Implementing Peace and Development in the Bangsamoro: Potentials and Constraints of Socio-Economic Programs for Conflict-Affected Areas in Southern Philippines (1913-2015)

Even as an early-career institution-less wannabe scholar and development worker, I’ve always tried to walk the fine line between theory and practice, research and ground operations. I’ve given up on getting my shit proper journal peer-reviewed so in case anyone has any interest in reading a very roughly written attempt at a history of government development programs for ARMM from 1913-2016, focusing particularly on the mainland (Maguindanao, with spillovers in Ranao)–here you go.

Download a pdf here: Fernandez – P&D in the Bangsamoro 2017-06-20

Main point being to look at potentials and constraints, especially (!) on the sins committed. A key limitation: it looks purely on government policies and interventions, and not on international donor interventions. This is partly true due to data constraints, but also because local decisions and choices will largely determine if any true transformation can arise. And I say this as someone who has served in government but whose bills have been paid for the past few years by the multilaterals.

This comes from a chapter of my 2015 MA thesis over at the UP School of Urban and Regional Planning, as a first attempt to try to shape it into a readable article. Written in 2013 and 2014, defended in mid-2015 before I went off to Cambridge. Sections of it have obviously been used for my professional work over the years. I can see all the flaws and gaps but can’t be damned to edit just now. Maybe someday I’ll have time to revise and update. Standard academic practice says that I shouldn’t release in case of plagiarism. Well fuck it, if I put this out there maybe these ideas can get used and heard. In the meantime, enjoy your bathroom reading.



Peace agreements signed between the Philippine Government and various armed groups in 1976, 1996 and 2014 provide for intensified socio-economic reconstruction in the area, which has been plagued by identity- and resource-based conflict for more than five decades. However, successive administrations have largely treated development as secondary to political and security-sector goals. A historical review shows that government planning policy in Mindanao has tended to exacerbate conflict, where the dominant paradigms are extraction, co-optation, and counter-insurgency rather than a comprehensive human security-based approach. While there is a nascent practice of ‘conflict-sensitive and peace-promoting’ (CSPP) planning, particularly espoused by international actors, it tends to be limited by political timelines, and has yet to be mainstreamed into the Philippine planning system.

The study identifies key technical gaps in current CSPP practice: it must be more spatial, integrative, ecological, cultural, and localized. Specifically, the study highlights the recognition of culture and identity as well as geography and place as key components of context analysis for identity- and resource-driven subnational conflicts.

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