Dear friends in the AEPF and AEPF Peace & Security Circle,

Over the past few months, the Initiatives for International Dialogue, Saferworld and Security Policy Alternatives Network have been working together to research the impact of Counter-terrorism and P/CVE (Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism) policies in the Philippines.

Today, one year on since the passage of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act on 5 June 2020, we are honored to share that we have released our new discussion paper: ‘An explosive cocktail – Counter-terrorism, militarisation and authoritarianism in the Philippines. You may download the full paper through the link:

In this paper, we explore how the renewed global focus on counter-terrorism, combined with rise of authoritarianism and militarism in the Philippines, has produced an explosive cocktail; one that is having damaging effects on conflict dynamics in the country, civic space and the democratic freedoms of citizens, and human security of most marginalized and conflict-affected communities.

For our research we conducted an extensive review of scholarly work and existing policy documents prior to and following key informant interviews carried out between October 2020 and February 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic movement restrictions prevented us from doing extensive fieldwork in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines. In our virtual meetings with interviewees representing international agencies, government (representatives from the national, regional/BARMM and local government and security sector), civil society, academia, and leaders affected communities, we asked about the main security threats faced by the country, the causes of ‘violent extremism’, the authorities’ approach in addressing internal conflict and the impact of P/CVE programmes and CT policies. Ethical protocols were put in place to ensure our interviewees’ anonymity as well as the safety of the data collected from them. Given the highly sensitive nature of our research and time constraints, we were unable to interview all relevant actors, particularly members of violent or proscribed groups.

Our paper does not seek to provide all the answers to the very complex issues that surround violent groups and terror attacks in the Philippines. Neither does it try to explain or examine the complex root causes underpinning the violence. But it does seek to provide a candid assessment of the existing P/CVE and CT framework as applied in the country, as well as the preliminary impact of its programmes on society, particularly on the most marginalised sectors, and those who are most exposed to the impacts of conflict.

We hope you are able to read the paper but for now please do check out this bite size summary of our main findings in Executive Summary. We hope that this paper will stimulate further engagement with affected populations and discussion among civil society, community organisations, international agencies and even the government on how to improve and enhance their peace and security engagements, policies and approaches.

We will be in touch for announcements on planned public dissemination and advocacy activities, through OpEds, roundtables and public webinar/formal launch of the paper, in the next weeks leading to the anniversary of the signing into law of the ATA (July 2021).

Please do share any feedback you might have!


Marc Batac

Programmes, Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
Regional Liaison Officer for Southeast Asia, Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC-SEA)

Website: and
Skype: mbbatac

Phone and Fax: +632-911-0205