The conflict between the government of the Philippines and the Moro separatists in the southern Philippines has become one of the longest running, and most intractable, internal conflicts in Southeast Asia. This is so despite attempts by successive Philippine governments to negotiate some form of autonomy arrangements with the separatists. This paper briefly reviews the Philippines experiments with Muslim autonomy and addresses the question: why have the autonomy negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moros proved so intractable? It suggests that the answers lie primarily in three features of the Philippines situation: first, longstanding historical circumstances which have left a legacy of antipathy and distrust between important elements of the Muslim and Christian Filipino communities; secondly, a pattern of internal migration, encouraged by national governments throughout the twentieth century, which has changed the ethnic demography of Mindanao and Sulu, locking both sides into a position from which it has been difficult to progress to a settlement; and thirdly, the factionalization of Philippine Muslim society, which has made negotiation difficult.
|Title of host publication||Autonomy and Armed Separatism in South and Southeast Asia|
|Editors||Michelle Ann Miller|
|Place of Publication||Singapore|
|Publisher||Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|