Martin Savidge hosts Filipino peace negotiator and Catholic priest Eliseo Mercado and security analyst Zachary Abuza when Worldfocus Radio explores the forgotten terrorist front in the Philippines.
For more on Worldfocus’ coverage of the Philippines, including original videos, click here.
Since 9/11, the U.S. has stationed 500 to 600 troops in the Philippines to strengthen military forces there. The U.S. counter-insurgency effort in the Philippines has been applauded as a success story for its mix of military action and soft power — including one of the largest USAID packages in the world.
But how lasting is this counter-insurgency success? Does it solve the root problems of poverty and lack of schools and infrastructure? And, if the U.S. pulls out, is the Philippines prepared to stop the tide of terrorism?
The U.S. strategy has been to root out terrorists from the lawless jungles of the south, which is home to the country’s Muslim minority and vulnerable to external terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.
- explains the current insurgency in the poor, predominantly Muslim south of the Philippines
- evaluates how Filipino counter-insurgency tactics measure up to other Southeast Asian counter-insurgency efforts
- examines the mix of U.S. military might, diplomacy and humanitarian aid to combat local and regional instability
- discusses the importance of peace and reconciliation between the numerous Filipino ethnic groups
Martin Savidge hosts the following guests:
Zachary Abuza is a professor at Simmons College, Boston, specializing in Southeast Asian politics and security issues. He visits the region four to five times a year. Zachary is the author of Conspiracy of Silence: The Insurgency in Southern Thailand and its Implications for Southeast Asian Security, Muslims, Politics and Violence in Indonesia and Militant Islam in Southeast Asia, among other publications. He contributes frequently to the Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Counterterrorism Blog and the Jamestown Foundation’s Terrorism Monitor.
Father Eliseo “Jun” Mercado, Jr. is a Catholic priest and peace advocate who has been extensively involved in the peace process in Mindanao, the southern part of the Philippines. He is an expert on the role of Islam in the Philippines and led the independent cease-fire between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front separatist group. Father Mercado has also been extensively involved in peace process in Mindanao. In October 2007, he was selected to be one of the 20 delegates representing all NGO and CSO accredited at the UN to the High Level UN Session on inter-religious dialogue.
Host: Martin Savidge
Producers: Lisa Biagiotti and Ben Piven