sa kasyudaran, ginapaantus pa gid sini ang pumuluyo sa mataas nga presyo sang balaklon, barato nga sweldo, kag tuman nga kapigaduhon kag kagutom.

Sa tunga sang sini nga kahimtangan, padayon sa gihapon ang pagsulong sang MAKIBAKA-Negros upod ang iban pa nga rebolusyonaryong organisasyon sang lain-lain nga sektor, ang NDFP kag New People’s Army (NPA) sa isla. Wala sang katumbas ang kusog kag pag-uswag sang rebolusyonaryong hanay sa pagpamuno sang Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Indi malutos kag mapahuyang ang nagadaba-daba nga balatyagon para sa pagpundar sang isa ka hilway nga sosyedad. Kabaliskaran sa gusto malab-ot sang maitom nga plano sang rehimen US-Marcos II, ang ila pagpa-antus sa pumuluyong Pilipino ang nagapanguna nga kabangdanan ngaa mas nagabaskog pa ang demokratiko nga rebolusyon sang banwa.

Mabuhay ang ika-50 nga anibersaryo sang NDFP!


CPP: Gunitain ang Mayo Uno na may higit na determinasyong ipaglaban ang interes ng uring manggagawa at buong bayan

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 1, 2023): Gunitain ang Mayo Uno na may higit na determinasyong ipaglaban ang interes ng uring manggagawa at buong bayan (Commemorate Mayo Uno with greater determination to fight for the interests of the working class and the entire nation)

Communist Party of the Philippines
May 01, 2023

Bilang pampulitikang partido at taliba ng uring manggagawang Pilipino, ipinapahayag ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) ang rebolusyonaryong pakikiisa sa malawak na masa ng uring manggagawang Pilipino at masang anakpawis sa paggunita ngayong taon sa makasaysayang araw ng Mayo Uno, Pandaigdigang Araw ng Uring Manggagawa.

Sa araw na ito, ibayo nating pag-alabin ang maka-uring determinasyong isulong ang mga pakikibaka ng masang manggagawa laban sa lumulubhang mga anyo ng pagsasamantala at pang-aapi at ang pakikibaka ng buong sambayanang Pilipino para sa tunay na kalayaan at demokrasya.

Papalala nang papalala ang kalagayan ng masang manggagawang Pilipino at kapwa anakpawis sa gitna ng sumisidhing krisis ng naghaharing sistemang malakolonyal at malapyudal. Lalo pa ngayong lumalala ang mga anyo ng pagsasamantala at pang-aapi sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Marcos na walang-awat ngayon sa pagtulak ng anti-manggagawa at anti-mamamayang mga patakarang pabor sa malalaking burgesyang komprador at mga dayuhang malalaking kapitalista.

Buong-lupit na ipinatutupad ngayon ng rehimeng US-Marcos ang mga patakarang neoliberal upang panatilihing mura at siil ang mga manggagawa at alisin ang lahat ng hangganan para sa kapitalistang pagsasamantala at pang-aapi.

Pangunahin sa mga patakarang ito ang pagpapanatiling napakababa ng sahod ng mga manggagawa na malayong mas mababa sa tunay na halaga ng lakas-paggawa ng mga manggagawa (o halaga ng pagkain at iba pang saligang pangangailangan ng mga manggagawa at ng kanilang pamilya). Bukod sa ginawang pagbaklas sa minimum na sahod (sa anyo ng tinaguriang “regionalization”), nariyan din ang “two-tier wage system,” at iba’t ibang iskema para hilahin nang hilahin pababa ang sahod ng mga manggagawa. Sinasamantala rin ng mga kapitalista ang kapit-sa-patalim na sitwasyon ng mayorya ng mga manggagawang Pilipino walang trabaho upang lalong ibaba ang sahod. Aabot sa 73% ng sinasabing may trabaho, ay walang regular na trabaho at pinagkakakitaan. Sa desperasyon, libu-libong Pilipino ang nangingibang-bayan para maghanap ng kabuhayan.

Inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan din ng mga kapitalista ang mga manggagawang Pilipino sa anyo ng laganap na kontraktwalisasyon (na ginawang ligal sa ilalim ng Herrera Law) at mga iskema ng “flexible employment.” Mayorya ng mga empresa at negosyo sa bansa ay nag-eempleyo mga manggagawang kontraktwal, na hindi binibigyan ng tamang sahod at mga benepisyo, at pinagkakaitan ng karapatan sa pag-uunyon at kolektibong pakikipagtawaran. Laganap ang mga kaso ng pagtatrabaho nang lagpas sa walong oras na walang bayad, at pagpapatrabaho sa mga di makatao o peligrosong kundisyon sa imbing layunin ng mga sakim na kapitalista na sagarin ang kanilang tubo.

Malaking mayorya ng mga pamilyang Pilipino ang nabubuhay nang kahig-tuka. Milyun-milyong manggagawa at mala-proletaryado ang lugmok sa hirap at gutom, laluna sa harap ng lumalalang kalagayan pang-ekonomya at panlipunan. Labis-labis ang pagdurusa sa harap ng mababang pasahod, mataas na tantos ng disempleyo, pang-aagaw o pagkakait ng kabuhayan, sumisirit na presyo ng pagkain at karaniwang bilihin, at malubhang kakulangan ng badyet ng estado sa kalusugan, edukasyon at iba pang serbisyong panlipunan.

Walang mapapala ang masang anakpawis sa paghihintay sa anti-manggagawa at anti-mamamayang rehimeng US-Marcos. Mula maupo sa poder, nagtetengang-kawali si Marcos sa napakalakas na sigaw ng mga manggagawa para sa umento sa sahod, sa harap ng walang kapantay sa nagdaang dalawang dekada na tantos sa implasyon, at mga bigong pangakong mababang presyo ng bigas at mga bilihin.

Ang prayoridad ni Marcos ay mapasaya ang mga dayuhang malalaking kapitalista, at kasabay niyon, ang kanyang mga katotong malalaking negosyante tulad nina Ramon Ang, Lucio Tan, mga Cojuangco at iba, mga kamag-anak at mga alyado sa pulitika tulad ng mga Duterte, Arroyo, Romualdez at iba pa. Habang nagpapataw ng karagdagang buwis sa balikat ng sambayanan, kinakaltasan naman ng buwis ang malalaking kapitalista at mayayaman sa ilalim ng batas na CREATE. Maya’t maya ang biyahe ni Marcos sa ibang bansa upang magpasarap at maghanap ng mga kasosyong dayuhang mga bangko at kapitalista.

Kasuklam-suklam na ngayong Mayo Uno, sa halip na harapin ang mga manggagawang Pilipino, nagtungo si Marcos sa United States upang makipagpulong kay US President Biden, upang sementuhin ang mga kasunduan para sa pagtatayo ng karagdagang mga base militar ng US sa Pilipinas. Sunud-sunuran si Marcos na ipinagagamit ang Pilipinas sa US sa geopulitikal na estratehiya nito na palibutan ang China at mang-upat ng gera. Sa ganito, dinadamay ni Marcos ang Pilipinas at isinusugal ang kalayaan at buhay ng mga Pilipino sa imperyalistang gerang inuudyok ng US. Pakay din sa biyahe ni Marcos ang ayudang militar para sa brutal na gerang panunupil sa Pilipinas para supilin ang mga patriyotiko at rebolusyonaryong pwersang ng sambayanang Pilipino.

Napaka-importante na kumilos ang mga manggagawang Pilipino upang isulong ang kanilang kagalingan at mga kahingian, at ipaglaban ang interes ng buong sambayanan. Kailangang itaas ang antas ng kanilang organisadong lakas bilang bisig sa pakikibaka. Dapat patatagin, itayo o muling buuin ang mga unyon at iba pang anyo ng mga samahang manggagawa upang bigkisin ang milyun-milyong manggagawa at buuin sila bilang isang makapangyarihang pwersa ng pagbabago.

Dapat likhain ang isang malawak at makapangyarihang kilusang propaganda at pag-oorganisa sa masang manggagawa na umaabot sa pinakamaraming bilang ng mga unyon, pabrika at lugar ng pagtatrabaho, at mga komunidad. Tipunin ang mga manggagawa, talakayin ang kanilang kalagayan at mga hinaing, pag-isahin ang kanilang paninindigan, at itaas ang kapasyahang lumaban. Bigyang-alab ang diwa ng militanteng pakikibaka sa pamamagitan ng sama-samang pagkilos, welga at mga pagkilos sa lansangan. Itaas ang kamulatan para ipaglaban ang pambansa-demokratikong hangarin ng buong sambayanan, at makiisa sa pakikibaka ng uring manggagawa sa iba’t ibang panig ng daigdig.

Kaalinsabay nito, dapat palalimin at palawakin ng Partido at mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa ang ugat nito sa masang manggagawa at anakpawis. Dapat puspusang itaas ang rebolusyonaryong at maka-uring kamulatan ng mga manggagawa. Buuin at palakasin ang kanilang mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa. Pandayin ang libu-libong proletaryong rebolusyonaryo, rekrutin sila at tipunin sa parami nang paraming sangay ng Partido. Tipunin ang suporta para sa armadong pakikibaka, at magrekrut ng mga mandirigma at kumander para sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan, ang tunay na hukbo ng uring manggagawa at magsasaka.

Mabuhay ang uring manggagawang at masang anakpawis!

Mabuhay ang Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas!

Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!


CPP/NDF-Negros Island: Sa Adlaw sang Pangabudlay:Mag-isa, ibasura ang makahalalit nga mga neoliberal nga palisiya

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 1, 2023): Sa Adlaw sang Pangabudlay:Mag-isa, ibasura ang makahalalit nga mga neoliberal nga palisiya (On Labor Day: Alone, repeal harmful neoliberal policies)

Bayani Obrero
NDF-Negros Island
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

May 01, 2023

Mas labi nga nagalala ang krisis nga gintuga sang imperyalismo paagi sa neoliberal nga palisiya kaangay sang liberalisasyon sang kalamay idalum sa rehimen US-Marcos II. Dugang nga naghatag kahalitan ang importasyon sang kalamay sa palangabuhian sang mangunguma kag mamumugon sa uma nga daan na nga nag-antus sa pagpamigos kag pagpanghimulos sa dalagku komprador burgesya kag agalon mayduta.

Pareho nga palisiya sang imperyalismo ang liberalisasyon sa kalamay kag pagpahimulos sa kusog-pangabudlay sang mamumugon sa kampo paagi sa barato nga sweldo kag pareho sang ulipon nga kondisyon sa pamugon. Ang sobra nga produksyon sa kalamay sa bilog kalibutan ang nagtuga sang krisis nga ginapapas-an sa mga imol nga pungsod pareho sang Pilipinas. Bilang mala-kolonya sang imperyalistang US ang Pilipinas, mapilitan ini sa pag-atubang sang kagrabehon sang krisis ilabi na nga may ara ini kaugalingon nga industriya sa kalamay. Ginapabilin nga atrasado kag pre-industriyal ang ekonomiya sang pungsod agud padayon nga mahuthutan sang hilaw nga materyales kag barato nga kusog-pangabudlay samtang nagsalig sa importasyon nga produkto sang dumuluong nga kapitalistang pungsod. Padayon nga gingapos ang mangunguma kag mamumugon sa kampo sa Negros sa monocrop nga industriya sa kalamay. Wala untat ang pyudal kag malapyudal nga pagpigos kag paghimulos sang mga dalagku nga agalon mayduta.

Ginahingalitan ang ini nga sitwasyon sang kartel sang mga negosyante nga mga dalagku komprador burgesya kakonsabo ang mga burukrata kapitalista nga amu ang nagapasiguro sang hilway nga pagsulod sang imported kag smuggled nga mga produkto sa pungsod paagi sa pagmanipula sang mga laye kag patakaran. Diri nila ginapahabok ang ila bulsa. Gani, naputos sa kontrobersiya ang importasyon sang kalamay bangud sa pagpabor sang Departemnt of Agriculture (DA) sa mga pila ka dalagku nga negosyante.

Ang ginatawag nga krisis sang kalamay isa ka artipisyal nga problema nga gintuga sang imperyalismong US kag sa iya mga lokal nga alipores. Bilang imperyalista nga papet, ang US-Marcos II rehimen obligado nga mag-import sang kalamay sa dikta sang liberalisasyon sang komersyo nga gindihon sang World Trade Organization (WTO). Ang imported nga kalamay magsulod sa pungsod nga wala na sang buhis (zero ang taripa) halin pa sadtong 2015.

Ang pagdagsa sang imported nga kalamay sa merkado sang Pilipinas makapierdi sa mga small planters. Samtang ang nagahari nga sahi sang mga dalagku nga komprador burgesya kag dalagku nga agalon mayduta-asyendero indi mabangkarote sa pagnubo sa produksyon sang kalamay kag pagsulod sang imported nga kalamay bangud sila man mismo ang nagakontrol sang patigayon sang kalamay. Daku sa gihapon ang ila benepisyo sa importasyon sang kalamay. Sa pihak bahin, ginabawi man nila ang ila nga kita sa pag-convert sang iban nga cash crop depende sa demand sang global market kag pag-convert sang mga duta nga gintamnan sang tubo pakadto sa economic zone, real estate kag eko-turismo.

Ang pinakakaluluoy sa hambalanon sang importasyon sang kalamay amu ang 2.8 million ka pumuluyong Negrosanon nga direkta ukon indirekta nga nagdepende ang palangabuhian sa industriya sa kalamay. Mabutang sa peligro ang estado sa obra sang 15,000 ka obreros sa mga sentrales kag maapektohan ang 330,000 ka mamumugon sa kampo. Maglala ang kagutom kag kaimulon nga sobra siglo na nila nga ginaantus.

Subong nga Adlaw sang Pangabudlay, kinahanglan dugang mag-isa ang mga mamumugon sa kampo kag mamumugon sa sentrales sa Negros para sa pagdula sa makahalalit nga neoliberal nga palisiya kaangay sa pag-import sang kalamay. Mas pa nga kinahanglan nga ipakig-away sa mga mamumugon ang pagpataas sa ila nga sweldo kag benepisyo, pagpa-untat sa kontraktwalisasyon, kag pagpatuman sa matuod nga reporma sa duta kag pungsodnon nga industriyalisasyon. Dapat dululungan nga isulong ang Php750 national minimum wage kag Php1,100 family living wage bilang makatarungan nga sweldo, ang kinamatarung sa pagtukod sang unyon kag pagpangapin sa regular nga trabaho kag pagdula sa mga iskema nga naglansang sa sweldo kag minimum nga sweldo. Palayason man ang AFP/PNP sa kaumhan nga nagasabwag sang kahadlok sa pumuluyo paagi sa grabe nga militarisasyon kag papason ang NTF-Elcac nga nagahalit sa mga mangunguma kag mamumugon sa uma.

