Date of Submission: 25 January 2011
Mori Grant Research Achievement Report
Human (in)Security of People Caught in Armed Conflict, the case of Mindanao, Philippines
Name of Researcher: ODA, ANGELITO JR. F.
Affiliation: Graduate School of Media and Governance, Master’s Program
Human Security and Communications
Academic Supervisor: Michio Umegaki, Ph.D.
Student Year: M2
Student ID Number: 80926211
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
A. On the Research Topic/Problem and the Study
B. On the Previous Fieldwork Round (for Spring Term 2010)
C. On the Summer 2010 Fieldwork Round with Mori Grant
II. THE ACTUAL SUMMER RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
A. Actual Activities and Accomplishments
Established Linkage with Facilitating Organizations
Focus Group Discussion
Interviews and Conversations
B. Deviations from Original Plan and Problems Encountered
III. CONCLUSION – Next Steps
APPENDIX – Selected Fieldwork Photos
I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
A. On the Research Topic/Problem and the Study
The student’s research topic remains to be the protracted conflict in the Philippines’ southern most island-grouping of Mindanao. To wit, Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines with a land area of 102,043 square kilometers, comprising six (6) Administrative Regions with twenty-five (25) provinces. Unique to the region is the dynamics of being inhabited by people of three (3) different cultural processes: indigenous peoples or lumads; Muslims or Moros; and Christians.
Based on historical accounts, Mindanao was originally inhabited by the lumads, the majority of which were Islamized before the Spanish colonized the islands and spread Christianity as the dominant religion. The Islamized tribes were subsequently given a collective identity as Moros, who have, in recent times, became minorities following waves of Christian settlers who were encouraged by the programs and policies promulgated by the succeeding government regimes.
The ideology behind the protracted conflict in Mindanao has been traced back historically to the Moro’s resistance to foreign rule, from the Spanish to the American, and to the successor sovereign Philippine Republic which is viewed as another foreign ruler. The restive Moro population has already given rise to armed separatist, “liberation” fronts, who have engaged the Government in a vicious cycle of armed conflict – diplomatic/political negotiations that continue up to present. In the past three (3) decades alone, more than 120,000 deaths and more than half a million displaced individuals have already been cited as one of the more dramatic costs of the armed encounters. Aside from the deaths, the conflict has also been seen among the primary sources of under-development and insecurity in the region, despite its possession of diverse natural resources and the reported billions in pesos allocated by the national government and international donor community in implementing “development” policies and programs. The conflict has been compounded with the negative experiences of the region’s communities under the Philippine Government characterized among other things by trailing in socio-economic development being a “frontier”; and by being the focus of military operations in the name of securing the State’s territory.
As previously reported for Fieldwork A, the 2008/2009 Philippine Human Development Report placed all provinces of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the bottom ten (10) of Human Development Index ranking, and the 2006 Philippine National Statistical Coordinating Board Poverty Statistics showed that 11 of the 20 poorest provinces are from Mindanao, and from that, 6 of the poorest 10 are from the region.
To reiterate, the student’s research thus aims to contextualize and examine the ongoing Mindanao armed conflict under a human security perspective. The student would study the “human security –sensitivity” of the government’s policies to address the conflict and integrate the inhabitants, particularly the marginalized groups/communities, into the mainstream Philippine society. The research includes a study of the actual impacts of the government’s peace and development policies, which have usually originated from the center/top, to the people in the affected localities. This entails the first-hand investigation the conditions of the conflict-affected communities and how the so-called “beneficiaries” of the government’s policies and programs live “normal” lives. The research would also look into the perceptions and aspirations of the people in the study sites with respect to national identity, and their actual willingness and capabilities to participate in the “peace process” which have been long-pursued by the State.
The general research objectives remain to be as follows, with the addition of looking into the role of non-government/civil society organizations (item d):
Contextualize and study the
a. discuss and study Human Security concepts and theories, as differentiated from traditional State Security;
b. study existing institutional structures in addressing the “Mindanao Conflict”;
c. evaluate existing policies and efforts to address the issues/problems under a Human Security framework with a focus on studying if there has been a shift in the government’s policies towards giving more priority and consideration to human security concerns during the past ten years; and,
d. study the role of local governments and non-government/civil society organizations in fostering human security, considering their intermediary roles between the state and the people.
