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The Situation of Muslims in the Philippines & YOUNG MUSLIM FILIPINOS PEACEBUILDING EFFORTS. Shahana E. Abdulwahid Graduate Student, Institute of Islamic Studies Student Regent, University of the Philippines. Outline of Discussion.

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The Situation of Muslims in the Philippines



Shahana E. Abdulwahid

Graduate Student, Institute of Islamic Studies

Student Regent, University of the Philippines


Outline of Discussion

  • Overview of the Muslim Filipino History , Struggle , and challenges
  • Current problems of the Muslim Filipino Youth
  • Emergence of Filipino Muslim Youth Movement and Empowerment
  • Peacebuidling efforts of the Filipino Muslim Youth
  • Our Challenges Ahead

Muslims in the Philippines

  • Sama
  • Yakan
  • Sangil
  • Palawani
  • Molbog
  • Kolibugan
  • Jama Mapun
  • Iranun
  • Ka’agan
  • Badjao
  • Balik Islam Reverts to Islam
  • Maranao - Lanao del Sur
  • Maguindanao - Maguindanao Province and Cotabat
  • Tausug – Sulu

Mindanao Population

2005 Mda Population: 20.23 M 24.1 % of Phil. population estimated at 84.2 million

Female: 50.01%

Davao Region: largest population with 4.09 million

CARAGA: Region with lowest population, 2.44 million people

Source: National Statistics Office




Region 10


Region 9




Region 12

*Created into a region under RA No. 7901, dated

23 Feb. 1995, and taken from Regions 10 and 11.


Understanding Muslims’ Filipinos History

  • The coming of Islam to the Philippines was part of the Islamization process of the Malay world in Southeast Asia through the movement of Sufi preacher, traders and scholars.
  • Philippines was under the Spanish colonial rule for more than three hundred years, but Moroland remained unconquered.
  • American occupied the Philippines by virtue of the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Philipppines gained its independence in 1946

Earlier in 1902, The United States Congress passed the so called Philippine Bill – this bill recognized the distinction between the Moros, Pagans and Christian Filipinos and the consequent necessity of providing different forms of government for the different groups of people.

  • Thus, on June 1, 1903, the Moro Province was created where a head tax of 2 pesos was imposed for each person. This created resentment and dissatisfaction among the Tausugs. The massacres of Bud Daho and Bud Badsak were among the worst battles that the Tausugs fought against the American in defiance to the imposition of Taxes in the Moroland. Later, The Bates Treaty was abrogated.
  • July 4, 1946: Proclamation of Philippine Independence formally created the Philippine Republic. Moroland were incorporated against their wishes.
turning points starting from the american period to the commonwealth period
Turning Points: Starting from the American Period to the Commonwealth Period

Land Initiatives and Controversies

Land registration Act No 496 –

Public Land Act No. 718

Public Act 926 enacted in October 1903

Cadastral Act of 1907

Acts 2254 and 2280 of 1913

Act 2254

The Moros who were mostly uneducated and did not want to recognize any new laws failed to register their lands

Legislative Act. No. 4197 of February 12, 1935 (Qurino Colonization) - Deployment of settlers to Moroland legitimized the taking Morolands

Commonwealth Act No. 141 Sec. 84 provides “ all Moro landholdings as public lands”

By a simple piece of legislation, the Moros became landless and were deprived of their ancestral land holdings.

the mnlf and milf

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was organized under the leadership of Nur Misuari on November 14, 1972.

In 1977, Hashim Salamat broke away from the MNLF and organized the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front)

the peace talk initiatives
The Peace Talk Initiatives

President Ferdinand E. Marcos (1965-1986)

The regime’s initial response to the MNLF was military

1975 marked the beginning of the MNLF-GRP peace talks that led to the signing of Tripoli Agreement in 1976 (unimplemented)

Signing into law PD 1083 otherwise known as the Muslim Personal Laws in the Philippines in


Creation of the OMA and Amanah Bank

President Corazon C. Aquino (1986 – 1992)

Jeddah Accord 1987

RA 6734 Organic Act for ARMM, August 1, 1989

President Fidel V. Ramos ( 1992-1998)

