Amira Jadoon, Nakissa Jahanbani, and Charmaine Willis

Rising in the East: The Evolution of the Islamic State in the Philippines

Combatting Terrorism Center at West Point


As the second part in a series of reports that map the Islamic State's presence in Southeast Asia, this study traces the evolution of the Islamic State in the Philippines between January 2014 and July 2019. While the first report sought to provide a broad regional perspective, this report examines the factors that contributed to the rise of the Islamic State specifically within the local context of the Philippines, analyzing how it reshaped local militancy and how the threat evolved operationally after the Battle of Marawi. In examining the Islamic State’s presence in the Philippines, this report is attentive to both the preexisting local dynamics within the Philippines that created space for the influence of the Islamic State, as well the effects associated with the latter’s influence. The report explores the following key questions: what socioeconomic and political factors contributed to the rise of the Islamic State’s influence in the Philippines? How has Islamic State-linked activity evolved within the Philippines over the years in terms of its geographical focus, tactics, and targets? Finally, what factors may impact the nature of the Islamic State affiliated threat within the Philippines in the future?