Based on this perspective, attempt to identify/come up with policy recommendations, grounded on a human security framework, for government and concerned stakeholders to approach the matter.
B. On the Previous Fieldwork Round (for Spring 2010)
For the previous fieldwork round, the student conducted the research in the Philippines’ capital in Manila, where government statistics and historical information on the study area were collected, and where copies of existing studies and significant literature on the topic were acquired from central government offices and from academic institutions and publications. The Spring Break Fieldwork enabled the student to gather background material and historical data/information concerning his research topic and area; conduct a review of related literature; establish contacts/connections with key informants; and draw a listing of possible local communities in the study area.
As a result of this fieldwork, the student was able to come up with a clear definition of the Mindanao conflict, and a concrete historical accounting of the conflict’s evolution through history and under different regimes. A listing of national government policies/policy directions through out points in history was also drawn, and chronological division of analysis according to Presidential Administration was determined. Linkages were also established with the agencies and organizations which would be followed through in the subsequent fieldwork rounds.
C. On the Original Plan for the Summer 2010 Fieldwork Round with Mori Grant
Following the steps and research conducted for the first fieldwork round, the student sought to conduct the second round in the targeted sites in Mindanao. The proposal was approved and the student’s academic adviser granted the request given that the personal security of the student is prioritized when going to the field.
The second round of fieldwork, conducted during the summer of 2010, ran under the theme of observing the realities and conditions faced by communities in different parts of Mindanao, Southern Philippines; and investigating first-hand the human insecurities they face, how they live “normal” lives and how the State and Government Policies/Programs impact their living conditions and aspirations.
Towards this end, the student planned to immerse himself and gather primary data in identified localities in the main island of Mindanao which have been affected by the armed conflict; inhabited by the IPs, Moros and Christians; and, despite being “beneficiaries” of state policies and programs, have dwelled at the bottom of economic and human development indicators. Originally, the following are the identified localities:
1. Municipality of Pikit, (North) Cotabato Province in Central Mindanao;
2. Municipality of Siayan, Zamboanga del Norte in Western Mindanao; and,
3. Municipality of Kiamba, Sarangani in Southern Mindanao
The immersion in these Mindanao communities were viewed to be vital for the student’s thesis as it was aimed to provide deeper understanding of the various facets of the complex Mindanao Problem, with the armed Moro Conflict as the usually represented key element. The activity was also important to enable the researcher to get as close as possible to the true realities experienced by the people in the study area, and acquire first-hand accounts and primary, grassroots level data which could also reflect the actual impacts to the people of the government policies and programs which are supposed to foster peace and development.
The data-gathering tools/techniques which were planned to be utilized to gather the said data (empirical - through the socio-economic profile of the target fieldwork community sites; and subjective - based on the people’s perceptions to be gathered through observation and discussions/interviews) were:
1. Interview of Key informants in Local Governments, NGOs and communities/households;
2. Focus Group Discussions with community members; and,
facilitate the undertaking of these activities, the researcher applied for the
maximum possible amount that can be given under the Mori Grant (Y300,000). The
project was successful to be among the ones selected by the evaluating committee
for the grant, but only a partial amount of the original researcher’s proposal
was awarded (Y115,000).
II. THE ACTUAL SUMMER RESEARCH ACTIVITIES
With the help of the Mori Grant to greatly improve financial resources for the research project, the student was able to immerse himself in a community in Mindanao and conduct interviews of households in municipalities and villages that have been affected by the armed conflict, particularly those that occurred in the past 20 years. These activities have been facilitated by local and international non-government/civil society organizations (NGOs/CSOs). The student also interviewed key informants from these organizations, which will be detailed in this section of the report. The documentation of the activities were enhanced and facilitated by the digital recorder and portable memory hard-disk which were also procured using the Mori Grant.
