Local security in the contested Bangsamoro zone: Informality, hybridity and pragmatic imperatives

Event details

PSC Seminar Series

Date & time

Tuesday 13 June 2017


PSC Reading Room 4.27, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU
ANU Canberra


Steven Rood


Helen McMartin

The Bangsamoro area in the southern Philippines is a contested space where state security forces (military, police, paramilitary) face various armed groups – Moro insurgents, violence entrepreneurs, militia, politician-backed private armed groups and kidnap-for-ransom gangs – in asserting control over the territory. The central government historically has a weak reach in this zone; its legitimacy as a public security provider is eroded by serious local government deficits. The vertical conflict between the state security forces, on one hand, and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on the other hand, is overlaid unto horizontal conflicts among rival clans and politicians, and a pernicious shadow economy. Physical safety is at a premium in this environment, and is not exclusively provided by state agents.
The Asia Foundation in the Philippines in April published a book, edited by Rosalie Arcala Hall, that examines the diverse security arrangements between co-located state and non-state armed actors in the Bangsamoro area. It describes the formal, informal and hybrid mechanisms that underpin such arrangements in five localities. This presentation provides a background on the conflict situation and security responses to it, and then examines the empirical findings presented in the book.

About the Speaker
Steven Rood is a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School. From 1999 until January this year he was Philippine Country Representative of The Asia Foundation. From 2009 to 2013 he was on the International Contact Group attending negotiation sessions between the MILF and the Philippine Government, and from 2013 through 2016 he was on the Third Party Monitoring Team overseeing implementation of agreements reached between the government and the MILF.

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