Politicking and the Philippine Peace Process

Issue & Policy Briefs April 27, 2015, No. 176

Three months after a deadly clash in Mamasapano, the Philippine peace process is in danger. The hard-won gains of negotiations over the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)—the implementing piece of legislation to the 2014 peace deal between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine Government—are threatening to unravel as candidates jockey for political advantage ahead of the 2016 presidential election. With the prospect of key provisions of the BBL for Muslim Mindanao being watered down and even scrapped, Manila is thereby strengthening the hand of spoilers such as the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which quit the peace process in 2008. Confidence in a political solution is ebbing with the prospect of continued hostilities and humanitarian consequences, warns Zachary Abuza.