1995 Interim Agreement – third round of formal peace talks between the GRP and the MNLF with the participation of the Ministerial Committee of Six and the Secretary General of the OIC. ( held in Jakarta, Indonesia on December 1)

1996 Final Peace Agreement

Establishment of SZOPAD (Special Zone for Peace and Development) and SPCPD (Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development)

Integration Program (Former MNLF integrated to the AFP)

President Joseph E. Estrada (1998-2001)

All out war against the MILF in 2000

Suspension of Peace Process

Declaration of Jihad by MILF chairman against the Philippine Government

Fall of 47 major and satellite MILF camps i.e. Camp Abubakar

present government initiatives
Present Government Initiatives

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Ten point agenda program

Full Implementation of RA 9054 in Support to the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement

DepED Order No. 51, s. 2004. ARMM had adopted the national standard curriculum by virtue of ARMM RG Executive Order No. 13-A, s. 2004. 

Resumption of the MILF peace talks

Declared a unilateral cease-fire and initiated exploratory talks with the MILF and responded favorably to the three conditions:

that the talks be mediated by the OIC or by an OIC member country

that the parties comply with the terms of past agreements;

and that the talks be held in a foreign venue. (Malaysia took an active role as third-party facilitator in the exploratory phases held in Kuala Lumpur)

the current situation
The Current Situation

The region of Mindanao , particularly Muslim and the Indigenous Peoples (Ips) dominated – i.e. the ARMM , Caraga, Regions 9 and 12 – continue to experience economic, social and political constraints that severely limit their full participation in the development process.


Youth Issues

  • Poor social services rendered
  • Youth concerns in war-torn areas
  • Low Educational Attainment
  • Employement due to discrimination

Formations of Some Youth Organizations

  • Young Moro Professionals Network. Inc.
  • Association of Muslim Advocates
  • Muslim Students Associations
  • Moro Christian Peoples Alliance
  • Muslim Youth Leaders Assembly
  • SILSILAH Dialogue Movement (The Youth Program)
  • Peace Education Center Inc.
  • Grassroots Peace Resource Center

General Objectives

  • To address pressing issues of discrimination, violence, illiteracy
  • To propose solutions to problems confronting the Moro Youth
  • To provide services to the youth (out of school youth
  • To be actively involved in political, religious, social issues of the Moros

Inititatives and Youth-initiated Projects

  • Religious
    • Dawah Sessions
    • Interfaith Dialogues
  • Livelihood Programs
  • Civic-oriented
  • Policy Making Participation
  • Youth Empowerment
masjid clean up
Masjid Clean up

Youth organizations gather during summer and breaks to conduct cleanups and hold consultations in Muslim areas

medical missions
Medical Missions

Muslim medical students hold regular medical missions in non-Muslim communities.

livelihood seminars for muslim women
Livelihood Seminars for Muslim Women

Women have special concerns in the community. The theme of the seminars usually focus on the role of women in community building.

peace assemblies and parliament
Peace Assemblies and Parliament

Convening youth organizations to come up with resolutions pertaining Muslim-Christian-Indigenous concerns and issues

legislative initiatives
Legislative Initiatives

Loobying to public officials re issues and concerns of the Muslims in the Philippines. Muslim youth organizations have taken active participation in this endevour.

international ramadan fair
International Ramadan Fair

This annual affair showcases rich culture of Muslims in the Philippines

youth initaited interfaith dialogue
Youth Initaited Interfaith Dialogue

Youth organizations hold regular interfaith meetings to discuss pertinent and current issues

youth empowerment initiatives
Youth Empowerment Initiatives

Roundtable discussions, leadership and peacebuilding seminars regularly conducted for Muslim youth

challenges confronting the moros
Challenges confronting the Moros



High Mortality Rate due to conflict

Low life span compared to counterparts in other parts of the country

Technological, Economic, Social, Political Concerns

Poor social, health services delivered


Challenges Encountered

  • Consistency of project implementation
  • Organizational structure and support
  • Relevance of Peacebuilding efforts
  • Mobilization and participation of Muslim Filipinos
  • Availability of resources

Challenges Ahead

  • Sustainable development
  • Resolving conflict through non-violence means
  • Continung engagement in dialogues
  • Promoting peace in the community