On August 10, 2008, the government’s military launched an offensive against a group of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters in the Prov ince of North Cotabato after the latter occupied a number of villages in the province and defied the former’s order to vacate the areas. The MILF said the action of this group manifested their frustrations over government’s failure to sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on Ancestral Domain which was scheduled to be signed on August 5, 2008 in Malaysia. The territory issue has been the main bo ttleneck that has dragged the peace talk between the government and the MILF.
Soon the conflict grew and escalated to six other provinces (Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Saranggani, and Basilan). In its September 14, 2008 update, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) reported that at least 59,274 families or 292,827 persons are listed as Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and are being provided with humanitarian assistance. Evacuation centers numbering more than a hundred have been established. It also reported that 71 people have been killed and 99 injured. Reports from other sources show higher numbers of people affected by the conflict. Meanwhile, many people in affected villages have stopped working on their farms and engaging in other economic activities for fear of getting caught by cross-fires. Children have temporarily stopped going to schools and there is uncertainty as to when classes would resume. Damages to farmlands, agricultural facilities, and other physical infrastructures have been reported although there are no figures as of writing. Both government and non-government organizations have directed their services and resources for relief and rehabilitation.
|Source Institution||World Bank|
|Place of Publication||Manila|
|Original Publication Date||November 1, 2008|