Apang ang ini nga mga demanda indi lubos nga malab-ot idalum sa isa ka mapiguson kag mapahimuslanon nga sistema nga ginaharian sang dalagku nga komprador kag agalon mayduta. Kinahanglan hingalitan ang bulawanon nga kahigayunan sa pagpukaw, pag-organisa, kag pagmobilisa sa hanay sa masang anakbalhas kag iban pa nga ginahimuslan nga sahi sa pumuluyong Pilipino para sa demokratikong rebolusyon sang banwa. Ang subong nga krisis sosyo-politikal nagpakita lang sa pagkamakatarungan sang pagbato kag pag-intra sa armadong paghimakas agud mareyalisa ang handum sa pungsodnon nga kahilwayan kag demokrasya. #


CPP/NPA-Batangas: Pinakamataas na Pagpupugay kina Kasamang Benito at Wilma Tiamzon at mga Martir ng Catbalogan!

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 1, 2023): Pinakamataas na Pagpupugay kina Kasamang Benito at Wilma Tiamzon at mga Martir ng Catbalogan! (Highest Tribute to Comrade Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and Martyrs of Catbalogan!)

Gregorio Caraig
NPA-Batangas (Eduardo Dagli Command)
Southern Tagalog Regional Operational Command (Melito Glor Command)
New People's Army

May 01, 2023

Pinakamataas na pagpupugay ang iginagawad ng Eduardo Dagli Command – NPA Batangas kina Kasamang Benito at Wilma Tiamzon, mga natatangi at huwarang lider at guro ng rebolusyong Pilipino at sa 8 pang kasamang namartir mula sa kamay ng pasistang kaaway sa Catbalogan, Samar noong Agosto 2022.

Labis na hinagpis at paghihimagsik ang nararamdaman ngayon ng rebolusyonaryong mamamayan ng Batangas sa karumal-dumal na pagpaslang ng pasistang AFP at tropang militar ng US sa ilalim ng berdugo at ilehitimong rehimeng US-Marcos sa ating mga dakilang kasama, lider at guro ng rebolusyong Pilipino na sina Kasamang Benito at Kasamang Wilma Tiamzon, gayundin sa 8 pang mga kasamang martir. Sadyang sukdulan na ang kaitiman ng budhi at desperasyon ng AFP na durugin ang makatarungang rebolusyonaryong pakikibaka ng mamamayan. Sa pag-aakala nilang maaampat ang rebolusyonaryong pagdaluyong ng nag-aalsang mamamayan, nilaanan nito ng milyun-milyong pondo, pwersa at makabagong mga kagamitang pandigma, katuwang ang pasistang tropa ng imperyalistang US, upang mapaslang ang itinuturing nilang pinuno ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan.

Subalit, nagkakamali ang AFP kung inaakala nilang maghahatid ito ng malaking pinsala at demoralisasyon sa hanay ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan na malaon nang nakalatag sa buong bansa sa loob ng 54 na taon. Ang rebolusyonaryong kilusang pinamumunuan ng pinakamamahal nating Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, ay malaon nang nakakalat at umugat na sa maraming larangang gerilya sa mga probinsya at bayan-bayan sa buong bansa. Ang mga kadre ng Partido, mga mandirigma ng BHB at rebolusyonaryong baseng masa sa loob ng mahigit 5 dekadang pakikibaka para sa pambansang demokrasya ay pinanday na ng maraming hirap, sakripisyo at matitinding atake ng kaaway na magiting at paulit-ulit nitong nilalaban, binibigo at pinapangibabawan. Hindi kailanman mapapadapa ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan saan mang panig ng bansa, anumang tindi ng hagupit at karahasan ang ilukob ng sagad sa kasamaang estado ng naghaharing uri.

Ang masang magsasaka, manggagawa at buong masang anakpawis ay malaon nang mulat sa tunay na kalagayan at ugat ng kahirapang patuloy na naglulugmok sa ating bayan dahil sa tatlong salot ng lipunan – ang imperyalismong US, ang pyudalismo at burukrata kapitalismo.

Paulit-ulit mang hagupitin ng panunupil ang ating rebolusyonaryong baseng masa, hukbo at pinakamamahal nating Partido, paulit-ulit din itong bumabangon, lumalaban at nagpapalakas upang dalhin ang rebolusyon sa mas mataas na antas hanggang tagumpay.

Sa kasalukuyan, labis nang inilulugmok ng kronikong krisis ng mala-kolonyal at malapyudal na lipunan ang mamamayan ng Batangas. Labis na pahirap ang hatid sa mamamayan ng nagpapatuloy na programa ng estado sa pagbuyangyang sa ating likas yaman at agrikultura sa mga dayuhan. Hindi bababa sa 29,000 ektarya ng kalupaan ng Batangas ang sasaklawin ng mapaminsalang proyektong pagmimina ng tambalang MRL-Bluebird Ventures Inc. sa mga bayan ng San Juan, Rosario at Lobo, bukod pa ang mahigit 11,000 ektaryang Kalupaan na sasaklawin naman ng dayuhang pagmimina ng Asian Arc Mining sa bayan ng Taysan. Wawasakin ng proyektong ito hindi lamang ang kabundukan, kundi maging ang yamang lupa at karagatan kabilang ang tinaguriang center of the center of marine biodiversity sa buong mundo – ang Verde Island Passage.

Kamakailan lang, muling ipinangalandakan ng estado ang pagtatayo naman ng Batangas Forest City sa kabundukan ng Banoy. Humigit kumulang 300 ektaryang kalupaan at kabundukan ang itatransporma nito sa isang syudad para sa mayayaman na tiyak magpapalayas na naman sa libu-libong mamamayang naninirahan dito. Humigit 35 barangay naman ng Batangas City ang tatamaan ng planong internasyunalisasyon ng Batangas Pier kung saan inilalako ito ngayon ng gubernador na si Hermilando Mandanas sa mga dayuhang mamumuhunan upang magsilbing lagusan ng mga likas-yamang dadambungin mula sa ating lalawigan, tulad ng ginto at iba pang mineral na ilalabas nang buong-buo sa ibang bansa.

Sadlak sa krisis ang industriya ng asukal at niyog na siyang pangunahing produkto ng mga magsasaka sa ating lalawigan. Kamakailan lang, humigit 12,000 magsasaka ang apektado ng pagsasara ng Central Azucarera de don Pedro na pag-aari ng mga Roxas sa Nasugbu, Batangas. Hindi bababa sa 500,000 tonelada ng tubo ang hindi na nailo at nangabulok na lamang dahil sa biglaan at di-makatwirang pagsasara ng sentral na nakatuon na sa pagpapalit gamit ng lupa at malawakang pagtatanggal sa trabaho ng kasalukuyang mga empleyado nito. Kamakailan lang, muling ipinapakana ng Department of Agriculture (DA) ang malakihang importasyon ng palm oil, na sa kagyat na hinaharap ay muli na namang pipinsala sa industriya ng kopras at labis na magpapababa sa presyo nito. Tiyak na maaapektuhan na naman nito ang mga maliliit na magniniyog at maralitang magsasaka sa ating lalawigan.

Sa ilalim ng ganitong krisis sa kabuhayan at labis-labis nang kahirapan na dinaranas ng mamamayang Batangueño, sa halip na sinserong lutasin ang suliranin ng mamamayan, karahasan at patung-patong na paglabag sa karapatang pantao ang tugon dito ng estado ng naghaharing uri. Mula Enero 2022, ipinakat sa lalawigan ang berdugong tropa ng 59th Infantry Battalion ng Philippine Army upang maglunsad ng focused military operations sa mga nakikibakang komunidad sa ilalim ng direktang pangangasiwa sa operasyon ng 201st Infantry Brigade.

Noong 2022, umabot sa humigit kumulang 1,500 pasistang kasundaluhan ang kumuyog sa mga kabundukan at mga baryo sa kanayunan ng Batangas sa imbing layuning durugin ang New People’s Army at maghasik ng teror sa rebolusyonaryong baseng masa. Walang pakundangang pinatay ng 59th IB ang dalawang sibilyan, kabilang ang isang 9-na anyos na batang si Kyllene Casao sa Brgy. Guinhawa, Taysan at ang isang 50-anyos na magsasakang si Maximino Digno sa bayan ng Calaca na walang-awa nilang pinagbabaril at pinalabas na diumano ay napatay ng NPA sa mga pekeng labanan na ipinakana nila. Maramihang tinakot at sapilitang pinasuko ang mamamayan sa iba’t ibang baryo at bayan sa lalawigan, nilinlang at pinaniwalang bibigyan ng pabuyang Php25,000 pero sa katotohanan ay pinagkaperahan lamang nila at naging gatasan ang milyon-milyong pondong inilaan ng pasistang estado para sa mga diumano ay susukong NPA. Sa aktwal, hindi mga NPA kundi mga karaniwang masa ang paulit-ulit na ipinagmamalaki ng 59th IB na napapasuko nila.

Ilan lamang ang mga kalagayang ito na malinaw na nababatid, nasasaksihan at nararanasan ng mamamayang Batangueño sa pang-araw araw nitong pamumuhay. Ang masahol na kalagayan ng mamamayan, ang matinding paglabag at pagyurak sa karapatang pantao sa lalawigan at ang nagpapatuloy na papalalang krisis sa kabuhayan ng mamamayan dahil sa pagsasamantala at pandarambong ng mga dayuhan ang matabang kondisyon upang patuloy na hawakan at tahakin ng mamamayan ng Batangas ang landas ng rebolusyonaryong paglaban. Hindi mapapatid, hindi mapanghihina at lalong hindi maigugupo ng pagkawala ng pinakamamahal nating mga lider at kasama na sina Ka Benito at Wilma Tiamzon ang matinding paghahangad ng sambayanang Pilipino na lumaya mula sa pagka-api at pagsasamantala. Bagkus, apoy itong ibayong maglalagablab sa ating mga diwa at puso upang lalong paigtingin ang ating paglaban at kamtin ang hustisya para sa lahat ng mga biktima ng walang awang pamamaslang at karahasan ng estado at ng nagpapatuloy na pang-aapi at pambubusabos ng naghaharing uri sa lipunang Pilipino. Apoy itong kakalat hanggang sa kasuluk-sulukang bahagi ng kanayunan, hanggang sa bawat eskinita ng kalunsuran. Hangga’t may pang-aapi at pagsasamantala, ang maghimagsik ay makatarungan, ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan lamang na pinamumunuan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, katuwang ang BHB at ang Pambansa Demokratikong Prente na nagdiriwang ngayon ng ika-50 taong anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag nito, ang tanging solusyon upang wakasan ang tatlong salot sa ating lipunan.

Mabuhay ang rebolusyong Pilipino!
Mabuhay sina Kasamang Benito at Wilma Tiamzon!
Mabuhay ang Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas
Mabuhay ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan!
Mabuhay ang Pambansa Demokratikong Prente at ang sambayanang Pilipino!


CPP/NDF-MAKIBAKA: Pahayag ng MAKIBAKA sa Pangdaigdigang Araw ng Manggagawa

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 1, 2023): Pahayag ng MAKIBAKA sa Pangdaigdigang Araw ng Manggagawa (Statement by MAKIBAKA on International Workers' Day)

Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka)
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

May 01, 2023

Isang mainit na pagpupugay ang ipinapaabot ng Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan sa lahat ng manggagawa sa Pilipinas at buong mundo sa makasaysayan at makabuluhang Araw ng Paggawa. Sa gitna ng papatinding krisis ng imperyalismo, itinatala ng rebolusyonaryong kababaihang Pilipino ang mahigpit na pakikiisa sa kilusang manggagawa at iba pang uring inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan, para isulong at ipagtagumpay ang pambansa demokratikong rebolusyon upang hawanin ang landas patungong sosyalismo.

Ang magkakawing na krisis sa ekonomiya at politika ang higit na nagsasadlak sa mga manggagawa sa kadusta-dustang kalagayan. Ang mga dayuhang kapitalista at burgesya komprador sa buong bansa ay nag-uunahan sa kung sino ang magkakamal ng natitirang kayamanan ng bansa, kung gayon ay sino ang higit na makakapiga ng mas malaking tubo mula sa paggawa ng uring anakpawis. Samut-saring dahilan ang ibinibigay ng mga malalaking kapitalista upang iwasang harapin ang kahingian ng mga manggagawa para sa dagdag na sahod at iba pang benepisyo. Ginagawa pang sangkalan ang mga small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sa pagiging gahaman ng mga komprador. Walang intensyon ang mga gahamang kapitalista para hatian, kahit sentimo mula sa inangkin nilang tubo, ang mga manggagawang maylikha nito.

Maging ang benepisyong hinihingi tulad ng paid menstrual leave para sa mga kababaihang manggagawa, ilang araw na pahinga upang pangalagaan ang kalusugan sa panahon ng buwanang dalaw ay agad na isinasantabi, ginagawang katatawanan, o mas masahol ay ginagamit upang hatiin ang mga pagkakaisa ng mga kababaihang manggagawa. Mahirap paniwalaang ang mga kapitalistang nabibilang sa Fortune 500, ang listahan ng pinakamalalaki at mayayamang kompanya sa buong mundo, ay malulugi dahil sa pagtataas ng sahod sa P750 at pagbibigay ng ilang araw na pahinga sa pagtatrabaho sa mga kababaihan.

Wala namang pagpapanggap ang mga tauhang burukrata sa gubyerno sa pangunguna ng Presidenteng si Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. para pakinggan ang daing ng mga manggagawa para makaagapay sa gitna ng matinding krisis. Abala ang pangulo ng mga burgesya sa pag-e-entertain sa imperyalistang US para tulungan ito sa panghahamon sa gyera sa Asya. Sa katunayan, sa mismong Mayo 1 ay kausap nito si Joe Biden, Presidente ng imperyalistang US upang higit pang pagtibayin ang mga kasunduan sa ekonomiya at militar sa kapahamakan ng mga Pilipino. Sa kabilang banda, alumpihit naman sa pagpapakalama at pagtatanggol sa Tsina para hindi atrasan ang mga bilyones na pangako sa imprastraktura noong pang panahon ni Duterte habang may panibago na namang insidente ng pagpasok at pagbabanta ng mga coast guard ng Tsina sa ating teritoryo sa West Philippine Sea.

Tila isang palaruang ibinukas ang buong Pilipinas para sa napipintong gyera ng dalawang naglalakihang imperyalista, ipinaubaya nang walang pag-aatubili ang 5 na bagong lugar sa ilalim ng EDCA para sa pagkakampo at ehersisyong militar ng mga sundalong Amerikano nang walang pagsasaalang-alang sa kabuhayan at kaligtasan ng mamamayan at maging sa epekto nito sa kalikasan. Gagawing launching pad / lunsaran ng US ang Pilipinas sa kanyang proxy war laban sa Tsina. Katulad ng ginagawa nito sa Ukraine, patuloy ang pang-uupat sa Tsina na unang humakbang sa paggyera sa Taiwan upang mabigyang katwiran ang paghahanda para sa at mismong pagsali sa digmaan.