In addition, the student also participated in a focus group discussion cum workshop where leaders/representatives of NGOs/CSOs from Mindanao regions that represent the different ethno-cultural groups of Lumads, Muslims and Christians. The FGD/workshop, organized by another international church-based NGO, provided a forum for the discussion of the human security threats perceived and experienced by the different groups, with a focus on those that are faced by the Lumads or IPs. Further, the event also provided the student an opportunity to talk about his research with the Director of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center which recently published its own research results in “Developing a Human Security Index for the Philippines” which also focused on conflict areas in Mindanao. A copy of the publication was acquired, and its highlights are also included in this section.
A. Actual Activities and Accomplishments
Established Linkage with Facilitating Organizations
Considering the situation in Mindanao, the student has had advice early on from professional and academic colleagues that conducting the grassroots level of fieldwork originally envisioned would require the assistance of parties/stakeholders that have been active on the ground for logistical concerns, primarily security and mobility. It has been surmised that it is very difficult to enter a community without a local partner. As such, the student corresponded with contact persons with research experience in the area prior to doing the fieldwork. This resulted in the student’s engagement with the three NGOs/CSOs which greatly aided in facilitating the successful conduct of the planned fieldwork activities in the area, despite the difficulties encountered and the adjustments that needed to be undertaken (discussed in item C of this section).
The said organizations are: 1) the Assisi Development Foundation (ADF); 2) the Catholic Relief Services (CRS); and, 3) the Integrated Mindanaons Association for Natives (IMAN). The brief profiles of these organizations and the specific persons from the organizations which the student got in touch with are as follows:
1. Assisi Development Foundation (ADF)
The Assisi Development Foundation (ADF) is a non-profit and non-stock non-government organization founded in July 3, 1975. Its primary mission is to assist the poor develop their full human potential through partnership programs that promote justice and peace, and has in recent years pursued this goal through a human security approach. The ADF aims to help uplift the plight of the poor through technical and financial assistance in its major areas of concern that involve reforestation, protection of nature, sustainable agriculture and agrochemical-free farming.
The ADF particularly gives priority to programs for indigenous peoples, but also considers those who have less in life. By partnering with other civil society organizations and government units and agencies, ADF attempts to bring about total human welfare and development. Its interventions span from north to south of the Philippines, but the organization have strategically located their interventions mostly in Mindanao which, as previously elucidated, has been constantly plagued by poverty and under-development.
The Foundation assists the poor and oppressed towards becoming economically secure, socially responsible and morally mature by making available programs/assistance in the following:
· sustainable agricultural technology, farm implements & tools
· education (formal and informal)
· medical assistance, facilities and health care alternatives
· opportunities for leadership and livelihood, skills training, and values/spiritual formation
· relief and rehabilitation of communities affected by the armed conflict in Mindanao
The ADF was the one who coordinated and facilitated the FGD, entitled Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) Conversations on Human Security, held at the Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education of the University of Southeastern Philippines-Mintal Campus in Davao City, Mindanao last 21 September 2010. The FGD/Workshop was the first in a planned conversation series initiated by ADF aimed at strengthening IP human security by providing venues for IP leaders, students, educators and support groups to discuss and reflect on their human security concerns and responses.
The first conversation session focused on the review of IP human security situation in ADF assisted areas in Mindanao. Representatives from the Christian and Muslim communities and groups also participated. The student was invited by Mr. Pablo Rey Pio Fuentes, ADF Senior Program Manager, following the student’s previous attempt of correspondence. Mr. Fuentes agreed to collaborate with the student and provided copies of the presentations and outputs produced thereof for use in the thesis.
2. Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Catholic Relief Services (CRS), founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States, works on emergency relief, HIV/AIDS, agriculture, education, microfinance and peace-building in 99 countries worldwide. It is the official Catholic aid agency in the United States and has been working in the Philippines continuously since 1945 when it first launched relief and reconstruction efforts in the wake of the World War II. While CRS continues to provide humanitarian relief to victims of natural and man-made emergencies, it has evolved into a development agency that supports on-going programs in Peace and Reconciliation, Health, Enterprise Development, and Agriculture/Natural Resource Management.
