Country Facts

  • NP works in Mindanao, the southernmost islands in the Philippines
  • Mindanao population: 25.5 million
  • People displaced by crisis: 211,997
  • NP Response

  • Started working in Mindanao: 2007
  • Civilians Protecting Civilians

    Unrest and violence have existed here for generations. The effects are felt everyday as people try to live, work, and raise their children. Recent years have seen the emergence of extremist groups reflecting ISIS ideologies. The most prominent was the five month siege of Marawi City led by ISIS-inspired local extremists and foreign terrorists. The siege displaced hundreds of thousands of residents, many of whom after more than a year now are still unable to return to their communities and still live in temporary shelters, evacuation camps, or with relatives.

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    The proliferation of loose firearms and the cultural norm to possess firearms in Mindanao has increased the insecurity in the region where long-running clan fueds locally known as “rido” exists for generations due to land conflict, political rivalry or violation of pride and dignity. The ensuing cycle of provocation and retaliation can last for generations and expand to different communities including political clans with private armies and members of armed rebel groups.

    You can read stories of our work in the Philippines on our blog here. 

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    What Caused the Current Crisis in the Country?

    Mindanao has a long history of internal conflicts centered around a number of issues: historical injustices, economic deprivation, poor governance, and a marginalized population. In addition, the Moro people and indigenous tribes called Lumad, who were once in the majority but are now minorities in the country, struggle for the right to self-determination.

    The Philippine government is negotiating settlements and peace agreements with Muslim rebel groups and the communists in the country. There are a large number of loose firearms in the region, which contributes to the ongoing violence.

    Clashes between government troops and extremist armed groups continue in other areas after the battle for Marawi City displacing and re-displacing thousands of people from their homes.

    What are the Main Challenges in the Country?

    The primary challenge is to protect civilians during frequent and often lengthy displacements. Mindanao has a long history of conflicts involving armed Moro groups, communists, clan militias, and criminal groups. Clan feuds are made worse by the proliferation of firearms among civilians. Military efforts to stop the conflicts have displaced civilians.

    How does NP Help in the Philippines?

    NP has built a broad base of trust and has helped prevent violence in the area. It is one of the key international nongovernment organizations engaged in the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

    NP is a member of the International Monitoring Team-Civilian Protection Component that monitors and reports civilian protection concerns in the regions covered by the peace talks. In addition, NP is the only international organization actively promoting and providing Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP), which keeps civilians and their property safe. It provides protective accompaniment for civilians and organizations in areas of conflict, including helping hostage survivors reunite with their families. NP monitors ceasefire agreements, and it verifies and reports compliance and noncompliance of agreements.

    NP creates safe spaces for peaceful dialogue between different stakeholders in the country, including local institutions, for community-based conflict prevention and conflict resolution. To sustain these initiatives, it trains local partners and other stakeholders in UCP methodologies for monitoring, unarmed peacekeeping and civilian protection. NP works to encourage nonviolent ways for communities to respond to conflict.

    What Still Needs to be Done?

    To broaden the appreciation and acceptance of Unarmed Civilian Protection (UCP) in the country, NP is working to mainstream and build support at the local, regional, and national level.

    While doing this, NP needs to continue to provide training to communities. Ongoing support ensures communities will be able to continue civilian protection and promote the practice to neighbors.

    COVID-19 Impact

    As with so many countries around the world, the Philippines is on a lockdown in order to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Yet, thanks to your support of our relationship-building approach to peace, our teams are still in constant communication with villages across the island of conflict-affected Mindanao. The trust we have built over the past 13 years since this program started is key to our work in protecting civilians during COVID-19.   

    You have made it possible for our teams to act as a liaison between all groups involved in and affected by the fighting. This impact on cooperation and partnership is incredibly important to sustainable peace, whether that takes the form of clans working through conflict or a demonstrated commitment from several community members to peace. For years, we have been a key member of the partnership for peace in the Philippines. Now, using this same partnership that was set up for peace, we arerapidly responding to COVID-19.

    Your impact is evident: rather than not knowing who to turn to when faced with threats of violence, and now the virus, communities know they can reach out to Nonviolent Peaceforce for support and open communication. Recently in one village, community members were staying home to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the government food rations had not yet arrived. The community members were not able to leave, but they were getting desperate for food. They trusted and contacted Nonviolent Peaceforce, and our teams were able to bring their message to the government, so they could bring food to the village safely. Communication is key to making sure people can access basic resources, especially during a crisis. 

    Thank you for standing with civilians in the Philippines, especially now.

    - “Nonviolent Peaceforce really helped us a lot in our problems with the IDPs (internally displaced persons) in our area. Once we report our concerns to them, they will immediately respond.” – Donna Dalandas
    Our Impact
    Through NP's work in the Philippines in 2019:

    civilians were protected through patrols.


    people in the Philippines learned how to protect themselves and others nonviolently.


    NP was the only international organization invited to operate within the rescue zone for the survivors of the Marawi Crisis. 

    Our Team in the Philippines

    Established: 2007

    Offices: Mindanao

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