Ang napipintong gyerang ito para pag-agawan ang yaman at kapangyarihan sa pulitika sa Asya ay hindi gyera ng mamayang Pilipino, subalit tiyak na tayo ay direktang madadamay. Walang ibang isusubo sa kanyon para lumaban sa gyera ng mga imperyalista kundi mga manggagawa at kabataan, hindi ang mga burukrata, hindi ang mga heneral na kukuyakuyakoy lamang sa mga opisina. Ang pagkasira sa ekonomiya, pagkasira ng mga imprastraktura, at pagkamatay ng mga sibilyan at mamamayang isinusubo sa gyera ay nangangahulugan ng bilyong dolyar na kita ng mga imperyalista lalo na ng US, katulad ng kung paano pinagkakitaan at pinagkakakitaan ang mga gyera sa Gitnang Silangan, Aprika, at sa Ukraine.

Walang ni katiting na pakinabang ang mga manggagawa at mamamayang Pilipino sa mga ehersisyong militar na isinasagawa sa buong bansa. Sa halip ay gagamitin pa ang mga ito para sa higit na supilin ang mga demokratikong karapatan ng mga magsasaka at mga katutubo para sa lupa at maging sa pagsupil sa pag-uunyon at pagwewelga ng manggagawa. Dagdag pa, sa gitna ng kawalan ng trabaho at krisis ng implasyon, itutulak ng kahirapan ang maraming manggagawa at magsasakang kababaihan upang pumasok sa prostitusyon para pang-aliw sa mga dayuhan at lokal na sundalong bahagi ng exercises. Hindi din malayong magkaroon na naman ng mga kaso ng pagpatay, panggagahasa, at harassment sa mga kababaihan at bata sa mg lugar kung nasaan ang mga sundalong Amerikano.

Bukod sa pakikisali sa gyera ng mga imperyalista, abala din si Marcos, Jr. at mga alipores nya sa Kongreso at Senado sa paglalako ng mga kalupaan at ng buong Pilipinas sa mga dayuhang negosyo sa pamamagitan ng Charter Change. Walang ititira ang mga gahaman sa tubo para sa samabayang Pilipino at sa susunod na henerasyon dahil ibubukas nang buung-buo sa pagmamay-aring dayuhan ang mga kalupaan, likas na yaman, at mga negosyo sa Pilipinas. Nais ilagay mismo sa Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas ang mga polisiyang neo-liberalismo, na tanging malalaking lokal at dayuhang kapitalista lamang ang makikinabang at tiyak na papatay sa kabuhayan ng 90% ng mamamayang Pilipino, kabilang na ang mga maliliit na negosyante.

Isang malaking hamon kung gayon sa mga manggagawa na higit na palakasin at palawakin ang kilusang paggawa sa Pilipinas upang isakatuparan ang tungkulin nitong pamunuan ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan sa Pilipinas. Ang pagpapalakas ng kilusang unyon, kabilang na ang pagpapadami ng mga unyonistang kababaihan, pagpapalakas ng kilusang welga at pagsanib sa malawak na demokratikong pwersa ng sambayanang Pilipino ay magtutulak para ipagtagumpay ang mga kahingian ng mga manggagawa para sa sahod at iba pang benepisyo. Ito ang magiging matibay na pananggalang natin laban sa tumitinding atake sa mga demokratikong karapatan ng mga mamamayang Pilipino. Ito din ang magiging matibay na pwersa para ipagtanggol ang mga soberanya ng bansa laban sa panghihimasok at pambubusabos ng mga imperyalista kabilang na ang US at Tsina.

Ang pagpapatibay ng pagkakaisa ng mga demokratikong pwersa ng sambayanang Pilipino ay magagawa lamang natin sa pamamagitan ng walang pagod at tuluy-tuloy na pagmumulat, pagoorganisa, at pagpapakilos sa pinakamalawak na sambayanang Pilipino. Kailangang pangunahan ng rebolusyonaryong kilusang kababaihan ang pag-abot sa pinakamalawak na bilang ng demokratikong pwersa ng kababaihan—mga magsasaka at katutubong inaagawan ng lupa, mga kabataang estudyanteng inaagawan ng kinabukasan at pilit na pinapalunok ng militaristang kultura, mga propesyunal na inilulubog sa utang at kahirapan, mga migranteng pinapabayaan at hinuhuthutan ng gubyerno, mga lokal at maliliit na negosyanteng na nilulugi at nilalamon ng mga burgesya komprador.

Isanib ang lakas ng lakas ng manggagawang kababaihan sa samabayanang Pilipino sa para sa tunay na kalayaan, hustisya, at pagkakapantay-pantay.

Mabuhay ang uring manggagawa!
Mabuhay ang kababaihang mangagawa!
Mabuhay ang rebolusyonaryong kababaihan!


CPP/MLKP Turkey: Commemoration for the murdered Communist Party of the Philippines CC members

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 1, 2023): Commemoration for the murdered Communist Party of the Philippines CC members

Highest tribute to Ka Laan and Ka Bagong-tao
May 01, 2023

A commemoration was held in Paris for the murdered Communist Party of the Philippines CC members. The commemoration, organized by Friends of the Filipino People in Struggle, took place at the ACTIT local. During the commemoration, it was stated that the memory of those immortalized in the revolutionary struggle will be upheld. In the commemoration, which started with a cinevision screening of the lives of the murdered revolutionaries, the messages sent by the MLKP International Bureau and the TKP/ML Central Committee were read. In the commemoration, it was emphasized that wherever in the world, the memories of those immortalized in the struggle for revolution and socialism will be adhered to.

MLKP Turkey/Kurdistan


CPP Information Bureau: Mga Mensahe sa Mayo Uno

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC) Website (May 1, 2023): Mga Mensahe sa Mayo Uno (May Day Messages)

CPP Information Bureau
May 01, 2023

Inililimbag ng Kawanihan sa Impormasyon ang maliit na librong ito ng “Mga Mensahe sa Mayo Uno” na naglalaman ng koleksyon ng mga pahayag ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) sa uring manggagawa sa Mayo 1 sa mga taong 2017 hanggang 2022.

Mga Mensahe sa Mayo Uno

Makabuluhan ang paglalabas ng koleksyong ito sa harap ng matinding krisis ng pandaigdigang sistemang kapitalista at ng malakolonyal at malapyudal na sistema sa Pilipinas. Isinasadlak nito ang masang anakpawis sa hirap at pagdurusa. Tumitindi ang pampulitikang paniniil sa desperasyon ng naghaharing uri na ipagtanggol ang naghaharing bulok na sistema.

Lahat nang ito’y nagtutulak sa mga manggagawang Pilipino na isulong ang mga pakikibakang masa para ipaglaban ang kanilang kagalingan at mga karapatan. Para tuluy-tuloy na palakasin ang hanay ng mga manggagawa, importante na mapalalim ang pag-unawa ng mga manggagawa sa kanilang kinakaharap na problema, kung papaano ito naka-ugnay sa pang-aapi ng imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukratang kapitalismo, at paano mawawakasan sa pamamagitan lamang ng isang panlipunang rebolusyon.

Ang krisis ng naghaharing sistema ay nagluluwal na napakainam ng kundisyon para itaas ang maka-uring kamulatan ng mga manggagawang Pilipino at ikintal sa kanilang kamalayan ang susing papel nila sa pamumuno sa buong sambayanan sa pakikibaka para baguhin ang buong sistema sa Pilipinas at kamtin ang inaadhikang pambansa at panlipunang paglaya.

Layunin ng koleksyon na ito na makatulong sa pagpapanday ng proletaryong kamulatan ng mga manggagawang Pilipino. Nilalaman nito ang anim na pahayag ng PKP na katugma sa panahong ang bansa ay napailalim sa anti-manggagawa at pasistang rehimeng US-Duterte.

Ang una sa mga pahayag na ito ay inilabas pagkatapos ng Ika-2 Kongreso ng PKP. Komprehensibong nitong inilahad ang mga tungkulin ng Partido sa pagpapalakas ng kilusang manggagawa. Ang mga pahayag sa mga sumunod na taon ay naglahad ng pagsusuri sa mga tampok na usapin na kinakaharap ng uring manggagawang Pilipino sa ilalim ng pasistang rehimeng Duterte, naglaman ng mga panawagan at naglahad ng mga tungkulin sa paglaban. Ang huling pahayag ay mensahe sa uring manggagawa sa buong mundo at nagbigay ng malawakang perspektiba sa kasalukuyang pagsisikap na palakasin at pamunuan ng proletaryo ang mga rebolusyonaryong pakikibaka sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo.

Ang maliit na librong ito ay maaaring paramihin sa pamamagitan ng paglilimbag upang magamit ng mga kadre at organisador ng Partido, higit lalo ang mga kumikilos sa hanay ng masang manggagawa at anakpawis, bilang sanggunian o materyal para sa talakayan sa hanay ng mga manggagawa para sa pagpapanday ng mga bagong proletaryong rebolusyonaryo na magdadala ng makasaysayang tungkulin ng uring manggagagawa sa hinaharap.

Kawanihan sa Impormasyon
Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas

Mayo 1, 2023


US, PH tackle 21st century challenges as 'closest of allies'

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): US, PH tackle 21st century challenges as 'closest of allies' (By Filane Mikee Cervantes and Joyce Ann L. Rocamora)

IRONCLAD ALLIANCE. Presidents Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Joe Biden shake hands during a meeting at the White House on Monday (May 1, 2023). The two committed to strengthen the longstanding alliance in terms of economic and military cooperation. (Photo courtesy of PCO)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and United States President Joseph Biden on Monday (Washington D.C. time) committed to strengthen the longstanding US-Philippines alliance, particularly in terms of deepening military and economic cooperation.

In a joint statement, Marcos and Biden announced a number of new arrangements and initiatives to expand on the "historic momentum" in US-Philippine relations, which are defined by "remarkable ties of friendship, community, and shared sacrifice".

The two leaders reviewed opportunities to deepen economic cooperation and promote inclusive prosperity, expand our nations’ special people-to-people ties, invest in the clean energy transition and address the climate crisis and ensure respect for human rights.

“In efforts to promote inclusive and broad-based prosperity, invest in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change, uphold international peace and stability, and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, the United States and the Philippines will remain the closest of allies, working together to deliver a better future for our citizens and tackle the emerging challenges of the twenty-first century,” the joint statement read.

Security cooperation, humanitarian aid

Biden reaffirmed the United States’ ironclad alliance commitments to the Philippines.

Both countries also adopted the Bilateral Defense Guidelines that institutionalize key bilateral priorities, mechanisms, and processes to deepen alliance cooperation and interoperability across land, sea, air, space and cyberspace.

Marcos and Biden welcomed the identification of new sites under the US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which will "strengthen Philippine security and support the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ modernization goals".

The prospective EDCA sites are also seen to drive US investment to local communities across the Philippines and improve the countries' shared ability to rapidly deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

Both leaders underscored their “unwavering commitment” to freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, as well as the importance of respecting the sovereign rights of states within their exclusive economic zones consistent with international law.

“The leaders support the right and ability of Filipino fisherfolk to pursue their traditional livelihoods. The leaders note the ruling of the 2016 arbitral tribunal, constituted pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the statement added.

They also affirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, which they described as an “indispensable element of global security and prosperity.”

Both Biden and Marcos conveyed their support for Ukraine in its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, “noting that the conflict (with Russia) has adversely affected food and energy security in the Indo-Pacific.”

In a Stratbase ADR Institute forum on Tuesday, US Embassy in Manila Political Counselor Brett Blackshaw said the US also recognizes the Ayungin Shoal as part of the Philippines.

The statement came after China’s latest activities in the area, including a “near-collision” between the BRP Malapascua and a Chinese Coast Guard vessel on April 23.

“On the US policy, our view is that Ayungin, Second Thomas, falls fully on the Philippine sovereignty and jurisdiction and that the PRC (People’s Republic of China) has no lawful territorial or maritime claim there,” he said.

Economic cooperation

Marcos and Biden agreed to promote economic growth and prosperity in the Philippines, in the United States, and the broader Indo-Pacific region.

Biden will dispatch a Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines on his behalf, to enhance US companies’ investment in the Philippines’ innovation economy, its clean energy transition and critical minerals sector, and the food security of its people.

The Philippines and the US will also co-host the 6th annual 2024 Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila, described as the US’ “marquee commercial event in the region.”

The forum is seen to strengthen the Philippines as a "key hub for regional supply chains and high-quality investment."

To advance a secure 5G rollout in the Philippines, strengthen its innovation economy, and provide digital upskilling opportunities to Philippine workers, the United States also plans to establish a brick-and-mortar Open RAN Interoperability Lab in Manila.

The Lab will provide hands-on training to current and aspiring 5G professionals and provide an opportunity for vendors and operators deploying Open RAN worldwide to teach and educate local engineers in how to design, build, and operate these open, secure, and interoperable networks.

Rule of law, human rights

Marcos and Biden underscored the need to strengthen democratic institutions, rule of law, and respect for human rights, including freedom of expression, press, and association.

The two leaders further noted the importance of countering any form of violence, such as that against civil society, women, children, and marginalized groups.

The leaders welcomed the creation of a bilateral Labor Working Group as part of the US-Philippines Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, which is seen to provide a crucial opportunity for the United States and the Philippines to “work together on implementation of internationally recognized labor rights".

The bilateral labor working group would also facilitate exchange and dialogue among US and Philippine governments and labor unions, as well as employer organizations.

Both leaders resolved to expand cooperation on environmental protections, including enhanced domain awareness, marine conservation, and protecting coastal areas from environmental degradation.

Blackshaw said Marcos’ trip and the previous high-level visits of US officials to Manila are a reflection of a reinvigorated US-Philippines relations.

“There’s a lot of energy back in this relationship, in this alliance,” he said

“On the US side I can assure you the underpinning of our approach is that the United States values the Philippines as an equal sovereign partner,” he added.

He said the US supports Manila in building its deterrence capability not to provoke but to prevent conflict.


32 Navy sailors now 'shellbacks' after crossing equator

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): 32 Navy sailors now 'shellbacks' after crossing equator (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – Some 32 sailors aboard the missile frigate BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151) made the transformation from "pollywogs" to "shellbacks" following a successful crossing rites at the equator last April 30.

"Passing the invisible line of the Equator at 000 Degree Latitude signals the beginning of the traditional initiation rites, which all sailors undergo aboardship. 32 new breeds of 'shellbacks' were all smiles as they finally became bonafide sons and daughters of King Neptune. A boodle fight was shared by everyone the night after the ceremony," Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Captain Benjo Negranza said in a statement Tuesday.

He also called the "Crossing the Line" ceremony one of the oldest and famous traditions of the service as it signifies the transition of novice sailors to veteran seamen.

"As one of the oldest and famous traditions of the sea, the 'Crossing the Line' Ceremony features the legend of King Neptune and the members of his royal family. Its origins may also have started as a test to ensure that novice sailors can handle rough times at sea," Negranza said of the naval tradition.