In the Philippines, CRS aims to address problems in peace and poverty by working with a network of church partners, NGOs/CSOs and government agencies to implement programs in peace-building and reconciliation (since 1996), health, and microfinance. In Mindanao particularly, the CRS works with local partners such as the grassroots organization IMAN to extend humanitarian relief and recovery assistance to displaced populations. In addition, CRS views its role in the Mindanao peace process as bridge-building by fostering relationships that will provide alternative non-violent mechanism in resolving conflicts. CRS engages at both the grassroots and national levels in strengthening conflict-resolution mechanisms through a bottom-up approach, using small activities as catalysts for larger ones.
The student corresponded with Ms. Myla Leguro,
3. Integrated Mindanaons Association for Natives (IMAN)
The Integrated Mindanaons Assistance for Natives (IMAN) is an Islamic-based grassroots organization (community-based) which was established in 1985 by its Director, Mike Alon together with six fellow Moros from Pikit, North Cotabato. The group was formally registered as an NGO in 1995. IMAN is presently made up of 25 members from the municipalities within the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato. It is currently based in Kabacan, North Cotabato.
IMAN is primarily involved in relief, development and peacebuilding programs. The organization provides peace education which emphasizes holistic life affirming practices based firmly on the Koran. Its members strive to bring peace and build understanding between the different communities in Mindanao. IMAN promotes interfaith dialogue and tolerance as it works in communities with mixed religious populations. The organization’s use of the term Mindanaons is itself a statement that the group aims to transcend the division of people in Mindanao. Through its programs, IMAN seeks to establish voluntarism, self reliance in the achievement of common goals, foremost of which is to strengthen and empower community participation among Muslims, Lumads at Christians toward peace and development. It works with the people viewing them as catalysts of development. IMAN has been a long-time partner of the CRS in strengthening the bottom-up approach in bringing peace and resolving the conflict in Mindanao. In addition to this, IMAN has also partnered with DKA Austria (Dreikönigsaktion, development arm of the Catholic Children's Movement) and the Terre des Hommes Foundation, among others.
It was IMAN who facilitated the student’s immersion into the conflict-affected communities and accompanied during interviews with households that are caught in the conflict. Ms. Leguro of CRS endorsed the student to Mr. Alon himself, IMAN Director and leader. Mike Alon, was a former member of the MNLF previously tasked as a community organizer for the youth sector of the underground movement. He himself has been a victim of the violent conflict in Mindanao. When he was younger, his family’s house was burned down by Christian paramilitary groups, and he recalls seeing his mother dying in the hands of the military. Around the time when he established IMAN, he realized that the division among religious can be overcome and he sought to restore relations between Christians and Muslims in his community and work for peace. He views that if one has good values and control peace can be achieved, working with the self then passing the learnings and reflections to others. Violence is easy but it is non-violence that is the challenge. Mr. Alon, or bapa Mike as he prefers to be called, believes that peace needs to be built at the grassroots level, planting the seeds in the hearts of the people and educating them.
It is in view of these vital assistance and facilitation, the student provided IMAN Director Mike Alon with a modest honorarium.
Focus Group Discussion
As stated above, the FGD and workshop was organized and facilitated by the ADF with the help of its partner institutions. The student was invited to participate and collaborate, with information gathered for use in the research thesis. The FGD was called Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) Conversations on Human Security, and it was conducted at the Pamulaan Center for Indigenous Peoples Education of the University of Southeastern Philippines-Mintal Campus in Davao City, Mindanao. The FGD/Workshop was the first in what would be a series of FGDs and workshops pursued by the ADF to strengthen IP human security by providing an empowering forum for IP leaders, students, educators and support groups to discuss and reflect on their human security concerns and responses. For this initial FGD, the focal theme was the review of IP human security situation in ADF assisted areas in Mindanao which cover all of its administrative regions. In addition to IP group and tribal leaders and members, representatives from the Christian and Muslim communities and groups also participated. IP participants came from almost all of the ethnolinguistic tribes in Mindanao which include the bagobo, maranao, manobo, higaonon, umajamnen, talaandig, subanen, mandaya, mangungawan, t’boli, banwaon, mamanwa, teduray, badjao, maguindanao.
