HomeNotre Dame Journalvol. 33 no. 1 (2007)

Building Peace Communities: The Cases of Tierra Madre and Villa Margarita

Elpidio F. Biton Jr.

Discipline: Political Science



The Philippines has always had its share of serious political instability and economic crisis. Armed struggle and insurgency movements continue to haunt the Philippine government in its quest for peace and stability especially in Mindanao.


President Joseph Estrada's declaration of an all out war in Central Mindanao in early 2000 greatly undermined the peace effort brought about by the signing of peace agreement in this region. A resurgence of armed conflict ensued for many reasons, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) asserted its representation in the Mindanao conflict (Daguino et. al, 2000).


In Western Mindanao, conflicts have been lengthy and very complex. In fact, there has not been any peace for more than 400 years. In spite of the effort of the government to restore peace and order, there has always been great difficulty getting to the heart of the tension. The fears, suspicions, hatred, and pride between and among conflicting parties have kept the people divided and even more, have prevented peace from flourishing. Although the conflict between various factions of Muslims and the military do not cover the entire Mindanao, these have however, dominated the situations where peace has become very elusive.