Incidentally, BRP Antonio Luna and the personnel of Naval Task Group 80.5, is enroute to Singapore to participate in the first ever ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME) 2023 scheduled for May 2 to 8.

The ship left Naval Operating Base Subic last April 27. It will feature harbor and at-sea events aimed at enhancing interoperability and exchange of best practices among participating navies.

"The Philippine contingent will also attend the coinciding event in Singapore, the International Maritime Defense Exhibition Asia (IMDEX) 2023," Negranza said.

The event provides a platform for the defense and maritime sectors to foster engagements and showcase latest innovations.

The PN's participation in this exercise fulfills the requirement to enhance the skills of its personnel with the acquisition of modern assets.

It likewise conveys its unwavering commitment to enhance cooperation with ASEAN and Indian navies toward regional peace and stability.


3 more C-130 planes to boost PAF's airlift, HADR capabilities

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): 3 more C-130 planes to boost PAF's airlift, HADR capabilities (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(File photo)

MANILA – The three additional Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo aircraft that the United States will transfer to the country will greatly boost the Philippine Air Force (PAF)'s airlift and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) capabilities.

"Any equipment/platform that can augment our cargo airlift fleet will be of great help in the transport of personnel and logistics for our focused military operations," PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said in a message to reporters Tuesday.

She also added that these additional C-130s will also improve the PAF's HADR capabilities in "times of calamities and disasters."

As of this time, the PAF is known to operate four models of the C-130s for transport and other related missions.

Earlier, a statement coming from the White House on Monday (US time) said the US will be helping to enhance the capabilities of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) by transferring two Island-class and two Protector-class patrol vessels and three C-130H aircraft pending "applicable Congressional notification requirements".

Additionally, two Cyclone-class patrol vessels are now enroute to the Philippines after its transfer shortly after its decommissioning on March 31 in Bahrain.

Tubbataha Reef search and rescue efforts

As this developed, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Tuesday said that two sites of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) were used as staging areas to help in the search and rescue (SAR) operations for missing divers in Tubbataha Reef.

"Three US air assets stationed in Antonio Bautista Air Base, Puerto Princesa and Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan, Cebu are being utilized to help in the ongoing mission to find four missing Filipino divers after their boat sunk in Tubbataha on April 30," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Jorry Baclor said.

The responsive United States-Philippines combined inter-agency operation utilizing EDCA locations was carried out at the request of the Philippine government.

In the early morning on April 30, the AFP Western Command (Wescom) deployed Navy vessel BRP Carlos Albert (PC-375) in an urgent response to information received about the sinking of a dive boat, M/Y Dream Keeper, in the said area.

Two aluminum boats of the Tubbataha Reef National Park (TRNP) were immediately dispatched and joined the SAR operations conducted by two other dive boats, M/Y Monsy and M/V Sport Palau.

Wescom has also utilized two of its air assets, a PAF W-3A "Sokol" and an AW-109E helicopter to augment the ongoing SAR operations.


PH Navy delegation in Singapore for ASEAN-India naval drills

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): PH Navy delegation in Singapore for ASEAN-India naval drills (By Priam Nepomuceno)

(Photo courtesy of Philippine Navy)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) announced Tuesday that the missile frigate, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), arrived at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore on Monday for the inaugural ASEAN-India Maritime Exercise (AIME).

"While entering Changi Naval Base, the Naval Task Group 80.5 and the ship’s crew manned the rail to honor Singapore, the host of this year’s maiden exercise," Navy spokesperson Capt. Benjo Negranza said in a statement Tuesday.

This year's AIME will run from May 2 to 8.

Negranza said Navy Capt. Sherwin Respeto, the Defense and Armed Forces Attaché, welcomed the 140-strong PN contingent to AIME 2023.

Singapore's liaison officers were also present to welcome the Philippine contingent.

Aside from AIME, the Philippine contingent will also attend the International Maritime Defense Exhibition Asia 2023, which provides an avenue to foster engagements and showcase the latest innovations in naval technology.

"As the PN enjoys the influx of modern assets, its participation in this international exercise will sharpen the skills of its personnel. Likewise, it reiterates the PN's steadfast commitment to promoting regional peace and stability with its counterparts from the ASEAN and Indian navies," Negranza added.


2 Reds, private armed group leader fall in CIDG manhunt ops

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): 2 Reds, private armed group leader fall in CIDG manhunt ops (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

MANILA – Operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) have arrested three wanted persons -- two communist rebels and an alleged leader of a private armed group during separate manhunt operations, CIDG chief Brig. Gen. Romeo Caramat Jr. said Tuesday.

In a statement, Caramat said the CIDG Cagayan Field Unit, local police units, and the Philippine Army arrested Dennis Cabrera, 39, at his residence in Barangay Bunugan, Baggao, Cagayan on April 30.

Cabrera has standing warrants of arrest for one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder issued by a court in Aparri, Cagayan in September 2015. He is also a New People's Army (NPA) member and was a former squad team leader of the East Front Committee, Komiteng Probinsya (KomProb) Cagayan operating in Gattaran, Baggao, and adjacent municipal boundaries in Cagayan province.

On the same day, Caramat said tracker teams of CIDG Albay Field Unit, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), and local police units arrested Alvin Clein Sales alias “Ambin” in Barangay Ongo, Guinobatan, Albay.

Sales has two arrest warrants issued by the Bacoor City, Cavite Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 111 for sexual assault and statutory rape.

Sales who is listed as the No. 10 Regional Most Wanted Person (MWP) in Region 5, No. 8 Provincial MWP in Albay, and No. 6 Municipal MWP in Guinobatan, is an identified supporter and aide of the Komiteng Probinsya 5, operating in Guinobatan, Albay who also serves as the eyes and ears of alias “Pete” or “Peter, the Committee Secretary.

The two accused are now under the temporary custody of their respective arresting CIDG units while waiting for their turnover and the return of their arrest warrants to the courts of origin.

Meanwhile, an alleged private armed group leader identified as 64-year-old Hamja Karim Said was arrested on April 29 in Barangay Upper Tambaking, Maimbung, Sulu for illegal possession of firearms and illegal possession of explosives.

Caramat said Said’s arrest is a result of the CIDG’s Oplan Paglalansag Omega, a rigorous campaign against loose firearms.

Among the firearms seized from the suspect were a .45 caliber pistol, an M16 rifle with attached grenade launcher, M14 rifle, M16 rifle and various types of ammunition.

Investigation revealed that Said was the trusted person and right hand of alleged MNLF commander 'Pando' with standing warrants of arrest for the crime of two counts of murder, five counts of attempted murder, and illegal possession of firearms.

“Sangkot din siya sa barilan na naganap noong Mayo 17, 2018 sa Barangay Bualo, Maimbung, Sulu kung saan dalawa sibilyan ang namatay at ilan pang sibilyan ang sugatan (He was also involved in the shooting that occurred on May 17, 2018 in Barangay Bualo, Maimbung, Sulu where two civilians died and several other civilians were injured),” Caramat said.


5 PNP generals get new posts in latest reshuffle

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): 5 PNP generals get new posts in latest reshuffle (By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan)

(File photo)

MANILA – Five ranking police officials were included in the latest reorganization in the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an order which took effect Tuesday, PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. reassigned Brig. Gen. Jose Melencio Nartatez Jr., Director for Comptrollership (DC), as the new Director for Intelligence (DI) of the police force.

Acorda was DI's head prior to being named as PNP chief.

Nartatez was named acting DC after his predecessor, Maj. Gen. Jesus Cambay, retired from the service last April 20.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Rommel Francisco Marbil replaced Nartatez as DC.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Calanoga was named acting director of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 8 (Eastern Visayas), replacing Marbil, while Brig. Gen. Roger Laroza Quesada was designated as acting deputy Regional Director for the Administration of PRO 5 (Bicol).

Brig. Gen. Limuel Esto Obon was designated as the director of the Human Rights Affairs Office.

"I am confident that these new Officers-in-Charge and Acting Directors will bring their expertise and experience to their respective positions and lead their units with utmost professionalism, integrity, and dedication to service," Acorda said in a statement.

He added that these new appointments reflect the police force's commitment to ensuring effective leadership and management across various units and offices.


US visit to strengthen alliance amid 'turbulent times’ - Marcos

From the Philippine News Agency (May 2, 2023): US visit to strengthen alliance amid 'turbulent times’ - Marcos (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)

STRONGER ALLIANCE. Presidents Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and Joe Biden meet at the White House on Monday (May 1, 2023). Marcos said his US visit is crucial to strengthen the alliance between the Philippines and the US. (Photo courtesy of Bongbong Marcos FB page)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said his visit to Washington, D.C. was vital to strengthen the alliance between the Philippines and the United States, especially during "turbulent times."

In his speech during the dinner hosted by the Philippine Embassy at the Blair House, Marcos said that the way forward to navigate the "almost chaotic" international scene -- defined by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and the scourge of the Covid-19 pandemic -- is for the Philippines to have "strong partners" or "strong allies".

“Since things are so volatile the stability would come from those alliances, those partnerships. And it is a strange thing to come from that situation where you have very polarized worldview, to come from that situation where now we have to look into very different directions all the time," Marcos said.

He also pointed out that despite their turbulent history, the relations between the US and the Philippines have endured.

“But similarly, to our ambassadors' friendships, like two friendships, you go to turbulent times when there are misunderstandings, when there are difficulties, when other forces prevail upon both sides of the partnership,” Marcos said.

“But between the Philippines and the United States, we have prevailed through all that like a true friendship. And the reason for that I believe is that we truly have come to an understanding as to how we believe certain values and what is important, and our role in the world and that has never really been diminished,” he added.

Marcos said the trade relations and partnership between the Philippines and the US must be “continually revisited” so that both parties would mutually benefit from these initiatives.

"It still continually revisited so as we can make the most of our friendship and our partnership. And so that is the world as I see it today and the reasons that will come. That is why I am very grateful for the invitation of President (Joe) Biden to come to Washington, D.C. and gain the opportunity to meet the leaders of the government,” Marcos said.

He said the mutual defense treaty between the US and the Philippines should evolve to adapt to changing environments.

"It should evolve because the situation that we are surrounded with changes and we must evolve with that. Therefore, it is extremely important that we have these interactions, it's extremely important that we are constant in communication. It is extremely important that we understand what it is we are trying to achieve,” he said.

Filipino Americans vital to America's fabric

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, for his part, highlighted the vital role of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in shaping America's social fabric.

“Filipinos and Filipino-Americans are a fundamental part of the fabric of the United States," Blinken said in the presence of key US cabinet secretaries.

Blinken also noted that the Philippines and the US have forged a bond 70 years ago based on arbitral defense and security, adding that both countries have reaffirmed their desire to maintain peace and order in the Pacific region.

“And just last year, thanks to the leadership of President Biden and President Marcos, we have significantly strengthened our alliance. We’ve launched new initiatives together to create economic opportunities for Americans and Filipinos alike. Because last year, trade between our countries was worth more than USD25 billion, a new record, and today President Biden announced that he will send the first ever presidential trade and investment mission to the Philippines,” Blinken said.

The US official also pointed out that the two countries have laid out plans to initiate new clean energy projects that will only increase power outputs “but also create good paying jobs for both our countries.”

Working with their Filipino counterparts, Blinken said they have taken steps to modernize security alliances “so that our forces can work even closer together despite natural disasters.”

Earlier in the day, Marcos and Biden affirmed a series of partnerships aimed at strengthening the alliance of Manila and Washington.

In a joint statement, Marcos and Biden hailed the “remarkable ties of friendship, community, and shared sacrifice that serve as the foundation of the US-Philippines alliance.”

“In efforts to promote inclusive and broad-based prosperity, invest in the clean energy transition and the fight against climate change, uphold international peace and stability, and ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law, the United States and the Philippines will remain the closest of allies, working together to deliver a better future for our citizens and tackle the emerging challenges of the twenty-first century,” the joint statement read.


ICG: Southern Philippines: Making Peace Stick in the Bangsamoro

Posted to the International Crisis Group (May 1, 2023): Southern Philippines: Making Peace Stick in the Bangsamoro

The newly autonomous area in the southern Philippines is progressing toward full self-rule, but delays in the associated peace process and renewed skirmishes are causing concern. With donor support, regional and national authorities should work to bolster the transition in advance of crucial 2025 elections.

The newly autonomous area in the southern Philippines is progressing toward full self-rule, but delays in the associated peace process and renewed skirmishes are causing concern. With donor support, regional and national authorities should work to bolster the transition in advance of crucial 2025 elections.
What’s new? The peace process in the Philippines’ autonomous Bangsamoro region is both largely on track and in peril. For lasting peace to take hold, all responsible authorities must work to quell violent instability, which persists in pockets, and speed up elements of the process that are behind schedule.

Why does it matter? President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., elected in 2022, has appointed new members to the region’s interim governing body. With only two years remaining before the Bangsamoro is supposed to elect its parliament, concluding the transition to full autonomy, efforts at stabilisation are crucial.

What should be done? The ex-rebels running the regional government should, in coordination with Manila, improve law and order, strengthen conflict resolution efforts and find a modus vivendi with political clans. Manila should focus on normalisation, including delivery of the promised socio-economic packages to demobilised combatants. Donors should help fill funding gaps.

Executive Summary

The Bangsamoro peace process in the southern Philippines, while successful in many respects, is hitting obstacles at a critical moment. In 2019, the Bangsamoro region – home to a majority-Muslim population that has long been neglected in the Catholic-majority country – achieved a degree of autonomy. Self-rule was the result of a 2014 peace treaty, which voters endorsed via plebiscite five years later. The creation of the new autonomous region helped bring about a peaceful resolution to decades of armed conflict between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Philippine government. But the region is not quite peaceful yet, and parts of the 2014 deal remain unfulfilled. The regional government, Manila and international donors should work together to shore up the peace process before the 2025 parliamentary elections, which are supposed to mark the start of full regional autonomy. They should focus on quelling local conflicts and accelerating “normalisation”, a process that includes rebel and militia disarmament as well as provision of socio-economic packages promised to ex-rebels as a peace dividend.

Almost ten years after the parties signed the peace deal, several issues are putting the transition it envisaged at risk. For one, violence is flaring up in the region. Some of these skirmishes, especially in central Mindanao, can be traced to conflicts over land and politics between and among MILF members and militias controlled by powerful clans. That is not exclusively the case, however: the ceasefire between the government and MILF suffered a serious breach in November, when a clash in Basilan province resulted in the death of ten soldiers and MILF members. Meanwhile, although the interim governing authority in Bangsamoro has made headway in leading the war-scarred region toward greater peace and development, it has not passed major legislation required to complete the transition – including rules for local governance and procedures for revenue collection.