To start the FGD, resource persons provided presentations to brief the participants on Human Security, the concepts, approaches, application in the Philippines and in the Mindanao conflict in particular. The Director of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center (UP-TWSC), Prof. Ella Atienza, presented the findings of the center’s research towards the development of a human security index for the Philippines. The research findings for the initial exploratory phase of the study which focused on conflict areas in the Philippines such as areas in Mindanao were published last September 2010. Highlights of this publication, a copy of which was acquired by the student during this field work round is also discussed in a section below.
Following UP-TWSC’s discussion, Ben Abadiano, FGD President provided a unique discussion of human security. He translated the explanation of human security concepts in the Filipino language and provided the human security-based framework being pursued by the organization in its programs and other efforts in Mindanao. In addition to standard human security principles, he discussed the ADF approach in peacebuilding to be anchored in a human security framework that views justice and equality as a driving force. ADF has crafted a multi-step planning process for its peace promoting and conflict sensitive community development programs. This process starts at a situational analysis on human security and vulnerability to human rights violations and values conflicts/crises of concerned communities. The process can be seen in the illustration below:
After ADF’s presentation, the participants were divided into their respective Regional Groupings to discuss what they perceive as threats to their human security. The groups presented their group’s discussion results of the top threats to their human security. The commonly occurring threats among the groups are listed below:
· Land security - ancestral domain issues and dislocation which is considered both as a cause and result of the armed conflict; in addition, land security is threatened by land-grabbing brought about by the implementation of “development” projects by government, and also by the self-interest of corrupt politicians and local officials.
· Limited access/non-delivery of basic services – the participants particularly cited the limited access to basic services such as in health and education, as well as the limited livelihood opportunities. Also, there was a mention of continuing discrimination in availing benefits and again, corruption in government.
· Recruitment of IPs as members of armed groups – this issue was raised based on the participants’ perceptions that IPs are being recruited and exploited as laborers and tenants, even in their own ancestral domains. Further, it was also lamented by the IP leaders that they are having views that perhaps the government does not give much priority to the plight of IPs because it is the Muslims who have armed movements and which the government thus try to appease and pacify.
After the presentation of the discussion outputs, a new ADF initiative was ceremonially launched, the opening of a Peace Education Hub housed within the university, which is a facility that is designed to promote intercultural dialogue and solidarity through the strengthening of peace and multi-cultural education and research.
The event culminated with the keynote speech of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Sec. Teresita Deles who outlined the policy directions of the newly installed administration of the recently elected Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. The peace policy, divided into two tracks is outlined below:
o Restart and complete negotiations with
- Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)
Communist Party of the Philippines
(CPP) / New People’s Army (NPA) /
National Democratic Front (NDF)
o Complete implementation of signed Final Peace Agreements with
- Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) 
- Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA) 
o Put closure to peace tracks with breakaway groups, such as
Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa – Pilipinas (RPM-P) /
Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) / Alex Boncayao Brigade (ABB)
- Rebolusyonaryong Partido ng Manggagawa – Mindanao (RPM-M)
o Targeted delivery of social services to conflict areas
Setting the foundation for good
governance in the Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and other conflict areas
Implementation of the reform agenda
for our Indigenous Peoples,
including the Lumad in Mindanao
o Ending impunity on Human Rights Violations and Extra-Judicial Executions
o Resolution of the situation of internal displacement due to armed conflict
Review towards the reform and
enhancement of existing reintegration
programs for former rebels
Interviews and Conversations
The student was successful in doing community interviews in conflict-affected communities. This was facilitated by the IMAN grassroots organization which accompanied the student in the communities, identifying appropriate respondents, and translating/assisting in communicating with the respondents in the local dialect when they can not express or understand the questions which the student placed in the common Filipino language which is primarily based from dialects of central and northern Philippines.
The student also stayed in the residence of IMAN’s Mike Alon, a Moro family, and interacted and observed their normal daily activities, including activities during their day of worship (Friday).
