Taguig City, October 3, 2018 — International Alert Philippines, one of the longstanding partners of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), is taking steps to identify and address the underlying roots of conflict in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

During the presentation of its 2017 report titled “War and Identity” on Tuesday at Bonifacio Global City, the group said shadow economies, particularly activities attributed to trade and use of illicit weapons and drugs, is the top reason for conflict with a total of 1,549 related reports in 2017.

Coming in second are identity issues with 1,224 related reports, while third are common crimes with 719 related reports.

Other causes were political, resources, and governance issues.

International Alert used Conflict Alert as its monitoring mechanism in tracking the incidence, causes, and human costs of violent conflict in the Philippines.

In his remarks at the presentation, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus G. Dureza underscored the importance of determining the factors that affect conflict and violence.

“I am glad that there is an effort to find out what are the real triggers of conflict. Many are analyzing it, but we cannot come up with solutions if we don’t know the root cause,” he said.

Dureza also lauded International Alert, saying its report could be of help in “improving ways on how to deal with peace efforts.”

OPAPP recently launched its Social Healing and Peacebuilding Program (SHAPE) to address the root causes of conflict in the vulnerable areas of Mindanao, particularly in Marawi City.

SHAPE promotes peacebuilding and reconciliation among the victims of conflict while addressing issues and concerns that might emerge following last year’s Marawi siege.

The program includes mainstreaming of conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting approaches in local development planning, welfare assistance to vulnerable entities, and college educational assistance project.

Also during International Alert’s presentation, World Bank Country Director Mara Warwick said the challenge of addressing the roots of conflict in Mindanao is among the top priorities of WB.

“We believe in its (Philippine Government) principle to ending the extreme poverty and achieving shared prosperity. Achieving these goals means continually shuffling our understanding of fragility and conflict in Mindanao,” Warwick said.

Clare Duffield, Counsellor for Political and Public Trade, extended the Australian Government’s commitment to support the Duterte administration on its work for peace.

“The challenge of bringing peace and development to Mindanao continues to grow but with reports such as this we can head in the right direction,” Duffield said. ###