There have also been delays in normalisation, particularly in reintegrating rebels and allowing for economic development in the Bangsamoro. For example, some former MILF fighters have not received the socio-economic assistance packages the government pledged to give them. The Philippine military and the MILF are also not in full agreement about how many weapons the ex-rebels should hand over. Another difficult point is “camp transformation” – ie, the process of turning erstwhile MILF-controlled areas into peaceful communities integrated into economic and civic life. Much of the Bangsamoro is economically depressed, and the MILF camps need significant support in order to develop. The normalisation program aims to get them that assistance. For now, however, the effort is sputtering, due partly to slow implementation but also to political realities. There are also concerns about development happening at the expense of Indigenous communities.

There is still reason to hope that the [Bangsamoro peace] process can succeed.

There is still reason to hope that the process can succeed. After winning election to the presidency of the Philippines in May 2022, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. emerged as a supporter of the peace effort. It was not at all certain he would take that stance, in part because the MILF leadership endorsed his opponent. When political clans in the region who had backed Marcos, Jr. pressured him to increase their level of representation in the interim Bangsamoro parliament, he refused. He and his advisers attended the parliament’s inaugural session in the regional centre, Cotabato City, a move that signalled his commitment to the peace process. On 21 September 2022, in a speech at the UN General Assembly, he pointed to the progress of the Bangsamoro peace process to date and proposed making its completion a pillar of the Philippines’ bid for a seat on the UN Security Council in 2027-2028.

Moreover, while the Bangsamoro’s interim government still has work to do, it has racked up important accomplishments. In March 2023, it passed an electoral code that will allow residents to elect members of the regional parliament in two years’ time. The interim authority has also built hospitals and village halls as well as spearheaded agricultural programs. Some sub-regions even recorded economic growth during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Still, as stresses that threaten to impede conclusion of the peace process become more pronounced, it is incumbent on both regional and national leaders in the Philippines to address them. A big obstacle to enduring peace in the Bangsamoro is clan politics: powerful families dominate the region politically and economically. They hold most of the region’s seats in the national congress and control many of its provinces and municipalities. Relations between the ex-rebels and clans were rocky even before the 2022 local and presidential elections, and tensions grew as the elections cemented the big families’ role in regional governance. The clans often employ what amount to private armies: some of the violence in the region can be traced to tussles between them and the ex-rebels. Although these militias pose no threat to national security, Manila needs to get serious about dismantling them.

As normalisation efforts proceed, the Philippine government and the former rebels also need to resolve questions about the support packages promised to ex-militants and the number of weapons the MILF is to turn in. If Manila is short of funds to deliver the socio-economic dividends, the national government should reach out to international donors for aid. A risk persists that MILF members may pick up arms, or refuse to disarm, out of frustration that the transition is failing to bring them the benefits they expected or fear that the Bangsamoro’s political families could push the MILF out of the regional leadership. Taking steps to disburse the support packages, as well as finding ways to deal with the political aspirations of all the region’s factions, will help keep the transition on track.

A successful Bangsamoro peace process would benefit the region and set a positive example for the rest of the world. Outside supporters of the process can help achieve its aims. International donors, in particular, should ensure that Manila has the resources it requires to deliver support packages to demobilising fighters and pursue the transformation of MILF camps. Now that the new president has aligned himself with the process, they should urge him to work closely and in the spirit of compromise with the MILF and other Bangsamoro political leaders so that opportunity for peace does not slip through their fingers.

Manila/Brussels, 1 May 2023

I. Introduction

Born in 2019, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) is the latest attempt by the Philippine government and former rebels to end a long-running separatist struggle in the southern Philippines.1 The outcome of decades of negotiations, the BARMM provides a form of self-rule to the majority-Muslim region, a sprawling zone of islands, river deltas and mountains with a population of about 4.5 million.2 The grant of autonomy is an effort to address the Moro Muslims’ demand for the right to self-determination, rooted in resentments that date back hundreds of years.3

The most recent insurgency started in the late 1960s, when communal unrest led to war between the separatist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Philippine military. In the following years, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) emerged as a splinter group of the MNLF, continuing an armed conflict that lasted four decades.4 In 2014, after more than 40 years of fitful negotiations between the Philippine government and Muslim secessionist fronts, Manila and the MILF inked a peace deal. In 2018, the Philippine congress passed the Bangsamoro Organic Law, the legal instrument for creating the Bangsamoro autonomous government. Voters in Mindanao emphatically endorsed the law in a two-stage plebiscite in early 2019, which ratified the new autonomous region and determined its geographical scope. The plebiscite also greenlit the launch of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), an interim government that gained authority over the region in February 2019.

The new transitional authority has administrative powers as well as some political and fiscal clout and the authority to enact laws. Manila did not, however, allow the region to have its own police force, citing constitutional impediments. (The peace deal talks about one, though that seems unlikely to happen.)

The fledgling authority is taking shape as parliamentary committees develop legal codes that will be the backbone of the future government. The region has exclusive jurisdiction over policy areas such as government budgeting and local administration, while in other areas, for example security and land registration, it shares power with Manila.5 Although not elected, the transitional administration is fairly reflective of the Bangsamoro’s diversity. It comprises 80 members: 41 nominated by the MILF ex-rebels and 39 by the government in Manila. Among its members are women (making up 20 per cent of parliament), youth, Christians and Indigenous people as well as former insurgents, traditional politicians and clan affiliates – drawn from all the region’s ethno-linguistic groups. While only a few clan patriarchs sit in the BTA, many of its members belong to prominent families.

The real test of the Bangsamoro’s durability as an autonomous entity will be the region’s inaugural parliamentary elections.

The real test of the Bangsamoro’s durability as an autonomous entity will be the region’s inaugural parliamentary elections. These were originally scheduled for 2022, but in October 2021, then-President Rodrigo Duterte extended the interim government’s term for three years per the request of MILF leaders, who argued that COVID-19 had hamstrung their efforts to amass policy accomplishments. The 2025 elections will offer the first opportunity for Bangsamoro residents to elect their local representatives, and they may reveal whether the MILF has won over the public during the period in which it held control of the interim authority.

The elections will mark an important, and potentially dangerous, moment for three major reasons. Firstly, the vote will show whether the peace process has positively affected the political culture in a region accustomed to strongmen acquiring power through violence rather than the ballot box. Secondly, if the MILF fears it may lose the elections because political clans are using vote buying, patronage and intimidation, the ex-rebels could in the worst case deploy the same tactics to counter the traditional elites, undercutting decades of work to foster peace in the Bangsamoro. Thirdly, if the vote does cost the MILF power, there is a risk that a splinter group of rebels could return to arms.

Against this backdrop, and building upon Crisis Group’s previous work on the subject, this report examines the successes and challenges of the peace process in the Bangsamoro and highlights the steps various actors need to take to prepare the way for a peaceful transition. It draws on field research in the Bangsamoro and Manila, conducted over the last year, including interviews with MILF and military commanders, representatives of the interim regional government, national and local officials, civil society figures, clan leaders, donor and development officials, villagers and decommissioned fighters.

II. An Incomplete Transition

As parliamentary elections approach in 2025, there is both good and bad news with respect to the Bangsamoro transition. On one hand, the election of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. as the Philippines’ new president does not appear to have derailed the process. Marcos, Jr. has kept key personnel in place in the interim government and sent positive signals about his support for its efforts. The MILF-led interim government also has meaningful accomplishments to tout. But the concrete work of fulfilling the peace agreement is nevertheless lagging in ways that could jeopardise the transition’s ultimate success.

A. From Duterte to Marcos, Jr.

Since its inception in 2019, the Bangsamoro government has made progress, ushering in a degree of peace and development that had long eluded the region. The economic situation in parts of the territory has improved as Moro rebels and government forces fight each other less and less. For almost two years, however, COVID-19 forced the transitional authority to put much of the region’s institution building on hold in order to focus on the pandemic response.6 The parliament has passed only three of the seven “priority codes” legally required as part of the process to replace former laws with new rules governing elections, regional government, education, the civil service and other local matters.7 The decommissioning of former MILF guerrillas – a key component of the peace process – was at a standstill until late 2022. In part because of these delays, the MILF-led interim government pushed to postpone the parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2022, by three years. The heated debates over the extension had the unfortunate effect of taking away precious time from attention to governance.

While President Duterte’s government agreed to the election extension in 2021, the ex-rebels in the transitional government found themselves at loggerheads with several Moro clans that opposed it.8 These clans hold little power at the regional level in the interim setup, and so were eager for an opportunity to bring about its demise, or take it over, sooner rather than later.

Frictions [between ex-rebels and several Moro clans] became even more pronounced in the run-up to the May 2022 local elections in Bangsamoro provinces and towns.

Frictions became even more pronounced in the run-up to the May 2022 local elections in Bangsamoro provinces and towns. The MILF, through its political arm, the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, fielded candidates who challenged traditional politicians in the provinces of Maguindanao and Basilan, and the regional seat of government, Cotabato City. Despite holding the top offices in the interim administration, the ex-rebels used these local campaigns to frame the contest as a battle between what they called “the forces of change and the forces of the status quo”.9 The elections were the first in which the ex-rebels entered candidates, and the outcome was mixed. The party of former insurgents won the mayoral seat in Cotabato City but secured only a few other positions in the autonomous region.10

At the national level, the MILF endorsed Marcos, Jr.’s main opponent in the 2022 presidential race, Leni Robredo, a quiet but well-known supporter of Bangsamoro autonomy and the peace process.11 The MILF’s rivals among local political elites, in contrast, supported Marcos, Jr., who remained vague about his vision for Bangsamoro throughout the campaign. Political clans and their candidates won in most provinces and municipalities, and also delivered votes to Marcos, Jr. in the presidential election, contributing to his landslide victory in the region.12 Marcos, Jr. even secured votes of some former rebels and their communities, benefiting from their dissatisfaction with the interim government.13

Marcos, Jr.’s win put the MILF in an uncomfortable position. Some in the movement feared retribution for having endorsed his opponent.14 The MILF had no direct link to the new president, in contrast to its connections with his predecessor, Duterte, who hailed from Mindanao. Marcos, Jr., moreover, was on excellent terms with Mindanao’s Moro clan elites, who run provinces and towns in the region. While the ex-rebels struggled to get an appointment with the new president, the clans that had secured his victory in the region met with him repeatedly.

The clans told the new president in Manila that the ex-rebels had failed to deliver good governance and they requested changes to augment their own power, including more posts for themselves in the local parliament and key slots in the regional cabinet. Some clan leaders apparently lobbied for the chief minister position, trying to unseat the former insurgents from the most important office in the autonomous region.15 Some political families, and even members of Marcos’ entourage, also expressed scepticism about the head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Reconciliation and Unity (OPAPPRU), Carlito Galvez, Jr., a Duterte appointee whom they perceived as too sympathetic to the MILF. During the presidential campaign, and in the immediate aftermath of his victory, Marcos, Jr. said almost nothing about the future of the peace process, creating uncertainty about his commitment to take it forward.16

In the end, Marcos, Jr. kept the peace process architecture intact. To the relief of the MILF, he preserved the ex-rebels’ parliamentary majority in the transitional authority, which could have been threatened if the new president had decided to reward his allies in the region. He reappointed MILF Chairman Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim as chief minister, which was a boon for Bangsamoro governance. He declined to give the political clans that had supported his candidacy more seats in parliament.17 In October 2022, the president also reappointed Galvez as chief adviser on peace and reconciliation.18 He then named Galvez secretary of defence, something the MILF welcomed, before appointing another retired general, Isidro Purisima, as acting peace adviser.19 The Intergovernmental Relations Body, a mechanism to ensure coordination and collaboration between Cotabato and Manila, remains in place.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr (L) speaks with Murad Ebrahim, interim chief minister of Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in the ceremonial opening of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority in Cotabato City, Philippines. September 15, 2022. STR / AFP

In addition to signalling commitment to the peace process, President Marcos, Jr.’s appointments to the transitional authority made it a bit more inclusive. In what many observers consider to be a politically adept move, he appointed representatives of the MNLF’s different factions, including the son and daughter of famous Moro rebel leader Nur Misuari.20 In addition, he modestly increased the number of women and youth in the interim parliament.21 The body is not perfectly representative: Marcos, Jr. did not bring in more Indigenous representatives, and Manila (and to an extent the MILF through its own nominees) did not augment the number of parliamentarians from smaller Moro ethno-linguistic groups.22 But it is more so than it used to be.

After the round of fresh appointments, the new presidential administration publicly promised to uphold the peace process and to fully implement the peace deal. Marcos, Jr. and his advisers attended the inaugural session of the Bangsamoro parliament in Cotabato City.23 A few days later, on 21 September 2022, he cited the success of the Bangsamoro peace process in a speech at the UN General Assembly as qualifying the Philippines to contend for a seat on the UN Security Council during the 2027-2028 session.24

Marcos, Jr.’s family history may play a role in the way he finally embraced the peace process. Government officials have told Crisis Group that the Marcos, Jr. administration has a “unique opportunity” to finish what Marcos, Sr. started when he signed the 1976 Tripoli Peace Agreement with the MNLF, the first accord between the government and a Moro group.25 Whatever the exact motives of Marcos, Jr. for investing himself, his gestures ended months of uncertainty surrounding the future of the peace process.26

B. What’s Next for the Transitional Authority

The 2022 elections and Marcos, Jr.’s appointments did not radically change the interim government. The majority of parliamentarians kept their seats in the BTA, and only minor reshuffles occurred in the cabinet and ministries.27 Members of the transitional authority have been talking about dividing ministries to accommodate influential Moro leaders or bureaucrats not included in the new parliament, but whether they will do so remains to be seen.28

The interim’s parliament main’s task for now is the passage of the remaining legislative codes. Members of parliament are already debating how to amend the local government codes the MILF majority introduced in late 2022. Chief Minister Ebrahim announced that the interim authority would pass the codes in the first quarter of 2023.29 With the passage of the electoral code in March 2023, the most prominent items left are two codes that would set out the rules for local government and procedures for revenue collection.30

Apart from such institutional reforms, the transition envisages the interim government delivering “peace dividends” to the region, both in terms of concrete benefits but also a more general sense of bringing peace. Opinions vary as to whether the new regional setup has fulfilled this mandate. A local bureaucrat told Crisis Group that the interim government “does a lot, but it is hard to see for the common people”.31 Under the interim government’s stewardship, the autonomous region in fact has made progress. It has built hospitals and village halls; put various agricultural programs in place; and allocated funds for social welfare, education and health. The region weathered the COVID-19-induced economic crisis, with some sub-regions even recording economic growth during the pandemic. In 2021, the region’s agricultural and fisheries output was the country’s highest by value.32

Criticism of the interim government is widespread and, in many cases, warranted.

