Waltzing with the powerful: Understanding NGOs in a game of power in conflict-ridden Mindanao (2017)
Type of ContentJournal Article
PublisherMacmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies
This paper examines the agency of non-government organisations as liberal peace agents and power players in Mindanao—a hybrid political community in the southern Philippines with a legacy of protracted armed conflict. The paper focuses on the mechanisms employed by development NGOs in managing and engaging with formal and informal power-holders, brokers and gatekeepers in conflict-stricken communities. This is an original study that utilises first-hand information gathered through intensive field research in different communities in the southern Philippines. Robust interviews with experts were conducted among local, intermediate and international NGO workers, officials of the Philippine Government, leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, university academics, military leaders, donor agencies and traditional local leaders in Mindanao. Semi-structured interviews were used, most being conducted in Manila and major cities of Mindanao. Ethnographic field observation was also carried out to produce a thick and rich description of the current situation in conflict zones. The paper presents a power map to illustrate the hybrid nature of the socio-politico regime, preserved by longstanding conflict. The map sketches the nodes and intensities of power that highlight the dominance of warlord clans in Mindanao
RightsCC BY 4.0
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