The Bangsamoro is located in the south of the Philippines and is the only Muslim-majority autonomous region in the country. It has been experiencing peace and security challenges as a result of protracted armed conflicts and other forms of chronic violence. In 2014, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro which served as the basis for the eventual creation of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. In 2019, the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law and the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority increased the prospects for peace and stability in the Bangsamoro region.
Yet key conflict challenges remain. These include high levels of conflict and violence within communities, the exclusion and marginalisation of indigenous populations, and the presence of former combatants and weapons.
This Toolkit was developed with our partners, the Teduray Lambangian Women Organization Inc (TWLOI) and United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) from learnings gained during implementing the Public Empowerment and Community Engagement for Good Governance programme. Grounded in practice, the Toolkit captures learnings and reflections on what works from our joint peacebuilding practice in the Bangsamoro. The toolkit presents practical guidance on employing a mobilisation framework and provides a tangible tool for actors in the Bangsamoro to sustain the change and impact that was borne out of the programme.
The Community Security Toolkit draws upon creative solutions that community peacebuilders and local government units have devised over the last five years. It is aimed at preventing and mitigating violent conflict at the barangay (the Filipino term for village or district) level by providing a blueprint on how to organise and mobilise Community Security Working Groups. The Toolkit has practical suggestions for how to be inclusive through working with a diverse range of leaders and community members including women, youth, indigenous people, and people living with disabilities.
Overall, the Community Security Toolkit is designed to be a practice-focused guide for the peacebuilders, civil society, barangay and local government units who face myriad security challenges in the Bangsamoro. At the same time, the toolkit is a resource for policymakers, political leaders, and scholars who are engaged in thinking about community security work. The Toolkit will inform broader discussions about the value of supporting community-led peacebuilding work while helping to generate strategies for supporting participatory community peacebuilding within the Bangsamoro.
The Philippines has suffered two major armed conflicts in recent years – in Mindanao involving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and a countrywide communist insurgency with the National Democratic Front (NDF).