Soldiers, Rebels, and Overlords
This chapter seeks to explain the process whereby the Armed Forces of the Philippines engages in peace operations, while fighting various guerrilla forces and insurgent groups in conflict-stricken communities in the southern Philippines. It focuses on the major initiatives of the Philippine military to contribute in the attainment of peace that apparently eludes Mindanao for more than four decades. This chapter tackles the relationship of the military with major power holders and brokers in the conflict zone, particularly the warlords and rebel commanders as well as the vulnerable group, the people at the grassroots. It also devotes attention to the collaborative efforts of the military with other peace-building organizations in Mindanao. This study employs first-hand information that is gathered through combination of different research strategies such as interviews with experts from the Philippine military, universities, and civil society organizations, and ethnographic field observation in conflict-ridden communities. This chapter concludes that the Philippine military is no longer relying on its traditionally hard and rigid approach to counter insurgency and terrorism in Mindanao. It is employing different soft approaches through its engagement in peace-building not only to curtail separatism and radicalism but also to lessen the communal divide, and hence promote reconciliation between and among the people of Mindanao (14 pages).
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