Governed today by Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippines are a country which is better representation of all the contradictions and challenges of the Far-East and South-east Asia. On one side, the United States, China and Russia are challenging each other in political influence in Manila and to separate it from the interests of their rivals. On the other, the phenomenon of jihad and Islamic terrorism is a constant threat and risks becoming even more grave than has previously been described, especially in party of the country like Mindanao.
We have reported in the past on the war that the government has been waging against Islamic state, that here in the Philippines, has one of its major recruitment centers for the region. The Islamists, that have their base in Mindanao, terrorise the local population and the security forces through acts of terrorism and guerilla warfare. In the city of Marawi, we have reported on the desperation of Christians and Muslims caught between war and discrimination. While the rest of the southern island engages in battle with Islamists of Abu Sayyaf, Maute and Isis. It has been a massive war connected also to another conflict: that of the communist rebels. Duterte has declared war on all of these groups, just as he has done with drug traffickers. This war has resulted in violence not before seen in the country. The challenges ahead are highly complex; with the war between these groups and the government not being the only danger, with other political groups and local militias having separate economic interests and a desire to overthrow the government.