Philippines Islamist Insurgency Report – July 2018

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PSA’s Forward-Looking Assessment: Over the short term, Muslim insurgency and terrorism activity will continue to be diminished due to the degradation of militant networks in the aftermath of the Marawi siege. In the long term however, continued radicalization, lack of economic development, and existing regional networks indicate that the threat will be persistent and will likely resurface at an elevated level. The likely passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), while a potential flash point for violence in the short term, is a positive indicator for the long-term threat of insurgency and terrorism in Muslim Mindanao.

In terms of geography, most activity is limited to the ARMM and its immediate outskirts in Mindanao. However, there is a small-scale bombing threat for many urban centers in the country, particularly urban centers in Mindanao, and to a lesser extent, Metropolitan Manila.

The insurgency will be characterized by the following tactics and techniques: Targeting Civilians and Corporations:

  • Kidnapping (largely localized to the ARMM)
  • Attacks against local communities – particularly Christian and Indigenous Group communities – which involves small arms fire, raids and arson attacks
  • Bombings, more commonly, grenade attacks in residential areas

Targeting Security Forces and the MILF:

  • Harassment with small arms fire
  • Roadside IED attacks
  • Ambush attacks
  • Assassinations

Additionally, there will be armed encounters that result from government operations targeting insurgents. Since the end of Marawi siege, the high end of Muslim insurgent and terrorist activity has consisted of the Basilan car bomb attack on July 31.