Still, criticism of the interim government is widespread and, in many cases, warranted. A former government official said development is “uneven”.33 A chunk of the Bangsamoro’s economy, especially the public sector, remains controlled by clans and local elites who sometimes undermine the interim government’s efforts. The uncertain security situation, meanwhile, discourages investment from outside the region.34

Critics also argue that the Bangsamoro could more efficiently spend the money Manila sends to the region in the form of a block grant (a device that allows the region wide latitude and is meant to promote its fiscal autonomy): if the regional government engaged in more timely and transparent budget deliberations, these critics argue, funds could be allocated more expeditiously. But even then, its ministries and departments would also need to improve their absorptive capacity and skills to make use of the funding.35 Even MILF leaders themselves admit they could improve their track record in this area.36 There also appears to be growing discontent about perceived corruption and nepotism in the bureaucracy.37

Bangsamoro authorities and international supporters are attempting to update development plans for the region and passage of priority legislation is under way. Still, observers are getting fed up with the delays that emerged in the course of the pandemic but are also attributable to unrelated challenges with which the interim government has struggled.38 A civil society activist complained: “All this planning only touches the surface. We need implementation”.39

C. Decommissioning Challenges

A vital component of the peace process is phased disarmament, or decommissioning, of the 40,000-strong Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, the MILF’s armed wing.40 After the pandemic hiatus, the third phase of decommissioning resumed in September 2022 and should wrap up in the second quarter of 2023.41 So far, the third-party Independent Decommissioning Body, together with the central government and MILF, has decommissioned 4,625 weapons and 24,844 combatants, or around 62 per cent of the total rebel force.42 While there is no official timeline for working through the remaining caseload, officials in Manila are optimistic that the fourth and last phase could begin in 2023, allowing for all the rebels to demobilise before the end of the transition period in 2025.43

The national military ... has raised concerns about the decommissioning process.

The national military, however, has raised concerns about the decommissioning process. First among them is the disconnect between the declared number of fighters (40,000) and the number of weapons (7,200) listed for decommissioning, which the military suspects means the ex-guerrillas will be holding onto many firearms.44 Both parties were clear at the outset that decommissioning would exclude privately owned and borrowed firearms, but as the process advances the military is pushing to confiscate more guns.45 For now, government officials are informally proposing a 1:1 ratio between fighters and arms in the fourth phase, which would mean that 9,000 to 10,000 firearms could be decommissioned.46 That is unlikely to happen, for reasons discussed below, but the fact that the military is holding firm on this demand demonstrates lingering discomfort with the MILF holding so many weapons.

The armed forces and other critics have also expressed concerns about the list of combatants that the authorities are using for the decommissioning process.47 Rather than submitting the entire list to the decommissioning body from the inception of the process, the MILF has only done so at the beginning of each phase. These lists, moreover, are confidential and shared only with the decommissioning body.48 This arrangement has drawn flak, since in the beginning the parties had spoken about one complete list. More dubious is that the MILF alone decides who figures on these lists, and the decommissioning body is only tasked with verifying the identities (as opposed to the affiliation) of those listed. As a result, critics allege that, in some instances, individuals decommissioned were not bona fide MILF members.49 That, in turn, allows them to claim money they are not entitled to. It also means that some legitimate fighters have not in fact handed over their arms.

D. Other Implementation Challenges

Decommissioning is only one of several steps envisioned as part of the peace process, in a package of measures known locally as “normalisation”. The full package includes financial and other benefits for ex-fighters; measures turning ex-rebel encampments into peaceful communities (which the peace deal says would “progress”, meaning become more developed, over time); and moves to disband private militias. On all these fronts, the process has fallen behind schedule.50

One of the most contentious issues is the central government’s promised socio-economic package for ex-combatants. All those decommissioned have received $1,800 in cash. But the government has not, for the most part, provided other benefits such as housing, health and education allowances.51 Among the MILF’s ranks, there is a widespread belief that the government has promised 1 million pesos [around $17,960] worth of support to each decommissioned combatant.52 Government officials have been equivocal on this point; some say the package was contingent on a scenario where the MILF decommissions one gun per fighter (the so-called 1:1 ratio); other officials say the benefits package is in fact flexible (read: not as generous as the ex-rebels claim).53 In any case, Manila estimates that it will disburse the cash and deliver other parts of the package by 2027.54 But locals and the ex-rebels worry that once the MILF’s force is dismantled, the government will have few incentives to stick to its part of the bargain.

Another contested point is the “camp transformation”, an ambitious but incomplete program for transforming the main MILF camps into productive communities.55 The process has recently gained momentum with the creation of a centralised multilateral donor pool, the Normalisation Trust Fund, which is aimed at better coordinating assistance. Several projects are now in the pipeline.56 But there are unresolved questions over issues such as land ownership, especially when it comes to non-Moro Indigenous communities living near the camps.57 In recent years, Moro armed groups have encroached on these neighbouring areas, on some occasions violently.58 The encroachment sparks conflict with Indigenous groups, who claim that the MILF and powerful Moro clans neglect their concerns, or worse, pay lip service to granting them equal rights with no intention of doing so.59

Local instability and a lack of alternatives ... have made it impossible for the armed forces to leave [the Bangsamoro].

Other aspects of the deal also appear to be contested. The MILF’s insistence on the creation of a Bangsamoro police force, stipulated in the peace treaty, but subject to unsettled interpretation, remains a distant prospect, and is unlikely to gain momentum under Marcos, Jr.60 The central government has yet to fully roll out the amnesty promised to ex-rebels. President Duterte set up a National Amnesty Commission to determine eligibility, and Marcos, Jr. has appointed a chair for the commission, but other specifics remain pending.61 Lastly, despite the peace deal’s requirement that the military redeploy its forces from and inside the Bangsamoro, local instability and a lack of alternatives (including the police force conundrum) have made it impossible for the armed forces to leave.62

Meanwhile, the process of disbanding private armed groups, ie, militias employed by local politicians, has made headway – but only haltingly. Getting rid of these armed groups is necessary to make Bangsamoro more stable.63 According to government data, the National Task Force on the Disbandment of Private Armed Groups has so far dismantled fifteen small militias comprising 94 members in total, who gave up 86 firearms.64 But several sources told Crisis Group that power brokers in parts of Maguindanao and the Special Geographic Area, an administrative district encompassing 63 villages that formerly belonged to Cotabato province, have created new private armies and expanded the existing militias’ arsenals.65

Locals are worried not only about the presence of these “goons” but also about the violent political culture they represent.66 Indeed, despite the MILF’s leadership role at the regional level, several local elites continue to impose their will on communities with impunity.67 The presence of these militias is one of the reasons why MILF fighters hesitate to give up their guns. Overall, according to estimates, as many as 100,000 unlicenced firearms are in circulation in the Bangsamoro.68

E. Understanding the Slow Pace

Besides the rebels’ fear of surrendering weapons too quickly, other factors have slowed implementation of the peace deal. Financial constraints and bureaucratic inertia are also contributing to delays: the government argues it lacks resources to cover interventions such as the decommissioning packages and camp transformation, which were envisioned as part of normalisation. Manila has suggested that the MILF use part of the block grant for such purposes.69 Some, including a number of MILF officials, consider that option viable, at least in theory. Others, however, point out that the peace agreement clearly states that financial responsibility for normalisation lies with Manila.70

Another challenge is the lack of coordination between the various government bodies charged with bringing normalisation to fruition. For example, the two task forces for camp transformation and decommissioned combatants need to work together, not least because their geographical coverage overlaps. They appear, however, to be operating largely on their own.71 The government and MILF have convened workshops and consultations to encourage more cooperation, but little has changed in practice.72

Differing views within the Philippine government and MILF about normalisation’s progress make the next steps trickier. MILF leaders stress that, while the peace process – particularly decommissioning – has made significant gains, it is important “not to trivialise the rest”. “Cutting corners” would be inconsistent with the peace agreement, they add.73 For their part, government officials highlight their past accomplishments and emphasise the need for patience, however slow or cumbersome the process may be.74

Residents appreciate the presence of international actors in the Bangsamoro.

As for international partners, for the most part they remain supportive of the peace process. They are contributing to the Trust Fund and have developed initiatives to help the transition’s political and normalisation tracks along.75 The European Union (EU), for example, has conducted trainings in public administration. Japan and Australia have provided workshops on human resource management and conflict-sensitive development planning in the camps. Residents appreciate the presence of international actors in the Bangsamoro, be it through direct engagement in development projects, regular visits or attendance at events, such as inaugurations or program launches. Showing up sends an important symbolic message.76

But the donors are not always fully aligned. Some stressed to Crisis Group that funding is not limitless.77 Others made clear that they have varying perspectives about how they regard the Bangsamoro’s challenges and needs.78 Some are only willing to support programs that prioritise the political over the normalisation track, preferring to focus on governance and administration rather than ex-fighters and their concerns.79 The Philippine government has its own perceptions of each donor, which also makes program development complex. The lack of strategic donor alignment and coordination is not insurmountable, but it means that funding is not used as effectively as it could be – and slows the transition to full regional autonomy precisely when the process needs to speed up.

III. The Role of the Clans

A successful transition in the Bangsamoro will hinge, among other things, on reaching a modus vivendi that satisfies the national government, the ex-rebels and the clans. Clan networks are the most enduring institutions in the region (and in other parts of the country). They hold most of the region’s seats in the Philippine national congress and run many of the Bangsamoro’s provinces and municipalities. As noted, relations between the ex-rebels and several powerful clans were difficult even before the 2022 local and presidential elections. Afterward, their rapport deteriorated further, as the elections cemented the role of these powerful families in the Bangsamoro’s governance. The clans won governorships in all the region’s provinces: the Hatamans continue to dominate Basilan; the Alonto-Adiongs run Lanao del Sur; the Salis rule Tawi-Tawi; and in the Sulu archipelago, the Tans remain firmly in control.80

The most intense political rivalry remains centred in Maguindanao.

The most intense political rivalry remains centred in Maguindanao, where the local elections were particularly contentious – and sometimes violent, due to clashes among loyalists of MILF-linked candidates and rival clans. Elections in Maguindanao were consequential, in part because the majority of the ex-rebels’ camps, and thus a substantial number of former – and present – fighters, are located there.81 The incumbent governor, Bai Mariam Sangki-Mangudadatu, known for her scepticism of the MILF leadership, prevailed over her husband’s cousin, Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu.82

The governor’s victory did not make her the sole power broker, although she has considerable sway. Political authority in Maguindanao remains contested, in part because Marcos, Jr. did not reward the governor for her loyalty in recent elections by extending privileges such as an appointment in the interim government for her husband, Suharto “Teng” Mangudadatu. Still, her family, a strong political force with close links to Manila, leads a coalition of the major political clans in Maguindanao and maintains influence in the neighbouring Sultan Kudarat province (where her son is governor). It also allegedly enjoys good relationships with several past and present insurgents.83 Following the elections, this part of the Bangsamoro has seen an increase in violence related to the political schism between the MILF leadership and the clans as they battle for control and legitimacy.

Power politics in Maguindanao became even more complicated when a plebiscite in September 2022 divided it into two parts: Maguindanao del Norte in the north and Maguindanao del Sur in the south.84 In both provinces, there is a risk of further conflict. Southern Maguindanao, which is adjacent to Sultan Kudarat province, is less politically contested, but a small danger of instability persists. Several clans are positioning themselves for village elections in October 2023, which are shaping up as another contest between the incumbent families and MILF candidates. Disagreements within the Ampatuan-Sangki-Mangudadatu clan alliance and among its allies could also trigger violence.85 The province still contains armed MILF units, and harbours militants such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), an MILF splinter group outside the peace process. Several commanders of both groups have contributed to electoral violence in the past.

As for northern Maguindanao, it is relatively free of militant groups, but has a number of strong political clans, which are already jockeying for position in the 2025 parliamentary elections.86 It is also home to several high-ranking MILF leaders.87 As the new province establishes itself, it is suffering from political uncertainty. Marcos, Jr. waited for months before appointing a governor, finally naming a high-ranking MILF official, Abdulrauf Macacua, who has since pledged to reach out to his opponents.88 The Sinsuat clan and its allies have announced they will legally contest the appointment, leading to a bizarre situation in which the province has two would-be governors.89 Observers of Maguindanao politics told Crisis Group that this twist will lead to more tensions – and possibly to violence.90 “There are many flashpoints”, said a regional official.91

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) troops stand along a road inside Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on April 23, 2022, ahead of the May 9 2022 presidential elections. AFP / Ferdinandh Cabrera

Given the number of actors involved in Bangsamoro politics and the distrust among them, governance is likely to remain contentious. Divergences on the local, regional and national levels are particularly salient. The MILF may still be in charge of the interim regional parliament, but it faces challenges from the clans in the provinces and in Manila, where the big families have at least as much leverage. These tensions complicated the passage of the electoral code in early 2023, and similar disputes could delay introduction of a local government code in the coming months.

Both of these legislative initiatives touch upon the essence of the relationship between the regional authority, on one side, and national and local levels of government, on the other.92 The drafts required consultations in the regional parliament as well as with experts and communities.93 Early versions proved controversial. Provincial governors issued a position paper addressed to Marcos, Jr., highlighting “red flags” and asking him to undertake a legal and constitutional review of both codes.94 While the MILF and its critics eventually reached a compromise on the electoral code, establishing the rules for local governance will require more haggling.95 Both laws, moreover, could face challenges at the Supreme Court.96

The ex-rebels are cognisant of the challenges they face from the clans as the 2025 elections draw nearer. “We need to campaign soon to show what we have achieved and are currently doing in terms of governance. But as for the interim government, there needs to be accommodation [of the clans]”, said an insider from the former rebel movement.97 Accommodation is not easy, however, because the clans may – if included more in decision-making – play the role of spoilers, depriving the MILF of policy accomplishments and highlighting its failures. At the same time, the MILF’s rise to power and legitimacy has made the political families’ own calculus complex, because they must compete with ex-rebels who used to operate in the shadows but are now the region’s dominant politicians, with influential supporters in Manila.98 A clan member said: “Now the only option for the families is to sabotage the formula [of a MILF-led regional government]. Nowadays, violence is less of a tool, but there are other ways. They can influence public opinion”.99

IV. Continued Violence

The first three years of the transitional period were, fortunately, not plagued by incessant violence. Still, enduring tensions between political forces and other forms of conflict have harmed the peace process in several regions, especially Maguindanao and the neighbouring “special geographic area” in the former Cotabato province. In these areas of instability, the delays in normalisation and political conflicts have created what a Bangsamoro human rights activist called “a cycle of violence”.100

A. Persisting Insecurity

In the years since the autonomous region was created in 2019, the ceasefire agreement between the government and the MILF has largely held, with only a few minor incidents.101 Still, the pull-out of a Malaysian-led international monitoring team in July 2022 caused grumbling on the MILF side.102 International military observers had been present in the Philippines since 2004, at one time numbering 60 soldiers. The contingent subsequently shrank, especially after the peace treaty was adopted. But though the number of international observers was smaller, the ex-rebels regarded the third-party presence as a valuable safeguard during the tense period when they started giving up weapons. The government, in contrast, chafed at having foreign military personnel on Philippine soil. The Duterte administration declined to extend the team’s mandate, saying observers were unnecessary because conflict between government forces and the MILF had subsided.103

But while in general the Bangsamoro is no longer a conflict zone, armed clashes continue to occur periodically. These sometimes pit state forces, whether soldiers or law enforcement personnel, against the MILF or militants. But more often, fighting is touched off by community disputes, clan feuds (implicating private militias) and increasing intra-MILF friction.