The six communities or barangays where the student conducted the interviews of the 15 household respondents covered two (2) provinces, North Cotabato and Maguindanao, along the border of the Central Mindanao region and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The communities are spread among four municipalities: Carmen (Bgys. Tacupan and Kitulaan), and Kabacan (Bgy. Osias) in North Cotabato; and Datu Montawal, formerly Pagagawan (Bgys. Pagagawan and Bulit), and Pagalungan (Bgy. Layog) in Maguindanao. A map indicating the geographical location of the areas in the center of Mindanao can be seen below. All the areas visited have been affected by the conflict, in particular the violent armed encounters during the years of 1997, 2000 (all out war policy of government), and 2003, as both battleground and evacuation settlement of the internally displaced which are locally known as bakwits.
One ironic observation the student has at the onset of the community visits, which gives a concrete illustration of a human security precept of giving attention to the micro levels beyond aggregate statistics, was the living conditions in the areas despite all municipalities being considered as 1st class among Philippine Municipalities.
Among the 15 respondents, there were two females and all the others were males. Their ages varied from the range of 26 to 60 years old. The primary source of income are farming activities, which are supplemented by micro-retail stores. There were five respondents who have either had experience or currently serve as a member of the administration of their respective barangays. One respondent works as an educator in a daycare center, an opportunity which was provided by IMAN, and one respondent presently goes to a vocational institute, studying computer technology-related program. There were also three (3) non-Muslim respondents among those interviewed. All respondents identified have been at one time or another participated in, and benefitted from IMAN implemented projects.
The student, with the IMAN staff, conducted the interviews during mid-day, as security concerns made it necessary to start returning to base before late afternoon. Thus, the interviewees are in the middle of their daily activities such as tending their small stores, or doing farm-related work when interviewed. Two respondents just finished their facilitation of resolving a feud between families through mediation and negotiations, which may have prevented the occurrence of violence. The student also interviewed IMAN Director Mike Alon on his personal views, insights and experiences on the conflict and the efforts to resolve it. Conversations with the accompanying staff were also undertaken by the student along the way.
The major points which were observed and noted by the student during the interviews are listed below:
The student also got in touch with the UP-TWSC and its Director, UP Professor Ela Atienza. Director Atienza was kind enough to provide the student with copies of the center’s recently released publication for use in the research.
The UP-TWSC is an academic research center of UP that aims to develop critical, alternative paradigms to promote progressive scholarship and action for change on issues that concerns countries falling to the “third world” label, which include the Philippines. The center undertakes research focusing on political economy, development issues, democratization, and governance, working with social movements and civil society for generating knowledge towards positive actions. The center released last September the results of its research in human security, through the book “Developing A Human Security Index for the Philippines, An Exploratory Study in Selected Conflict Areas”. The research was undertaken under partnerships with the UNDP and the OPAPP, and was conducted from 2006-2008.
The publication describes the scope of human security in the Philippines and its influence in the process of conflict prevention and peace building. The study, which as the title informs is exploratory in nature, discusses how stakeholders, dutybearers in the Philippines view human security. The research project conceptualizes human security as a condition whereby the individual is protected from critical, immediate, and pervasive threats to his or her life, liberty, property and community. It views the individual as the referent object, but considers that individuals are not disengaged from the community where freedom, rights and identity are derived.
The research benefitted from information culled from 23 key informant interviews, 8 focus group discussions with marginalized sectors, and survey (800 respondents). Among other areas, it covered regions in Mindanao (Surigao del Sur, North Cotabato and Sulu) as it has initially focused on critical threats to human security in armed conflict-affected areas, with conflicts limited to those involving the state as one of the actors. Its major findings are as follow:
— There is still an ongoing debate between the state-centric and the people-centered definitions of security
— Economic threats to security still receive primary attention, followed by environmental threats, even in the face of armed conflicts.
— The preferred framework to address threats is a harmonization of government and non-government partnership efforts. Further the FGDs highlighted the role of local governments in addressing human security threats and that more trust is placed on local government officials than national government officials.
