Zachary Abuza and Luke Lischin

The Challenges Facing the Phlippines’ Bangsamoro Autonomous Region at One Year

United States Institute of Peace


Just over a year ago, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) was formally established as part of a peace agreement to end nearly five decades of conflict between the Philippine government and Moro secessionists. This report discusses the many notable achievements of the BARMM government during its first year while cautioning that these accomplishments are not irreversible and that the BARMM will need international support—including from the United States—to confront future challenges.

This report is the result of over twenty years of fieldwork in the southern Philippines, detailed data set analysis, as well as extensive research into the Bangsamoro peace agreement. It is the first thorough analysis of the implementation of the peace agreement, including milestones and shortcomings, and of what needs to happen in the coming years to achieve full implementation.