Southern Philippines: 
Tackling Clan Politics in the Bangsamoro


Southern Philippines: 
Tackling Clan Politics in the Bangsamoro

What’s new? One year after taking office, following a landmark peace agreement, the Bangsamoro Transition Authority is trying to set the stage for regional stability and durable peace in Muslim Mindanao. In doing so, it needs to deal with powerful political clans that may provoke tensions in the run-up to 2022 elections.

Why does it matter? Clans are predominant in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region’s politics, which could lead to tensions with the new authority. Confrontations among armed families could reverse peace process gains, as could a falling-out between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the former rebel group, and clans if the transition goes awry.

What should be done? The Bangsamoro transitional government should create a strong regional institution that is pragmatic in finding arrangements with political families and capable of curbing inter-clan feuding as well as overcoming clan-linked patronage networks. Donors should support efforts to ensure the state’s primacy over kinship interests through a broad funding portfolio.

Over the next two and a half years, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and powerful clans appear set to compete in places and cooperate in others as the Bangsamoro region readies for national, regional and municipal elections in May 2022.