Philippines, Muslim, Islam, South East Asia, Political Development, Economic Development, Conflict, Mindanao, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindinao, ARMM, Moro National Liberation Front, MNLF, Moro Islamic National Front


Muslim culture and society has been a part of the Philippine islands in spite of nearly ninety-five percent of the population being Christian (a majority Catholic), yet did not become a separatist movement until the 1970's. Since then, the two main separatist groups the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have been battling the Philippine government. The parties entered truces in 1996 and 2001, yet there has been a cycle of violence continues. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), linked to Al Qaeda, emerged in 1990 and has launched many attacks on the Christian Philippine majority. The prolonged Muslim unrest in the ARMM has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands displaced. The main objective of this research paper is to examine Philippine economic and political development and its impact on Philippine Muslim unrest. This paper presents a critical analysis of the economic and political development and Philippine Muslim unrest by examining six major features of the Philippines; they are: The historical evolution, economic development, political development, socio-cultural setting, geographic setting, and the quality of life of the Filipino people. This research also examines Fareed Zakaria's illiberal democracies theory, liberal institutionalism, and the Marxist theory of class revolution and primarily relies on research conducted at the University of the Philippines and from Philippine and Asian scholars. By taking a holistic comprehensive approach and by using international relations theory, this research fills two gaps in the literature about Philippine Muslim unrest. The research concludes with a look at future challenges, both short term and long term that face the country, as well as, possible future scenarios. The findings of this research are that the economic and political development and the historical evolution, though major contributory factors, are not the sole reason for the prolonged Philippine Muslim unrest. The most pervasive causal factor to Muslim unrest was the socio-cultural setting. Because of the all-pervasive nature of culture; at first glance, the socio-cultural setting was not a major apparent cause. At almost all times examined throughout this research, certain cultural tendencies guided decisions and altered the course of events more so than any other single variable. Corruption, crony capitalism, patrimonialism, and irrational institutions all stem from the tendencies of Philippine culture must be addressed to find lasting peace in the country. A move toward rational legal institutions and liberal constitutionalism, will lead the way to the creation of a liberal democracy and break the cycle of violence occurring in the Philippines.


If this is your thesis or dissertation, and want to learn how to access it or for more information about readership statistics, contact us at

Graduation Date



Sadri, Houman A.


Master of Arts (M.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science

Degree Program

Political Science








Release Date

December 2008

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)