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Philippines: Localised security threats

The government’s success in signing a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2014, the primary Islamist insurgent group in the southern island of Mindanao, is momentous and has brought tangible benefits and stability to much of the conflict-afflicted region. However, the government’s prioritisation of building ties with the MILF has somewhat come at the cost of neglecting the threat posed by other communist and Islamist militant groups operating throughout Mindanao. Sulu, Basilan, Cotabato and Maguindanao regularly experience bombings and armed attacks, while Luzon ­– mainly Bicol in the south and some northern regions – continue to be among those routinely affected.

Terrorism risk in the Philippines remains heavily localised and as a result presents a minimal risk to major commercial operations, especially those based in hubs such as Metro Manila. However, bombings, armed attacks, and extortion activities carried out by militant groups in hotspots of Mindanao will continue to damage the business environment of the region, particularly as corporate assets are commonly targeted, ultimately constraining Manila’s capacity to harness the huge economic potential of the island.