Database to help inform development policies and programs in conflict-affected areas
MANILA, MARCH 24, 2015 – Comprehensive data about conflicts in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is now available to anyone with a computer or a mobile device with the launch of the Bangsamoro Conflict Monitoring System (BCMS) website.
The number and kinds of conflicts, where these took place, their causes and costs, and the implications these have on policy can now be accessed at www.bcms-philippines.info.
The launch of the website today marks a step forward for the BCMS, a platform for monitoring and analyzing conflicts in the Bangsamoro, the area encompassed by Muslim Mindanao. With support from the World Bank, International Alert started the BCMS in 2013.
“The BCMS helps us to understand where violent conflict is happening, why, who is involved and what the human and economic costs are. This information deepens our understanding of the dynamics of conflict in the Bangsamoro areas,” said World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi. “It will help policymakers in government, civil society, and the development community to make smarter decisions to target resources to communities that need them most, to design projects that are conflict-sensitive, and to better monitor the results on security and peacebuilding.”
Making timely and credible data on conflicts readily available to policymakers, development workers, researchers, academics, media and the general public is expected to inform interventions and development programs and policies for Muslim Mindanao, while nurturing vigilance against the occurrence or recurrence of violent disputes.
BCMS users can explore the available data, generate the information they need, produce reports and download these together with visuals.
The BCMS is part of the World Bank’s broad program of support for development in Mindanao, which includes some of the poorest regions in the country.
Dr. Francisco Lara, International Alert Country Manager for the Philippines, said four years of data generated by BCMS has started to yield important insights useful in the government’s efforts toward peace and development in the Bangsamoro.
The data unveils the phenomenon of conflict strings, where identity-based issues (such as land and clan feuding) and shadow economies are prevalent (particularly the illegal trade in guns and drugs, kidnap-for-ransom, cattle rustling, illegal gambling, among others). In a conflict string, one incident multiplies into other violent episodes.
The data also reveals that though shadow economy issues accounted for 20 percent of violent incidents in the Bangsamoro in the last four years, the human costs in terms of deaths, injuries, and displacement were outweighed by the political violence emanating from rebellion and political competition. This data underscores the strategic importance of ending the conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Violent conflict has caused tremendous human cost in the Bangsamoro. From 2011 until 2014, the total number of people who died, were injured, kidnapped or trafficked reached 7,972 while the total number of families displaced reached 77,052.
Violent conflict has clear temporal dimensions manifested in the spike of violence during the election season, the peak of the lean months before the main season harvest time in late September to early October, and annual start of the school season in June.
This trend suggests that programming the provision of welfare services to march in step with anticipated periods of great pressure and stress, and infusing additional livelihood services during lean months could help stem the tide of violent incidents.
“I urge policymakers, peace advocates, academics, researchers and other groups to study the database and contribute to a deeper understanding of violent conflict in the Bangsamoro,” said Dr. Lara. “The government or other sectors in society may also expand the coverage of the monitoring for the entire Mindanao. Information generated by this system could yield useful insights that could help bring peace and development to Mindanao.”
The BCMS is fully funded through the World Bank by the Korean Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-building Transitions.
The system taps the data gathering and analytical capabilities of three academic institutions, namely the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, Mindanao State University-General Santos, and the Western Mindanao State University. Data principally comes from the Philippine National Police and supplemented by media reports.
The monitoring system has also established multi-stakeholder validation groups (MSVGs) in different parts of Mindanao, composed of credible individuals from local governments, the security sector, development organizations, faith-based groups, and civil society organizations. The MSVGs generate data that is not captured in the police or media reports, examine these incidents, and deepen the analysis of trends.