The Philippines — an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands that was once a U.S. colony and is a current U.S. treaty ally — has faced challenges to its stability and national cohesion since independence, particularly emanating from the violent conflict in Mindanao that began in the 1970s. However, the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in 2019 has presented the greatest opportunity in years to forge a sustainable peace in Mindanao. Building on decades of peacebuilding efforts in the region, USIP is working to expand research on conflict dynamics in Mindanao and to support the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and local civil society.
Brian Harding on Renewed U.S.-Philippines Ties
Philippine President Marcos’s visit to Washington has helped usher the U.S.-Philippines relationship into “a new renaissance,” says USIP’s Brian Harding. And with growing concerns over Beijing’s influence in the Pacific, “[Marcos] is making a bet that if he deepens this relationship … that is how he’s going to deter China.”
Marcos Meets Biden Amid Tightening Security Ties
Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is in Washington this week, capping off a period in which Washington-Manila ties have seen a sharp turnaround. During former President Rodrigo Duterte’s six-year tenure, he sought to align Manila closer with Beijing, but with ultimately little to show for it. Since taking office last June, Marcos has moved to reverse course, dramatically deepening the 70-year-old U.S.-Philippines security alliance amid China’s increasingly coercive actions in the South China Sea. It is expected that Marcos and President Joe Biden will announce this week plans for stepped up military coordination.
Three-Year Bangsamoro Transition Extension Seen as a Critical Opportunity
Engr. Mohajirin Ali is the director general of the Bangsamoro Planning and Development Authority (BPDA), which coordinates the formulation of the Bangsamoro government’s socioeconomic development policies and plans, and monitors and evaluates those plans. Aliah Adam, who serves as the coordinator for local NGO Singanen O Mindanao and as a consultant for USIP, recently interviewed Ali to discuss the BPDA’s role, the major achievements of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and the importance of the three-year extension of the transition period of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.
Religious Women Negotiating on the Frontlines
In recent years, peace processes — such as the track 2 intra-Afghan negotiations — have shown that on both a moral and practical level, women’s inclusion is essential. Women’s involvement in peace processes increases their likelihood of success and longevity and can increase legitimacy. While more literature on women contributing to mediation and negotiation efforts is slowly being produced, little attention is currently being paid to the already existing work of women who employ their faith and mobilize religious resources for peacebuilding.