By Wilnard Bacelonia

ILIGAN CITY, Oct 4 (PIA-ICCC) — The International Alert launched its 2018 report in Taguig city, Tuesday highlighting Marawi siege and other extremist violence in the present Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and the effectiveness of government’s campaign against drugs and loose firearms in the region.

Among the five provinces of ARMM, Lanao del Sur, Marawi city’s province, pushed first in ranking for most numbers of violent conflicts recorded from third place since the year 2015.

For the first time, Maguindanao slid to second place, Sulu on third, Basilan dropped on fourth place and Tawi-Tawi ranking last.

The International Alert report entitled ‘Conflict Alert 2018: War and Identity’ finds the origin of violent conflicts on clan feuds, not inter- or intra-religious polarization.

“Evidence shows that membership in extremist groups was prompted by pre-existing clan feuds,” said Nikki dela Rosa, International Alert country manager for the Philippines.

The report also noted a shift from firearms usage to improvised explosive device (IED) in violence, an increase in multiple causes of conflict, and a shift from individual to group violence, among others.

In his remarks, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza highlighted the importance of determining the factors that affect conflict and violence.

“I am glad that there is an effort to find out what are the real triggers of conflict. Many are analyzing it, but we cannot come up with solutions if we don’t know the root cause,” said Dureza.

The report also emphasized the difference made by President Rodrigo Duterte’s Martial law declaration on Mindanao discouraging armed groups on carrying firearms publicly.

“It disabled the ability of armed groups to take out their weapons. The biggest effect we saw of martial law is control of the weapons,” said Francisco Lara Jr, senior peace and conflict adviser in Asia for International Alert Philippines.

Conflict Alert is International Alert’s subnational conflict monitoring system that tracks the incidence, causes, and human costs of violent conflict in the Philippines. It is supported by the Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peacebuilding Transitions, the World Bank, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)