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Romeo Dax B.

Calamaya
Samaritans Purse Philippines
National Security Manager

February 15, 2016


TO:

Country Director Philippines


Area Coordinator Tacloban City
Area Coordinator Cotabato City

FROM:

National Security Manager

SUBJECT:

SITUATION REPORT RE ARMED CONFLICT BETWEEN AFP AND


LAWLESS ELEMENTS AT MAGUINDANAO
FEBRUARY 12, 2016

1.) SUMMARY: Series of Connected Incidents in Maguindanao


The Congress failed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a key component of the
peace deal signed by the Aquino government with the separatist movement Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) which is aimed at creating a new autonomous region in Mindanao, after
it adjourned last Wednesday, February 3, 2016, the final session day before Congress adjourns for
the election campaign. President Benigno Aquino had lobbied hard for the passage of the bill, but
was unable to muster enough support in the House even to secure a vote. Failure to pass the bill
means it cannot be passed under Mr. Aquino, whose six-year term ends in June, with no certainty
over whether his successor will even pursue a peace deal. At present, there have been unverified
and unconfirmed rumors that warlords in the area are beginning to build-up their private armies in
preparation for a renewed conflict. On the other hand, the Armed Forces of the Philippines have
deployed One Hundred Fourteen (114) M113A2 Armored Personnel Carrier to Liguasan Marsh,
as a show of force and to deter any major atrocities.
As per reports of government security agencies, on February 9, 2016, a joint operation of
military and police consisting of Polices Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG),
Armys 5th Special Forces Battalion, the 601st Brigade and intelligence units of 6th Infantry
Division arrested a senior official of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
The arrested vice chairman for internal affairs of the BIFF, Hassan Indal, also known as Abu
Azam, was cornered at his hideout in Barangay Kalanganan west of Cotabato City.
On February 10, 2016 at around 2200H, a firefight between units of the 6 th Infantry
Division (6ID), Philippine Army (PA), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and lawless
elements alleged to be members of the rogue Muslim separatist movement Bangsamoro Islamic
Freedom Fighters (BIFF) transpired in Sitio Badak, Brgy, Nadia, Datu Saudi Ampatuan,
Maguindanao. As a result of said fire fight between AFP combatants and the lawless elements of
BIFF, around 3,468 families or 17,340 individuals have been displaced in at least two (2)
municipalities.
Further, at around 2000H of February 10, 2016, bomb experts were able to deactivate an
improvised bomb allegedly planted by the Bangsamoro Islamic Liberation Front (BIFF) at the
back of the Cotabato Police Station 1, a day after a ranking leader of the BIFF were captured.
Bomb experts said the component of the improvised explosive device was incomplete and has no

capacity to explode. The blast the city residents heard was a disruption process used by bomb
disposal unit.
2.) DISCUSSION: Impact to Security Environment
The Bangsamoro Basic Law is viewed by many as a catalyst for peace in Muslim
Mindanao, and the failure by the Congress to pass the said law is expected by many to spark and
renew conflict in the area. Its non-passage may result to following implications
1.)
Congress fails to pass the BBL and a fall-out among the rebels will follow:
Although the MILF leadership has committed to stay the course of peace and continue pushing
for the passage of the BBL in the next administration, it is worth considering a scenario where
frustrated members would defect to radical groups, hence there might be an increase in extremism
in the area which significantly change the security environment of Mindanao.
2.)
Non-passage of the BBL will result to a renewed conflict the same with the
non-passage of the 2008-2009 Memorandum of Agreement of Ancestral Domain: Since the
BBL has been viewed as a catalyst for peace in Mindanao and for this reason has also resulted to
the disarmament process of the MILF, its non-passage may also serve as a catalyst for renewed
conflict.
3.)
Rebels hold-on to the peace process, honor the Comprehensive Agreement
on Bangsamoro (CAB) and pass the BBL to the next administration: There is still a good
chance that the Moro Islamic Liberation front will respect the CAB and pass the passage of the
BBL to the next administration.
Significantly, with the capture of a senior and high ranking official of the Bangsamoro
Islamic Liberation Front (BIFF), this may lead to an armed conflict between the said group and
the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AF), wherein BIFF will conduct hostilities against
government security forces in retaliation to the capture of their ranking official and may also
conduct highly radicalized terroristic activities against urban cities, in an effort to destabilize the
trust of populace in the capability of the government to protect them.
3.) RECOMMENDATIONS: Operational Security
Strict implementation of security protocols in the field. Security protocols for field travels
to Cotabato must be implemented strictly. Field travels outside urban centers must be avoided and
if ever a need arises, prior coordination to respective government, UN agencies and other
stakeholders must be secured. Regular check-in procedures must be conducted in order to inform
Base of staff whereabouts. Avoid going to areas affected by the armed conflict. Avoid going to
public places, or riding the public transport. Avoid traveling outside urban centers. Avoid going
near police or military installations, for these are targets for terroristic activities.

***NOTHING TO FOLLOW***