||Defeating the Enemy beyond the Frontline: An Analysis on the
Philippines' Strategy against the Muslim Extremism in Mindanao
||Master's Program in Taiwan and Asia-Pacific Studies, College of International Studies (English-Taugh
||Anuar Guimba Inidal
人多半居住在「民答那峨穆斯林自治區」(Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,
||The Philippines has been struggling against Muslim extremism. Since the outbreak of Mindanao
conflict in 1970s, public order remains unstable in the region. Moro rebels demand political
concession beyond what the government can offer in accordance to the Constitution. Failure by
both sides to reach agreement led to the radicalization in the ranks of the rebels. Surging political
upheaval in the Islamic world aggravates the phenomenon. Homegrown militants led by the Abu
Sayyaf and other groups enjoined the global Islamist movement. In 2016, the Philippines was
listed in the bracket of countries (mostly from the Middle East and Africa) that have earned
highest impact. In this view, this study seeks enlightenment what makes the Philippines a
centerpiece of Muslim extremism. It explores the influence of history that shaped up the present
geographic feature and demographic profile of the country. Focus is given on the impoverished
condition of Moros who constitute the cultural minorities in the population. They are
predominantly based in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the hotbed of
Muslim extremism in the Philippines. In the course of research, at least five ideational factors are
identified incumbent in the region namely: low literacy, poverty, lawlessness, underdevelopment
and poor governance. These harbor sentiment that flares Moros’ vulnerability to fall prey into the
extremists’ hands. In the mid-2016, the government started to enforce innovative response.
Learning lessons in the past, anti-terror campaign combines military build-up with political will
and socio-economic reforms. It dealt a terrible blow to the cause of the militants.
||Table of Contents
Figures, Maps and Tables vi
1. Introduction 1
1.1 Topic 1
1.2 Motivation 6
1.3 Methodology 8
1.4 Limitation 9
1.5 General Results 10
2. Literature Review 11
3. Historical Foundation 14
3.1 Geography 14
3.2 Demography 15
3.3 Pre-Colonial Period 17
3.4 Colonial Resistance 19
4. Mindanao Conflict 23
4.1 Sabah Claim 23
4.2 Independence Movement 25
4.3 Peace Process 26
5. Extremism and Recent Activities 30
5.1 Lethality of Religious Terrorist Groups 30
5.2 Series of Breakaways 32
6. Theories of International Relations 37
6.1 Clash of Civilizations 37
6.2 Globalization 40
7. Socio-economic Condition in the ARMM 47
7.1 Low Literacy 47
7.2 Poverty 50
7.3 Violence 52
7.4 Underdevelopment 55
7.5 Poor Governance 59
8. Anti-Terror Campaign 63
8.1 Law Enforcement 65
8.2 Political Will 68
8.3 Socio-economic Reform 73
9. Change is Coming 80
10. Conclusion and Recommendations 85
11. Bibliography 88
Figures, Maps and Tables vi
Table 1.1 Global Terrorism Index 2016 1
Table 3.1 10 countries with the longest coastlines 14
Map 3.1 Regions of the Philippines 15
Table 3.2 Population of the ARMM 16
Map 3.2 Geographical areas of ARMM 17
Figure 3.1 Sultan Pahala’s Tomb in Dezhou 18
Map 4.1 Historical Territory of the Sultanate of Sulu 23
Map 5.1 IS linked terror groups in the Southern Philippines 33
Figure 6.1 The state in a globalizing world 41
Figure 6.2 Foreign Fighters of ISIS 43
Table 6.1 Contextual analysis of extremist propaganda 44
Figure 6.3 Distribution of OFWs by Place of Work: 2015 46
Figure 7.1 Percentage of population for high school graduates in 2013 48
Table 7.1 Elementary level as of 2013 49
Table 7.2 Secondary Schools as of 2013 49
Table 7.3 Functional Literacy Rate of Population 50
Table 7.4 Provinces in the Bottom Poor Cluster: 2012 and 2015 51
Figure 7.2 Poverty incidence among population in ARMM 51
Figure 7.3 GRDP Share of ARMM by Industrial Origin 52
Table 7.5 Reported violent conflict incidents in the ARMM 53
Figure 7.4 Sideways Graph: Causes and Conflict deaths 54
Table 7.6 Violent conflict incidents by top specific causes and provinces 54
Table 7.7 Inventory as of December 2016 56
Table 7.8 Inventory as of December 2016 56
Table 7.9 Status of Household Electrification as of November 2014 57
Table 7.10 Number of Waterless Municipalities as of April 2011 58
Figure 7.5 National Road Density (2012) 59
Figure 7.6 Ratio of Paved National Roads (2012) 59
Table 8.1 Military Strength 66
Figure 8.1 GDP of 5 founding members of the ASEAN (1967-2016) 70
Figure 8.2 GDP per capita of 5 founding members of the ASEAN (1967-2016) 70
Figure 8.3 Household Coverage as of December 2016 76
Figure 9.1 GRDP rates by region 2017 81
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