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Political Conflicts

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Topics: Philippines
Steven Adriel R. Dizon
Prof. Violeta E. Sioson

Introduction: Political conflict is the clash between groups of people for the control of power, authority, prestige, and resources. In many societies, only the state is legally empowered to use force to resolve many political conflicts like feuds, banditry, raids, ethnic conflicts and revolution.

At the southern end of the Philippine archipelago, close to Indonesia and Malaysia, lies Mindanao—a large island about the size of Greece, with a current population of about 18 million. Contact with Mindanao by Muslim traders from today’s Indonesia and Malaysia long predated the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, and was responsible for the conversion to Islam of the inhabitants, and the formation of the Muslim Sultanates of Maguindanao and Sulu, among others, in the western part of the island. Spain subdued the northern island of Luzon (where Manila is located) and most of the “in-between” islands of the Visayas, converting most of the inhabitants to Catholicism, but never succeeded in controlling Mindanao. Only with the arrival of the Americans at the turn of the 20th century, and after the end of the Philippine-American War, was most of the island brought under central control, although hostility and conflict remained endemic.

Thus, persisting for some five centuries, the Mindanao conflict is the second-oldest on earth, after the conflict between North and South Sudan (which can be dated back to the 10th century, or much earlier if one includes the continual strife between Egyptians and Nubians in Pharaonic times). The Philippines was comparatively calm for a period after independence in 1946, but conflict flared up again in the late 1960s as growing numbers of Christians settled in Mindanao. Settlers arrived particularly from Central Luzon and Panay Island in the Visayas. The resettlement was fostered by deliberate policy of the central government, in Manila, and eventually resulted in Mindanao having a Christian majority overall, with Muslim-majority areas concentrated in the central and southwestern regions.

Current Conflict


Frequent armed clashes between government forces and armed opposition groups occur primarily on the southern island of Mindanao, although a peace accord has been signed with one group and there is an ongoing cease-fire and peace talks with another.

After the Philippines gained independence in 1946, a massive resettlement program begun that drastically changed the religious makeup of the southern island of Mindanao, which had historically been populated and ruled by Muslims. By 1983, 80 percent of the population of Mindanao was Christian, a shift that caused deep resentment among the Muslim population. Since 1971, the government of the predominantly Roman Catholic Philippines has faced armed opposition from several Muslim groups. Earlier, opposition came from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), which sought greater autonomy for the island of Mindanao. More recently, it does from breakaway groups the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the fundamentalist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), both of which seek Mindanao independence. The government agreed to a framework that led to the establishment of an autonomous region of four Mindanao provinces in 1990. In 1996, the government and the MNLF signed a peace agreement, but other Mindanao Muslim rebels and Christian groups opposed the settlement. The 2009 ceasefire signed by the government and MILF largely held and fatalities and incidents of violence were significantly reduced. The government and MILF resumed talks in January 2011.


Mindanao, in southern Philippines, is home to a majority of the country’s Muslims. The region suffers from poor infrastructure, high poverty incidence, and violence that has claimed more than 120,000 lives in the last three decades. There is a widely held stereotype that the violence is perpetrated by separatist or other armed groups that resort to terrorism to further political goals, but the situation is far more com plex. Although the Muslim separatist conflict dominates the media, research supported by The Asia Foundation shows that clan violence in Mindanao is actually more pertinent in the daily lives of the people, becoming all the more com plicated when mixed with separatism, banditry, and military involvement. To better address this type of conflict, the Foundation partnered with Mindanao-based civil society organizations and academic institutions in a coordinated study of clan violence (known as rido) to map the incidence of clan con flicts in Mindanao and conduct in-depth studies examining root causes of the conflict, parties involved, conditions for escalation and recurrence, relationships to other forms of conflict, and potential for conflict resolution. The coordinated investigation has promoted a better understanding of clan conflict dynamics, helped facilitate dialogue between warring clans, and informed the Joint Coordinating Committees on the Cessation of Hostilities (the body set up to maintain the ceasefire between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front). An edited volume, Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management in Mindanao, was published in late 2007. Currently, local govern ments, civil society groups, and local communities are designing more effective strategies to address these conflicts. For instance, through support from the Foundation, Muslim organizations like United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), Reconciliatory Initiatives for Development Opportunities (RIDO), Sulu-based Tulung Lupah Sug, and the ARMM’s Regional Reconciliation and Unification Commission have settled more than 50 clan feuds and prevented possible escalation of violent conflicts.

Evaluation: A revolution is always preceded by social and economic improvement, people who have comfortable social lives that feel that their political rights are being repressed incite it. That’s why there is always conflict in the country, there is always one opposing side that is not satisfied or agrees in the government. Some wanted to overcome/overthrow the government by disgruntled subordinate groups, caused by fiscal crisis, corruption or weak leadership or lost confidence on the incumbent leaders. They believe that giving political conflicts can improve their status in life and improve their way of living. Also the presence of the current government that is unable to address the needs of the people that’s why they are rallying in the streets, doing banditry, kidnapping, terrorism. Just like the Abu Sayaff group they are stealing or taking things that belong to other groups of people.

References:$file/WP24_Web.pdf,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&fp=17ccb0cd57482225&biw=1364&bih=683 Senatorial Candidates:
Grace Poe- her platform builds on FPJ’s social covenant and focuses on three areas: Poverty alleviation, Opportunities for all, especially the children, and electoral reforms.
Loren Legarda- Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA 9729), Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513)

Edward Solon Hagedorn- his passion and dedication towards the protection of the environment.

Jamby Madrigal- juvenile justice, gender equality, empowerment, anti-trafficking and anti-pornography Teodoro Casino- The Public Attorneys Act of 2007 (R.A. 9406) which strengthened the Public Attorneys Office and expanded its free legal services to poor litigants, The Tax Relief Act of 2009 (R.A. 9504) which exempts minimum wage earners from withholding taxes, and The regulation of oil prices (HB 4355). Greco Belgica- is an advocate of the implementation of a flat tax system in the Philippines. In particular, he plans to initiate a simple, one time, and one kind tax of not more than 10%, only on net income both for the individual and businesses profit if elected Senator of the country. He is an advocate of a truly limited, decentralized government, and free market principles.

Ma. Lourdes Nancy Binay- housing reform, children’s rights and welfare

Risa Hontiveros- she represents the good fight in Philippine politics: she is a champion of the Reproductive Health Bill, a defender of the rights of the marginalized, a symbol of integrity in public office. Her major platform is to protect the women in the country and she understand the life of being a girl.

Ramon Magsaysay Jr. Impact on public welfare and the national development, participation in government, professional, socio-civic, non/religious organizations .
Ricardo Penson- He advocates for an end to political dynasties in the Philippines and believes that family members should be prohibited from running for public office regardless of the place or position.
Ramon E. Montano- Ramon Montano plans to create laws that would serve as guidelines to improve the police and military service. He also advocates a review of the Local Government Code as well as the removal of the power of local politicians over the police force. He also plans to work for the rights of retired soldiers and policemen.
Baldomero Falcone- Falcone has been highly vocal in his criticism of “oligarchs” and highly political families. He undoubtedly supports this bill, pushing for his vision of a truer democracy than one that is manipulated by the old and rich.

I chose them because I know that they are the one’s needed to improve out political institutions and they can help not only the country but also the people part of if.

References: Loren Legarda- Climate Change Act of 2009 (RA 9729), Solid Waste Management Act (RA 9003), Renewable Energy Act (RA 9513) Edward Solon Hagedorn- his passion and dedication towards the protection of the environment. 

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