Forced to flee: How many have been displaced due to conflict?
MANILA, Philippines – Apart from natural disasters and hazards, frequent conflicts in the Philippines, particularly in Mindanao, force residents to seek refuge in evacuation centers.
Though the Philippine population in 2016 hit more than 102 million, the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) reported 348,370 persons of concern in the Philippines by the end of 2016. More than 87,000 of these are internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled home because of armed clashes, internal wars, and other forms of violence.
According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), “displacement caused by conflict tends to affect the same deprived communities repeatedly, gradually undermining their resilience and pushing them further into poverty."
Below are several conflicts that triggered mass displacement in the past 7 years.
Armed conflict in Cotabato, October 2010
- Affected 6 barangays, affecting
5,726 persons or 1,042 families
Armed conflict in Cotabato, February 2012
105 families were affected when the groups of two Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) commanders clashed in North Cotabato over a long-running land dispute
Armed conflict in Butuan City, March 2013
An encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People's Army (NPA) in Barangay Anticala forced 750 persons or 150 families to flee
Zamboanga siege, September 2013
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) destroyed 10,000 homes, and at least 327,000 people displaced
63,000 people were unable to return to their homes because parts of the city were declared “no return areas”
As of December 2014, 209 IDPs were reported to have died due to pneumonia and acute gastroenteritis. Half of them were children under 5 years old.
Military offensive vs BIFF, March 2015
- At least 8,149 families or 40,745 individuals were displaced following the military's all-our war against rebel group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).
Clash between BIFF and MILF, March 2015
- At least 6,383 familes or 34,925 individuals were displaced after clashes erupted between members of the BIFF and the MILF in Barangay Kalbugan in Pagalungan town, North Cotabato, reportedly due to "contending controls over the areas."
Butig clashes, March 2016
At least 7,800 people were displaced as government troops clashed with the Maute terror group.
Military operations vs Abu Sayyaf, January 2016-February 2017
More than 68,400 displaced in Sulu and Basilan.
Most of the IDPs returned home by December 2016.
Bohol clashes, April 2017
Around 3,000 people were displaced when government troops clashed with the Abu Sayyaf.
Marawi siege, 23 May 2017-present
More than 400,000 people have been displaced in the ongoing conflict.
- 70,380 have been housed in 79 government evacuation centers.
The IDMC estimates that over 4 million people have been displaced in Mindanao since 2000, due to armed conflict, crime, and clan violence. – Gari Acolola/Rappler.com
Gari Acolola is a Rappler intern.