Towards the development of a Philippine Human Security Index, the study enabled the identification of four factors that indicate the important dimensions of human security in the identified conflict-affected study areas. These are:
Factor 1 = perceived level of threat to security
Factor 2 = protection of rights
Factor 3 = economic and health well-being
Factor 4 = direct threats to life / access to food and having a safe environment
B. Deviations from Original Plan and Problems Encountered
As it can be gleaned from the actual activities reported above, there have been deviations from the original fieldwork plan submitted by the student. For one thing, the location of the communities actually visited and where the interviews were conducted was foremost to be changed. Second, the actual length of time in the communities was reduced. Also, the number of interviewees was limited from the original plan.
These changes were made by the student to adapt to the events that transpired at the onset of his fieldwork; to ensure personal physical security and safety; and to adjust his activities accordingly in consideration of financial resources and the actual amount which was received from the Mori Grant.
The situation in the ground in Mindanao has been acknowledged as a volatile one and the looming presence of the unresolved conflict gives rise to sudden violent clashes and military operations as have been provided in the background in the first section of this paper. While it was originally hoped by the student that the area will be generally more peaceful considering that part of the fieldwork period coincided with the time of the Muslim faiths’ observation of Ramadan, the scenario when the student returned to the Philippines was quite different than expected.
Prior to arriving in the Philippines for the fieldwork, the student linked up through email correspondence with the aforementioned organizations for assistance in facilitating the activities intended for the fieldwork round. As earlier stated, the student sought assistance for the community immersion and household interviews since it is virtually impossible to conduct the same in the area by one’s self given the pervading situation.
The areas visited were those wherein the facilitating organizations have active involvement and projects, hence the changes in the locations from the original plan. The student, once in Manila, thus waited for the advice from the organizations to proceed to the target areas, continued to correspond with informants via email and reconnected with those from central government offices in the government capital. During the same period, Philippine security forces announced through media that the entire Mindanao has been placed on heightened alert, following military operations against elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group (internationally-recognized terrorist Islamic group) which resulted to the neutralization of a number of the group’s officers. This red alert was raised reportedly to pre-empt any retaliatory attacks on government forces and the general public that the ASG may attempt. Precautionary security measures, together with the preparations for various activities held for the celebration of the International Peace Day (September 21) in Mindanao could have accounted for the delay in the organizations’ advice for the student to proceed in the area and the shortened community immersion/interview period.
III. CONCLUSION – Next Steps
With the foregoing report considered, the student views the Summer 2010 fieldwork round as a successful and productive exercise that has served its purpose towards a deeper appreciation and understanding of the study topic, the Mindanao conflict. The Mori Grant has been instrumental in the accomplishments of these activities, particularly in enabling the researcher to have sufficient funds to go to Mindanao communities and conduct the interviews.
Following these activities, the student shall set out for the following steps:
A. For the Fall-Winter term 2011
For the remainder of the present term, the student shall continue with the review of related literature and the transcription and analysis of the conducted interviews. The student also aims to finalize the crafting/statement of the research questions.
B. For the Spring 2011 Fieldwork Round
For the next round of fieldwork, the student has initially identified the following activities:
· Attempt to acquire updated figures/statistics, and the policy directions of the new administration towards resolving the conflict
· Conduct further interviews and/or correspondence to confirm/validate the findings from the previous fieldwork with:
APPENDIX – Selected Fieldwork Photos
Inclusive Peace in Muslim
of Conflict and Neglect,
· Shattered Lives, Beyond the 2008-2009 Mindanao Armed Conflict, Amnesty International, August 2009
· The State Of The Nation Address 2009, Technical Report. Office of the President, 2009
Lumads Left Out in the Quest for Peace in
Peace: The MOA and the
· The Long Road to Peace: Inside the GRP-MILF Peace Process. Salah Jubair, 2007
· Philippine Human Development Report, Human Development Network, 2005
The Moro Islamic
Challenge: Constitutional Rethinking for the
Mindanao: Cotabato and
Muslim Rebels and
Leaders: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism
Conflict: Muslims, Christians and the
The Moro Armed
Struggle in the
Muslims in the
Philippine Poverty Statistics.
Government Portal of the Republic of the
 the smallest unit of local government in the Philippines
 1st class P55,000,000 or more average annual incomes for the past three years. Accessed from http://www.nscb.gov.ph/activestats/psgc/articles/con_income.asp.