Recorded political violence, protests, and other non-violent events drastically increased in the Philippines after President Duterte assumed office (June 30, 2016) and declared a ‘War on Drugs’ (July 1, 2016). In particular, Duterte’s drug war has resulted in violence against civilians increasing from around 50 recorded events to nearly 300 from June to August 2016, as government officials and anti-drug ‘vigilantes’ targeted suspected drug users nationwide. The drug war, and its corresponding attacks and arrests, have continued to the present: May 2018 had the highest recorded level of violence against civilians of any month in 2018, much of which was related to Duterte’s war on drugs.

Meanwhile, tension erupted between the Philippine government and multiple armed groups — including the Bangsomoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Maute group — in the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao in 2017. This resulted in a heightened number of recorded battles between armed non-state actors and the military throughout the latter half of 2017. While these levels dropped in the first half of 2018, there were still over a dozen recorded battles between military forces and armed non-state actors in Mindanao in May 2018.

Find an explanation of ACLED’s methodology for monitoring drug violence in the Philippines here.

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The Philippines – 2016 Data Release
Daniela Pollmann
Daniela Pollmann
Daniela Pollmann is the Asia Research Manager at ACLED. In this role she oversees the coding of political violence and protests in South and Southeast Asian countries. Ms Pollmann holds a MA in Conflict, Security and Development from the University of Sussex with focus on peace processes. She has previous work experience in the social sector in Uganda and India where her work focused on women empowerment, child protection and anti-human trafficking. She is currently stationed in New Delhi, India.
Melissa Pavlik
Melissa Pavlik
Melissa Pavlik is a Research Analyst at ACLED studying overarching trends of armed conflict across and within ACLED’s regions of study. She has degrees in Statistics and Political Science from the University of Chicago, and is currently studying in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. Her research focus include violent non-state actors and the intersection between the international political economy and political violence.
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