Armed Conflict in Central Mindanao
Geneva, 13 August 2012
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
Just before midnight on August 5, members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) launched synchronised attacks against military detachments in the towns of Datu Unsay, Shariff Aguak, Datu Piang, Datu Saudi Ampatuan and Ampatuan in the province of Maguindano. The attacks left “one civilian and two Moro fighters dead, four militiamen wounded and thousands of civilians fleeing,” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 6, 2012). BIFF also attacked military installations and militia base in three villages in the province of North Cotabato.
According to a report dated August 7 from the Mindanao Humanitarian Team, power was cut allegedly by BIFF forces in the 11 municipalities of Maguindanao and North Cotabato. A total of 22 houses were reportedly burned down in the municipalities of Datu Unsay and Ampatuan. Core shelter projects of the Department of Social Welfare and Development Office and a few offices were also torched. Continuing attacks and fighting between Armed Forces of The Philippines (AFP) and BIFF forces have caused massive displacement and pre-emptive evacuations. As of 10 August 915 villages from seven municipalities of Maguindanao are affected. At least 5540 families (27,862 people) have been displaced; 2020 families (10,100 people are with host families and 3520 families (17,762 people) are living in evacuation centres.
2. Why is an ACT response needed
Information from the Department of Social Welfare and Development reveals the number of affected families is rapidly increasing due to the escalating and spreading armed conflict. The local government units’ response is predicted to be inadequate, considering the large scale of the impact. The pre-emptive evacuation caused congestion in evacuation centres and camp management structures have not been established to date. Concentration and focus of humanitarian response is primarily in the Luzon areas affected by massive flooding. ACT member Lutheran World Relief (LWR) will focus its response in Central Mindanao on the needs of the conflict affected people, while other members of the ACT Forum plan to respond to the floods in Luzon.
3. National and international response
The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council has established an emergency response operations centre. The Deputy Governor will provide initial food aid for 500 displaced families sheltering at the evacuation centres. The local government of Pikit, North Cotabato, the provincial government of Maguindanao and the regional government of The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) have been providing food rations to internally displaced families. However, the food is limited and not reaching all evacuation centres or those staying with host families.
4. ACT Alliance response and planned activities
The ACT members in the Philippines, which include Christian Aid, UMCOR, Lutheran World Relief and the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, have agreed that LWR Philippines, being based in Mindanao, will focus on the armed conflict situation in Central Mindanao while the other members, being based in Manila, will respond to floods, also occurring simultaneously. LWR has decided to come up with an appeal in response to the situation caused by the armed conflict.
Current needs include non-food items, such as kitchen utensils, tents, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, jerry cans and slippers, food and drinking water.
The mobility of LWR staff still remains restricted. However, LWR has a network of local NGO partners based in the affected provinces, with whom they can move around together with staff of the Department of Social Welfare & Development. There is no other visible constraint at this stage.
Any funding indication or pledge should be communicated to Jean-Daniel Birmele, Director of Finance (email@example.com)
 BIFF is a break-away group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) but unlike the former is not covered by the existing ceasefire and peace talk agreement between MILF and the Philippine government.
 E. Fernandez. August 6, 2012. Three dead, civilians flee as Moro rebels attack Maguindanao, N. Cotabato areas. Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved August 7, 2012 from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/243825/3-dead-civilians-flee-as-moro-rebels-attack-maguindanao-n-cotabato-areas.