1. Clashes with the MILF

Despite their ceasefire, the Philippine military and the MILF have clashed in recent months. In the municipality of Ungkaya Pukan, in Basilan province, a firefight broke out that lasted for two days in November 2022 and led to ten casualties.104 The fight was reportedly triggered by the return of MILF forces to the village of Ulitan after they had to leave the area to allow for military operations months earlier.105 That municipality and adjacent towns had already experienced a spate of shootings before and after the heated 2022 elections.106 Some observers believe that local officials and the military had concerns about the MILF presence; for their part, the MILF considered their local rivals obtrusive, making for a combustible dynamic. The November incident, during which the army conducted mortar shelling and airstrikes, displaced about 2,000 families.107

Another clash occurred on 9 December in Tapudoc, a village in the “special geographic area”, between paramilitaries and an armed group that included MILF elements, killing nine people and wounding six.108 The hostilities stemmed from a feud between two families that dates back to 2016. The latest flare-up started when a member of the local paramilitary forces was ambushed by the armed group with kinship ties to the MILF, leading to retaliation.

The mere fact that clashes persist years after the peace deal is worrying.

In yet another incident, 39 Philippine soldiers entered a MILF area in Maguing town on 8 February 2023, apparently due to a coordination mishap; there were no clashes, but the special forces personnel ended up laying down their guns and MILF forces prevented them from leaving the vicinity for 24 hours.109 Both sides dealt with the issue prudently, but some military officers stationed in the region are said to be frustrated with both the coordination protocols and the optics of having been held in a rebel camp.110 While all these incidents were limited in scope and quickly managed, the mere fact that clashes persist years after the peace deal is worrying.

2. Groups outside the peace process

Somewhat more concerning for the region’s stability is the continued presence of militant groups that fall outside the peace process, including jihadist elements.111 These groups may have reached the apex of their influence in 2017, when a coalition of the Abu Sayyaf and Maute Groups, which had assembled a force that included foreign fighters, launched an assault on Marawi, the Philippines’ largest majority-Muslim city. Fighting between the militants and the government persisted for five months before Manila re-established control.112

Since then, while these militant groups continue to inflict damage, they have been largely on the defensive. Surrenders and fatalities have depleted Abu Sayyaf’s ranks. The region has also become less hospitable to the group: local elites have moved away from tolerating or even collaborating with the militants and the population now leans more decisively toward the central government.113 In Lanao del Sur, remnants of the Maute Group are also lying low. That said, they have committed sporadic acts of violence.114 After several months of silence, the group claimed the bombing of a transmission tower in Kauswagan town, for example.115

Most of the Bangsamoro’s military activity occurs in Maguindanao.

The security outlook also remains concerning in other provinces. In Basilan, despite the death of local Abu Sayyaf commander Radzmil Jannatul in March 2022, a few militants are still occasionally wreaking havoc, committing violent crimes and, according to some sources, acting as hired muscle for local politicians.116 Most of the Bangsamoro’s militant activity, however, occurs in Maguindanao. BIFF commanders Esmael Abubakar (aka Bungos) and Mohidin Animbang (aka Karialan) persist in launching occasional attacks. In October and November 2022, for example, the BIFF targeted army detachments in Datu Salibo and Shariff Aguak towns. They were also responsible for ambushing the chief of police in Ampatuan Town and killing a MILF commander in Shariff Aguak.117 The latter incident led to cascading battles between MILF units and the BIFF in villages in the Maguindanao del Sur interior, displacing hundreds.118

Locals worry that the militant groups’ movements and intermittent attacks could trigger more Philippine security operations, resulting in clashes that end up displacing civilians.119 Since many militants tend to hide in communities near MILF areas, the risk of accidental hostilities between the military and the ex-rebels during such operations also remains a source of concern. In mid-April, a bombing of a bus at a terminal in Isulan town, Sultan Kudarat province, injured six passengers and led to a heightened state of alert in central Mindanao.120

3. Local conflict

Local communal violence, political competition and land-related disputes pose an even more pressing threat to regional stability. According to Crisis Group data, at least 23 intra-Moro clashes occurred in the Bangsamoro between July 2022 and April 2023, leading to at least 90 fatalities and 40 injuries.121 A farmer from Datu Piang town in Maguindanao said: “Our town is peaceful now, but we are still in an abnormal situation. There is still conflict just nearby”.122

A common thread in many of these disputes is local political conflict. In the town of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao del Norte, for example, tensions between the Sinsuat clan running the town and MILF members and their local political allies were already running high before the 2022 elections.123 Weeks after voters went to the polls, gunmen shot dead Datu Jamael Sinsuat, the main candidate of the MILF’s political party in broad daylight after Friday prayers.124 It was the most high-profile of a number of killings in the municipality, almost all related to electoral competition.

For now, an uneasy calm prevails, but locals are worried that conflict could erupt at any time.

Fractious contests for local seats have worsened an already fragile political situation in the area. In Pandag town, located in the neighbouring province of Maguindanao del Sur, a legal battle over who would assume the mayoralty turned into a proxy conflict between the incumbent provincial governor and the regional authorities. In the adjacent municipality of GSK Pendatun, tensions after the elections culminated in several clashes between MILF-aligned forces and supporters of the incumbent mayor. For now, an uneasy calm prevails, but locals are worried that conflict could erupt at any time.125 Village elections in October could trigger further bloodshed in these areas.

In many places, the complex landscape of conflict is not only a matter of electoral politics. In Pikit town, for example, the elections exacerbated tensions, leading to almost daily shootings after the elections. Violence in Pikit comes in three forms. First, some clashes involve disputes between and among Moro families, local politicians and rebel commanders. Secondly, there are land conflicts, mostly between Muslim Moros and Christian settlers (but also among Moro clans). Thirdly, perpetrators sometimes take advantage of lawlessness to settle personal scores.126

Politics lie at the heart of many conflicts: the town’s mayor has been at odds with both the Cotabato province’s governor and a prominent MILF commander in the area.127 The ensuing unstable political environment became more fraught after the May 2022 elections.128 Many observers believe that at least some of Pikit’s violence stems from a proxy war between these competing politicians. To complicate things further, part of Pikit town falls under the autonomous region’s jurisdiction, while Cotabato province administers the other part.129 The split governance makes conflict resolution even more convoluted, because the parties to various conflicts are located on both sides of the administrative boundary.130

Intersecting conflicts featuring insurgents and militants, as well as intra-Moro competition, are not new to the Bangsamoro.131 What is new is that these dynamics are playing out in the midst of a formal peace process, in a region that has enjoyed a degree of autonomy for the past three years. As an academic from Lanao del Sur remarked: “We talk about ‘post-conflict’, but the reality is we are backsliding”.132

B. A Concerning Trend toward Greater Violence

Overall, the region slid toward greater violence over the course of 2022, due mostly to intra-Moro disputes.133 Several factors might explain this concerning trend. First, there appears to be ineffective coordination among actors such as the interim regional authority, local governments, the police, the military, the national government and the ex-rebels.134 A MILF commander tasked with conflict resolution and reconciliation said: “Everyone claims to be an authority … yet no one can impose action”.135

Secondly, transition-related violence in the Bangsamoro, especially in Maguindanao, is inherently political. Given the leading role elected representatives play in mediation efforts, it is perhaps unsurprising that some have been more interested in preserving their hegemonic position than keeping the peace. In some instances, local politicians spearheaded mediation for political mileage, rather than to achieve durable solutions, and conflicts soon flared up again.136

Thirdly, conflict resolution efforts in the Bangsamoro have been too often stymied by the structure of bureaucracies. Both the Bangsamoro Ministry of Public Order and Safety and the MILF have facilitated mediation efforts.137 But these efforts are hindered by overlapping mandates and sometimes unproductive working relationships between MILF commanders, political committee heads and local government units.138 Their efforts are also often devoid of effective enforcement measures or sanctions against those who perpetrate violence.139 There is also seldom an effort to rethink why certain conflicts keep erupting anew.140

Where conflicts cut across boundaries, jurisdiction issues also arise. In Pikit, for example, authorities of the BARMM and neighbouring Cotabato province initially seemed to work in parallel rather than jointly.141 In November 2022, a task force was created, allowing for better coordination, but even afterward conflict resolution efforts have been hampered by the fact that the task force does not play a strong role.142

A broader failure to tackle the long-term causes of fighting ... is a hurdle to conflict resolution.

Fourthly, a broader failure to tackle the long-term causes of fighting – for example, land disputes – is a hurdle to conflict resolution.143 In many instances, the MILF and the regional government aim to defuse conflicts in the short term but do not address the deeper causes. Mediators sometimes arrange for the payment of “blood money”, a sum paid by a perpetrator of a crime to a victim. While such payments may resolve some disputes, they do not address underlying dynamics and risk a cycle of reprisal.

Fifthly, the enforcement mechanisms for keeping the peace have struggled. While the military is often responsible for the immediate stabilisation of local conflicts and brokering ceasefires, it is often not in a position to prevent flare-ups of violence.144 Part of the problem is that the military does not always keep a garrison in remote places and thus cannot deter fighting there. Nor does the military have experience with conflict prevention, a task that has traditionally rested with civilian authorities. Meanwhile, hybrid units composed of soldiers, police officers and MILF members created by the 2014 peace agreement to provide local security during the transition have not fully lived up to expectations. A limited mandate, insufficient funding and the national authorities’ hesitancy to use them as peacebuilding actors have rendered the teams less effective than originally envisioned. The government and MILF stepped up deployment of hybrid teams in early 2023, but their weak mandate remained a hindrance.145

That said, any analysis of regional trend lines should take into account this caveat: while insecurity is a major concern in areas of the Bangsamoro, other parts of it remain relatively free from deadly conflict, or at least show some capacity to manage it. That is due in large part to local actors resolving differences before they escalate. In parts of Lanao del Sur, for example, disputes have rarely escalated since the May elections.146 Warring politicians in the town of Malabang engaged in violent electoral competition – including a shootout at a school that served as polling centre – but contained the conflict before it could erupt into a full-blown feud.147 Active mediators with links to both clans and insurgents have also managed to preserve calm in the Iranun area between Maguindanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur. The quiet, in turn, has a positive effect on surrounding communities such as Camp Abubakar.148 In Sulu, a community-based non-governmental organisation with strong buy-in from the military, the MNLF and religious scholars have been resolving feuds for years.149

C. Risks Ahead

Many observers agree that strengthening conflict resolution in the Bangsamoro is likely to be a lengthy process.150 That leaves the region vulnerable to flare-ups in the short term. Civil society figures, ex-rebels and local politicians told Crisis Group that they are worried about violence erupting across the region in the run-up to the 2025 parliamentary elections.151

A first litmus test will be village elections in October 2023. If violence spikes before voters go to the polls, or during the actual balloting, it could augur even bigger problems for 2025.152 But elections will not be the only potential flashpoints, as illustrated by the troubles in Pikit and other towns. If clan feuds and lingering frustrations among ex-rebels persist, and regional authorities are not able to curb violence, persistent insecurity is likely to reduce confidence in the Bangsamoro peace process

While the MILF leadership is firmly committed to the peace process, regular combatants are sometimes prone to venturing into independent action.

Besides the failure to quell violence, other unfulfilled promises of the peace deal could raise questions related to the MILF’s cohesion and especially the ex-rebel leadership’s relationship with the rank and file. While the MILF leadership is firmly committed to the peace process, regular combatants are sometimes prone to venturing into independent action. Perhaps the biggest worry is that some MILF members could once again take up arms if they conclude that they have little chance of keeping power after the 2025 election, particularly if they think it might be the clans’ vote buying and dealmaking that defeats them.

There are several ways disgruntled fighters could express their frustrations. First, they could join existing armed groups and engage in low-level attacks on the government. Secondly, they may align themselves with local politicians as enforcers in private militias – in effect becoming the “goons” that residents fear.153

Thirdly, a splinter group of rebels could, in theory, resume the armed struggle against Manila. Recently, the organisation has faced a challenge from within its own ranks: an informal grouping known as the “Salamat wing”, which includes several current and former MILF figures. Members of this group have publicly aired grievances about aspects of the transition, demanding more inclusive and democratic decision-making in the MILF.154 While some of these members have valid points, this quasi-faction appears to have emerged in part because a handful of skilled political operators from outside the MILF seek to divide and weaken the ex-rebels to improve their own standing.155 For now, however, chances of an outright fracturing of the MILF are slim. A young, non-decommissioned male cadre member reasoned: “Despite all the problems and the fact that some of our leaders are involved in politics now, we still need to follow our emir [leader]. If there is more resistance from within, then we will be in more chaos. This is not an alternative”.156

Beyond the Salamat wing, the risk of a major splinter group remains low. Factions breaking away from the MILF lack a charismatic leader, a compelling message and broad community support – at least for now.157

V. Boosting Momentum for Peace

Despite all it has accomplished, the Bangsamoro peace process is at a fragile moment. The challenges it faces – exemplified by protracted conflicts, delays in normalisation and fractious clan politics – could still derail its final phases. There are, however, steps that local, regional and national authorities can take, along with outside actors, to improve the odds of successful completion and support the region’s transition to a brighter future.

A. Nurturing the Spirit of the Peace Process

Many of the peace and development challenges facing the Bangsamoro stem from the complicated relationship between the MILF-led autonomous region and Manila. To bolster the connection between the central government and the Bangsamoro, the spirit of cooperation and willingness to compromise embodied in the 2014 peace agreement should remain a guiding precedent. Though much of the responsibility for fulfilling the peace agreement’s terms, especially normalisation, rests with the national government, Manila should genuinely cooperate with the ex-rebels – both as a matter of principle and to allow the Bangsamoro to have ownership of the process. Adequate funding from Manila is necessary but not sufficient; more broadly, the government should also promote the peace process and its achievements in Congress and among the general public.158

The ex-rebels shoud ... make clear that they accept that some provisions in the peace pact may fall by the wayside.

For their part, the ex-rebels should be realistic and make clear that they accept that some provisions in the peace pact may fall by the wayside, despite the promise of “full implementation” in the 2014 agreement.159 It seems a near certainty that the regional government will not be permitted to field its own police, for example, even though the peace deal mentions a “police force for the Bangsamoro”, with Manila handing over that responsibility to the region.160 For the national authorities, it is anathema (and unconstitutional) to have a separate police force given that there is only one government with responsibility for state security.161

The MILF should also disseminate factual information on the peace process to its members and the Bangsamoro’s population. It should not only lay out the benefits but also explain timelines, benchmarks and why the process is occasionally delayed. Both sides should also participate in additional sessions of the Intergovernmental Relations Body, the entity responsible for resolving outstanding issues between Manila and the region.162 That body has convened only once during the Marcos, Jr. presidency; given the rising challenges to the peace process, more meetings could be useful.

