The Islamic State (IS) has aroused much media attention in the Philippines, with concerns raised over pledges of allegiance (bay’at) made by leaders of two groups of Muslim militants. However, links remain normative rather than operational, given the dissonance between IS ideology and Mindanao rebels.
Recent Philippine media reports has given the erroneous impression that the Islamic State (IS) had arrived in force. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte from Davao City “confirmed” the recruitment of youths in the city; while former Philippine President Fidel V Ramos estimated 100 Filipinos are undergoing training with IS in Syria.
Notwithstanding their subsequent retractions and admissions that information was derived from “raw intelligence” the reports had stirred widespread discussion in forums and the media. Such discussions often feature gross oversimplifications of conflict in the Southern Philippines. National media had caricatured the belligerents in Mindanao, without looking into the greater context that fuels the persistence of conflicts. Religion and ideology act as discourses for justification rather than acting as the motivation in their use of violence. The pre-eminence of material factors instead of ideational factors in explaining conflict in the Southern Philippines has long been recognised in studies by international organisations.
… Joseph Franco is an Associate Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Security (CENS), a constituent unit of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
Last updated on 15/09/2014