ICPVTR Webinar Series on Terrorism Landscape in Southeast Asia by Dr. Rommel C. Banlaoi and Prof. Dato Yusuf Roque Santos Morales
Four Years After Marawi: Threat and Societal Response in the Philippines
About the Series
The generally subdued security climate in 2020 in Southeast Asia (SEA) was breached by the suicide attack in Makassar, Indonesia on 28 Mar 2021. Until then, restrictive COVID-19 measures put in place by governments had seemingly arrested the mobility and planning abilities of jihadist groups in the region. Some observers had cautioned though that this security quietude was temporary and could represent a time for jihadists to lie low, regroup and review their ideological narratives, funding streams and operational plans before they spring back into action. In light of the latest attack, what lies ahead for the SEA terrorism landscape which had been with past attacks by local affiliates of the Al Qaeda and the Islamic State? In order to understand how the terrorism threat may unfold in the foreseeable future, ICPVTR is holding a series of webinars during the year to explore different aspects of the evolving threat picture in SEA. The series examines the dynamics of the region’s terrorism landscape, with in-depth discussions on the complexities and challenges in managing the return of foreign terrorist fighters, terrorism financing, latest developments in conflict areas which attract jihadists like Marawi, and the best practices and obstacles in countering online radicalisation.
In the third webinar of the series, Dr. Rommel C. Banlaoi will provide insights on threats in the Philippines that have quickly evolved four years after the 2017 Marawi siege. Apart from guerrilla attacks, roadside bombings, ambuscades, harassments, and assassinations, terrorist groups in the Philippines, particularly those associated with the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), have elevated their use of violence through suicide attacks. To date, the Philippines has seen five major suicide terrorist attacks involving local operatives and foreign nationals as well as men and women. To counter the terrorist threat, the government is implementing the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL) that also supports the National Action Plan to Prevent and Counter Violent Extremism (NAP/PCVE) through a whole-of-government approach. However, there is a need to strengthen a whole-of-society approach that will encourage the strong participation of the communities and private sector in countering terrorism in the Philippines.
Prof. Yusuf Morales will specifically address challenges to peace and security in the Philippines. Considering that the Philippines is in the top ten countries in the Global Terrorism Index 2020 published by the Institute for Economics & Peace, it is imperative that proactive policies in peacebuilding be developed. In order to address this issue, the Philippine government has implemented a series of policies to adopt a whole-of-nation approach to address the challenges to peace and security. The art of this is the development of narratives that would apply the whole-of-nation approach to grassroots communities.
Dr. Rommel C. Banlaoi is the Chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research (PIPVTR) while serving as the President of the Philippine Society for Intelligence and Security Studies (PSISS) and Convenor of the Network for the Prevention of Violent Extremism in the Philippines (NPVEP). He served as Chairman of the Council for Asian Terrorism Research (CATR) and a Non-Resident Fellow of the Center for Global Counterterrorism Cooperation (CGCC). Dr. Banlaoi has three decades of academic experience in several Philippines’ universities. He is a Professorial Lecturer at the Department of International Studies, Miriam College, the Philippines. He took his PhD (ABD) at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) where he finished his BA and MA in Political Science. He obtained his PhD in International Relations at Jinan University, Guangzhou, China where he sits on the advisory board of its Center for Philippine Studies. He is the President of the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies (PACS) and member of the management board of the World Association for Chinese Studies (WACS). Dr. Banlaoi is the author of several books, journal articles and book chapters on terrorism issues in the Philippines, particularly on the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Prof. Dato Yusuf Roque Santos Morales is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Comparative and Advanced Studies Philippines (ICAS-Phils). He is also a consultant with the Ateneo de Zamboanga University; lecturer at the Islamic Studies, Sociology and Strategic Research, and a member of the Board of Advisers of Al-Qalam Institute for Muslim Identities in Southeast Asia at the Ateneo De Davao University. He was also a contributor of Mindanews, one of the leading news portals in Mindanao. Recognised as one of the leading subject matter experts on radicalisation and Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE) in the Philippines, he facilitated the formulation of the Philippines’ National Action Plan for PCVE (NAP-PCVE) and the National Consolidating Workshop for the National Task Force on Ending Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC). He also convened the Consortium of Peacebuilders, a network of religious leaders, public intellectuals, NGOs, CSOs, and People’s Organisations that supported the Philippine government’s PCVE drive. Today, the Consortium of Peacebuilders is a nationwide initiative. Prior to his appointment as a commissioner of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF), Yusuf Morales worked with defense and law enforcement officers to understand radicalisation and extremism through social dynamics and peacebuilding. His research interests are peacebuilding, cultural studies, developmental security studies, governance and Islamic studies. One of his recent publications is titled “Countering Violent Islamist Extremism in Muslim Mindanao the 4M Way: The Role of Alternative Narratives” (co-authored with Kumar Ramakrishna and Sheryl Renomeron-Morales), Studies in Conflict and Terrorism (2021).