You are here

Brown Bag Lecture Series

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008

Brown Bag Lecture Series

Recent Violence in The Philippines

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Co-sponsor: Southeast Asian Student Initiative

Lotta Hedman, Senior Research Fellow at IDEAS, the London School of Economics and Political Studies, discussed the growing number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) within the Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago regions of the Philippines. By looking at the historical context of these Southern regions, from violent conflicts in the 1970s to the ‘Total War’ in 2000, Hedman argued that the key to understanding the high levels of IDPs stems from the patterns of national integration and electoral contests in the Philippines.

Hedman noted the awkward and incomplete pattern of integration of the Muslim minority, referred to as moros, into the Republic of the Philippines dating as far back as the mid-sixteenth century. When the Philippines achieved independence in 1946, national integration took place through elections and the Muslim politicians from the Southern regions combined easily with Catholic politicians in Manila.

However, with the declaration of martial law by then-President Ferdinand Marcos in 1972, Moros began to mobilize to support an independence movement in parts of Muslim Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Soon there was a full-scale armed separatist movement supporting an independent Moro homeland, under the newly formed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). By the mid-1970s, around 75% of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were deployed to Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago—resulting in over 50,000 casualties and hundreds of thousands of IDPs. While an uneasy and unsteady equilibrium developed after the Libya-brokered ceasefire in 1976, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) arose out of the MNLF.

It was not until Marcos was ousted in 1986 that integration with the Muslim minorities and the greater Philippine state was attempted. Unfortunately, strides toward a potential Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) were disrupted by national and international developments in the late 1990s. Joseph Estrada, who was elected President in 1998, waged a ‘Total War’ against the MILF in 2000. These actions built the basis for violent retaliations in the name of the Moro people. One particular group, the Abu Sayyaf Group, founded by a returning member of the jihad in Afghanistan with links to Al-Qa’ida, persistently promoted the idea that Islamist terrorist networks had penetrated the Southern Philippines. This development, combined with the events of September 11th in the United States, gave the government further reason to wage the war against MILF and the MNLF—the ‘Total War’ became a ‘Global War on Terror’ in the region.

In contrast, when the Arroyo Administration came to office, Arroyo tried hard to convince the United States not to label the MILF a terrorist organization, since she wanted to secure Muslim votes. She was ultimately successful, and a Memorandum of Understanding was drafted to provide a formal reconciliation between the government and communities in the Southern Philippines. However, politicians who claimed to represent Christian communities in Mindanao appealed to the Supreme Court to prevent the Arroyo administration from signing the Memorandum, the talks broke down, and armed groups affiliated with local Christian politicians and the MILF clashed.

In the end, Hedman believes that the structure of electoral contests and minority integration in the Philippines can explain much of the growth of IDPs in Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago. Unfortunately, Hedman does not see prospects for the safe return of IDPs in the near future but only continued conflict, violence, and displacement. This event was moderated by Dr. Buehler, Postdoctoral Fellow in Modern Southeast Asian Studies at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute.

 

Contact Us

APEC Study Center at Columbia University
Columbia University, 3022 Broadway
2M-9 Uris Hall
New York, NY 10027-7004
212-854-3976

Events

April 8, 2014

The ‘History Problem’

April 23, 2014

My Fight for a New Taiwan: One Woman's Journey from Prison to Power

April 25, 2014

Culture and Everyday Life in North Korea

The Curl Ideas to wrap your mind around

Just In Time for Veterans Day: Iraq War Veteran Ed Reynolds '16 Named Inaugural Recipient of Bernard Gray Fellowship

Ed Reynolds '16 is the first recipient of the Bernard Gray Fellowship.

Read More >

Private Equity in India: An Insider's View

Vishal Bakshi '00, managing director of principal investments in India for Goldman Sachs, opens up about the thorny world of private equity in a country dominated by family-owned businesses.

Read More >

Columbia Business School Professor Predicts How Changes in Banking Laws Could Fuel Emerging Economies of Tomorrow

New research tracks emerging countries’ economics activity after law changes and finds a boost in access to credit; increase in employment rate; increase in productivity and sales for firms

Read More >

Power Isn't Enough: Study Reveals the Missing Link for Effective Leadership

New research from Columbia Business School shows that powerful leaders fail to listen properly and take others’ accounts into perspective, jeopardizing the impact they could have

Read More >

How Can You Be Entrepreneurial in Any Organization?

Vince Ponzo '03 demystifies the entrepreneurial mindset.

Read More >

“Lean Startup” Innovation — Not Just for Startups

"Lean startup" methodology has a place in established enterprises as well as startups, says Columbia Business School instructor Bob Dorf.

Read More >

Ebola and Global Inequality

The ebola crisis is a stark reminder of the downside of globalization, says Columbia Business School's resident Nobel laureate.

Read More >

Students Pitch Their Startups at the Fall Venture Fair 2014

Columbia Business School students pitched their startups at the 2014 Fall Venture Fair.

Read More >

Stef Wertheimer, Founder of ISCAR, Awarded 2014 Deming Cup

Stef Wertheimer, founder of ISCAR, Ltd., is the recipient of the prestigious 2014 Deming Cup for operational excellence.

Read More >