B. Achieving Internal Consensus

Some degree of intra-Moro consensus on the region’s political rules of the road is needed to achieve a sustainable modus vivendi between the MILF-led regional authority and the Bangsamoro’s clan-dominated local governments. The most pressing matters, such as rules for local governance and provision of basic services during and after the transition, must be decided during the transitional period. As a first step, Chief Minister Ebrahim should as soon as possible convene the Council of Leaders, a body that includes representatives of Moro leaders and communities, to facilitate dialogue between provincial governors and other important elected figures.163 Many observers believe that the MILF-led interim government made a blunder by not convening the Council in the transition’s first three years.164

The MILF and some of the more sceptical clans … should … engage in dialogue.

The MILF and some of the more sceptical clans, particularly those who wield power in Maguindanao del Norte, Maguindanao del Sur and Sulu, should also engage in dialogue. Ideally, the ex-rebels would initiate these talks, given their role at the helm of the regional authority, using emissaries if required for outreach to MILF rivals such as the branch of the Mangudadatu clan from Sultan Kudarat. Such talks could help to forge compromises: on the local government code, on law and order, on electoral districting and on other topics.165 Without such compromises, the political conflicts that sometimes beset the peace process, for example in Maguindanao del Norte, will remain a stumbling block to everyday governance. Violence is bound to spread if these disagreements escalate. Jockeying for power has always been a feature of Bangsamoro politics, but it should not be allowed to throw the transition off track.

In that regard, the forthcoming consultations about the local government code present an opportunity for the interim government to begin discussing a vital issue: delineation of municipal and regional powers for the Bangsamoro. For discussions to remain non-adversarial, it could be useful to create an advisory expert working group, jointly nominated by Manila and Cotabato, to guide technical discussions and local consultations.166 More broadly, the transitional authority should work toward the goal that local governments perform in a responsible and accountable manner – not only through oversight and budget allocation, but also a spirit of cooperation instead of confrontation.

C. Reducing Local Violence

With local political tensions on the rise in the lead-up to the 2025 elections, and violence proliferating, all parties need to redouble their efforts to mitigate conflicts at this sensitive moment in the peace process – before the frictions become sources of lasting instability. For starters, both sides should abide by the existing ceasefire provisions, and if possible, adhere to them more strictly still. Recent incidents in Basilan, among other places, should be a reminder for both parties to respect the protocols that are essential for avoiding loss of life and displacement of civilians.167 Ensuring that local tensions do not devolve into violence is at least as important a responsibility for the government and MILF as tamping down gunfights.

Secondly, given that a return of the International Monitoring Team appears unlikely, the government and MILF should consider reviving local civilian monitoring and peacekeeping networks, with active participation by both men and women, as a preventive measure.168 Donors could support these efforts with funding. Another option could be for both parties to strengthen the mandate of the hybrid security teams, composed of ex-rebels and state security personnel, giving them instructions to step into brewing conflicts to mediate. Some of the existing teams could be stationed in conflict-prone regions such as parts of Basilan, the “special geographic area” and Maguindanao. The teams’ hybrid composition could act as a deterrent.169

Thirdly, another “vital task”, in the words of a regional official, is formalising the relationships between ex-rebels and the Bangsamoro ministries.170 The regional authorities might employ MILF commanders in key ministries or hire them as consultants to provide technical expertise on mediation.171 Creating these formal linkages between the interim government and former rebel commanders could make it easier to mitigate tensions and enforce rules. Given the rise of local conflicts, the chief minister should strive in particular to improve coordination between the Ministry of Public Order and Safety and rebel commanders on the ground.172 Those lines of communication have not always worked well to date.

The recent creation of an agency for local peace and security provides another opportunity to improve ties between ex-rebels and regional institutions.

Fourthly, the recent creation of an agency for local peace and security provides another opportunity to improve ties between ex-rebels and regional institutions. The chief minister created the new office with international funding, asking it to work first on mediating intra-MILF disputes. Such internecine conflicts may be easier to tackle than more complex ones involving the local government or clans, but if the office can deal expeditiously with intra-MILF disputes, it should not limit itself to those.173 Indeed, in the early months of 2023, the agency managed to pacify some of the clan conflicts in central Mindanao, but it is too early to tell how effective it will be in the long run.174

Fifthly, the conflicts in the Special Geographic Area also require particular attention if the region is to attain stability. To defuse tensions in Pikit and elsewhere, de-escalation should be the first priority. The MILF, with thousands of fighters still under arms, should strengthen efforts to exert command and control.175 The organisation’s military structures still exist, which could allow the MILF to mobilise senior commanders at all levels, including front and base commanders who are members of parliament, and instruct them to help keep the peace. That would make it more likely that the ex-rebels could prohibit their own commanders from engaging in violence, discipline those responsible for stirring up conflicts – for example by removing repeated violators from the ranks or changing sub-commander leadership – and position themselves to resolve intra-MILF disputes. For its part, the military also needs to discipline local paramilitaries who take part in violence.176

Where conflicts involve non-MILF members, the regional ministries and local government units need to work together on resolving them to ensure the necessary buy-in from non-MILF parties and enforcement of the agreement.177 They could do so by convening the parties, or activating the Peace and Order Councils, which are locally led dispute resolution bodies in every municipality (and are often convened only for show).178 All parties, including the MILF, local governments and the military, also need to abide strictly by decisions once an agreement is reached. Failure to do so should spur intervention by mediators such as the Intergovernmental Relations Body, which is tasked with bridging differences between the two sides at the implementation stage of the peace process.179

Finally, there is an urgent need to disband the private armies that are often used by local power brokers in local conflicts. Although these militias pose no threat to national security, Manila needs to be more serious about dismantling them to curb instability at the regional level.180 The national task force in charge of breaking up these outfits needs to move faster in identifying these groups, especially those that are not purely criminal – that is, those embroiled in political feuds. The task force should assess the militias’ firepower and links to traditional politicians and rebel groups, and then dismantle the strongest of them in 2023 and 2024. It could do this job in parallel to the final phase of the MILF’s decommissioning.

While there are obvious security concerns arising from disarmament of these groups that need to be carefully considered – especially since some might engage in violent resistance – there are also less dangerous steps that can be taken by summoning greater political will. Manila should work harder to convince militia commanders and politicians to surrender their firearms, arrest those who have pending cases in court and are at liberty, and discipline local officials who violate relevant Philippine gun laws or illegally collude with armed groups. It should also offer ex-militia members who surrender and meet screening criteria a chance to join the military or its auxiliaries, chipping away at the links between politicians and militiamen.

D. A Big Push on Normalisation

The normalisation process is at the core of the peace agreement, and its success (or lack thereof) could make or break the Bangsamoro’s transition to full regional autonomy. Importantly, the concept of normalisation encompasses not only the steps required to take guns away from fighters but also to help them build new lives. All proponents of the peace process at every level of the government, and outside it as well, should throw their weight behind it. Perhaps the biggest challenge is ensuring the “well-being of the combatants”, as a senior MILF leader put it, referring to the delivery of promised socio-economic support.181 Absent visible progress, ex-rebels could lose faith in the peace process amid debates over the decommissioning process, frustration over the delivery of socio-economic packages and camp transformation.

1. Decommissioning process

The rocky disarmament process must be navigated carefully. A final phase of disarmament, envisioned as part of the peace deal, will require both sides to bridge the gaps in their expectations. At this stage, modifying the number of combatants that the two sides agree to decommission would be impractical. It could also send a dangerous message that key aspects of the peace process are, in effect, being revisited. The discussion should therefore focus on the number of weapons to be impounded. Both sides have, in principle, four options:

Status quo. The original number of 7,200 guns to be decommissioned remains final. This option is perhaps the easiest to pursue, but the hardest for the military to accept, because of justified concerns that the number of weapons privately owned by the combatants, which are excluded from the decommissioning, is in excess of that figure.182

Adjust the numbers. The two parties could agree to increase the official number of weapons to be decommissioned via a formal agreement or addendum to the normalisation annex, the part of the 2014 peace treaty dealing with disarmament and related matters. While this negotiation could be tough, the provision of benefits packages, and the dismantling of rival armed groups, could help convince the MILF to give up more weapons.183 In this scenario, both sides would avoid the issue of decommissioning combatants’ privately owned guns. In any case, decommissioning the weapons officially owned by the MILF should remain the priority, as agreed by both sides.

Focus on personal firearms. A third option would be to forego any increase in the agreed number of 7,200 guns to be decommissioned, and instead look to the parties to create a working group on how to address MILF combatants’ personal firearms, whether individually owned or borrowed from third parties.184 This working group could research best practices from other conflicts and provide recommendations on the most appropriate way forward in the Bangsamoro. One solution could be for the government to buy back the personal guns or provide other compensation, perhaps in the form of small livelihood packages.185 This option might create counterproductive incentives, however, including for the acquisition of weapons that can be traded in.

Combined approaches. A fourth possibility would be to combine the second and third options. If the military cannot accept only 7,200 surrendered weapons, the parties could reach a new agreement on the number of guns to be decommissioned, in combination with a long-term effort to tackle the issue of personal weapons in the hands of ex-rebels and other militias. The MILF could agree that some of its members would volunteer to hand in their personal guns in exchange for compensation. If there are seizures of private militia weapons, the MILF could perhaps hand over a corresponding number of firearms, to make sure that the ex-rebels and their local rivals give up firepower at the same time.

The option that removes the greatest number of weapons from circulation outside state control would be the most attractive. In practice, the success of any of these options will depend on political will. The most important thing is that the parties reach an agreement and abide by it. Both sides should engage in open discussion of these options and reach agreement on the way forward. Clear endorsement of a shared plan by the government and MILF will be essential to the success of the final phase of decommissioning.

2 .Socio-economic support

Beyond the decommissioning process, there is an urgent need to resolve the impasse regarding the socio-economic packages that Manila promised to ex-combatants. The government should seek a better understanding of the former rebels’ needs, building a database of all decommissioned fighters that would record the services they have received and their socio-economic status, especially in terms of livelihoods and housing. A database is the best way to obtain a clear picture of shortcomings in service delivery to these individuals and their families.186 Some of the work required for such a database has already been accomplished, after government officials conducted interviews with ex-rebels when they went through decommissioning.187 Based on existing lists, both parties should come up with estimates of budget needs and programmatic priorities. While the full content of the benefits package remains under discussion, Manila needs to clarify what it can deliver in the politically sensitive 2024-2025 period.

International donors should support efforts to meet the challenges that come with this part of normalisation. They could help with programming but also should provide financial support if the government falls short.188 Major donors and actors such as the World Bank and the UN could provide funding and perhaps supplement the compensation packages with development interventions for combatants, their communities and their camps. Donors will need to coordinate to avoid duplication and uneven regional distribution of development programs.189

For a more efficient process, Manila and Cotabato should establish a mechanism for policy coordination and planning with donors.

The Bangsamoro government, Manila and donors all have roles to play in the region’s development. So far, donor coordination exists on an informal and ad hoc basis. For a more efficient process, Manila and Cotabato should establish a mechanism for policy coordination and planning with donors. The mechanism could involve the region’s existing Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority, or the newly formed Bangsamoro International Development Assistance Committee, in tandem with the peace process office in Manila.190

The funding for normalisation projects should come from Manila or donors. The Philippine government has the responsibility to take care of normalisation as required by the 2014 peace treaty. The Bangsamoro interim government could, if need be, contribute to elements of the package for ex-combatants, perhaps regarding its design or technical advice on implementation. As a last resort, the ex-rebels could even use their own funds, which may have the benefit of giving them a share of ownership. But dipping into the BARMM’s block grant to bankroll normalisation programs would divert money from the regional government’s budget for day-to-day governance. It may also raise problems of accountability, as funds allocated to separate tasks get mixed together.191

3. Camp transformation

A key part of normalisation is encouraging economic development in the MILF’s six camps. All of them need equal attention, given their history of conflict, the presence of influential rebel commanders in the camps and the volatile political dynamics of surrounding areas. Still, four camps – Rajamuda, Omar, Badre and Bilal – require additional precautions, as they have seen violence most recently.192 Given the history of conflict in neighbouring Indigenous areas, particularly around Badre and Omar, policymakers should proceed cautiously when constructing new housing and rolling out other interventions in these camps. In other words, Manila and the MILF, through their established task forces, should take care that normalisation does not cause harm. The regional parliament has not passed the Indigenous peoples code, which aims to clarify rules of development in or near Indigenous areas; in the meantime, land grabs go on at the Indigenous communities’ expense.193

The government and MILF should also work to ensure that aid goes to the camps and MILF communities that have received the least support. A first step will be identifying which camps and MILF areas have been underfunded. Donors could assist the task forces for decommissioned combatants and camp transformation, as well as the region’s planning and development authority, with technical support to conduct this economic analysis.194 Once it becomes clear which areas are due a greater share, regional actors should maximise the possibility that these regions, which are among the poorest in the country, see economic development. Encouraging the regional bureaucracy to coordinate with the task forces for decommissioned combatants and camp transformation could facilitate development near the camps. For example, initial meetings between these task forces and the Ministry of Public Order and Safety have resulted in less duplication of effort.195 Local government units should also take part in program design and implementation, provided that they do not politicise the process.196

VI. Conclusion

Close to a year into the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., the Bangsamoro peace process, despite many obstacles, is progressing. It also faces perils, however. The slow speed of the process, coupled with instability in parts of the Bangsamoro, is threatening the success of the transition. With only two years before the 2025 election season kicks off, time is running out to achieve the peace deal’s goals.

The paramount goals are for national and regional authorities to defuse local conflicts, ensure that MILF rebels continue to hand in their weapons, support their full transition to civilian life and disarm the ubiquitous clan militias. The closer authorities get to these objectives, the smoother the path will be toward the 2025 parliamentary elections, and successful completion of the decades-long effort to bring peace and autonomy to the Bangsamoro. The benefits of this success would of course be most keenly felt in the region, but its symbolism would likely resonate beyond the Philippines, given the extent to which the Bangsamoro has become an example of a negotiated, democratic approach to addressing long-term conflict.

On the other hand, if the authorities allow instability to fester, and if they fail to provide the socio-economic benefits promised as part of the peace deal, then the elections could be another kind of turning point – with rebels and others losing confidence in the political process and pursuing their interests by other means.

This negative scenario can still be avoided. The biggest risk now is that lingering hindrances – such as issues related to decommissioning of fighters and local violence – will hobble the peace effort. Rather than allowing themselves to be hamstrung by these issues, Manila and the interim authority should work cooperatively, creatively and in the spirit of compromise that allowed the 2014 peace agreement to be reached. As indicated above, solutions are within reach for the security and political issues that are straining the transition, but they will require all parties to summon the requisite political will. Outside actors should urge them in that direction, offering material and technical support as needed. The Bangsamoro peace process remains a model for what can be achieved through an inclusive, democratic effort to resolve a longstanding conflict. For the sake of both those who benefit from it, and those who would emulate it, the deal must not be allowed to fail.

Manila/Brussels, 1 May 2023