In an article from Sunstar.com.ph, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte hinted of another conflict which may break out in Mindanao particularly in Cotabato during his visit at the recently-concluded Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) in Cagayan de Oro City.
The President said that the impending conflict may result from overlapping claims of lands and properties that are historically rooted among the residents.
He also said that corruption will play a role in the development of the dispute citing a few government agencies that are allegedly giving out land titles. Such agencies he mentioned are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the Land Registration Authority (LRA).
While land disputes are considered to be at the bottom of the issue, all contributing factors are raised to terrorist-linked activities which result from the long years of disagreement with the government and the abuses done by the military to the locals.
This was supported by a report of the Swiss academic and research institution Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) titled “IS-related groups taking control of territories in Central Mindanao” that tells about a crisis analysis from September 2017 to February 2018.
ACAP has made a prediction about the trend of terrorism in the country within the next six months:
“The combination of armed groups uniting under the IS flag, their connection to local communities, and their links with former insurgencies have strengthened these armed groups’ capacity to hold territories in central Mindanao. Violence will likely increase over the next six months in central Mindanao and IS-affiliated groups will seize territories as a result. Attacks will be carried out simultaneously by IS-affiliated groups in order to divert AFP’s response, weakening their ability to counter IS’ long-term control of territories,” the report said. “Whatever the losses are for IS-affiliated groups involved in the Marawi crisis, the length of this battle will be their first major comprehensive success and will likely trigger recruitment and increase their capacity to carry out new large attacks and to hold territories.”