The history of Mindanao is complex. Prior to the sixteenth century, most areas of the island were occupied by Muslim people. Christianity became an influential force when the Philippines became a Spanish, and later American, colony. This religious influence continued after independence as Chris- tians from other islands streamed into the area, often driving out Muslim residents, taking their land and even at times their lives. Robbed of their livelihood and safety, residents chose to take up arms against the government in a fight for independence. Since the first shots were fired in the 1970s, it is believed the conflict has claimed hundreds of thousands of victims.
In 1996, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), one of several armed groups involved in the struggle, signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government, assuming leadership of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. But MILF, seeking the right to self-determination as an Islamic independent body, broke with the MNLF and continued the struggle.
|Source Institution||Japan International Cooperation Agency|
|Place of Publication||Manila|
|Original Publication Date||January 1, 2015|