"Who would not be happy for peace?"
-Salahuddin, age 13
The ongoing insurgency in Mindanao, the Philippines’ southernmost and second largest island, remains largely obscured from the public eye, barring the occasional headline when a Western aid worker or priest is kidnapped. Yet it has now been a formative reality for several generations of children: it was in the 1950s that the Philippine government began awarding tracts of land in Mindanao to Christian settlers from other, overpopulated regions of the Philippines - which, understandably, led to the growth of resentment on the part of the island’s original Muslim and tribal residents.
Since 1981 the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a rebel group, has been engaged in armed conflict with the Philippine Army. Civilians, both Christian Bisaya and Muslim Maranao, have been gravely impacted as a result... especially the children.
How do Mindanao's children perceive this situation, and what are their thoughts about peace? These are the questions we set out to answer in this documentary.
A big THANK YOU to Boston's WBNN (channel 23)
for their recent repeat broadcasts of
"The Children of Mindanao's Hidden War"
Behind the Scenes of "The Children of Mindanao's Hidden War"
To learn more about my Mindanao-based partner, Balay Integrated Rehabilitation Center for Total Human Development Inc. (BIRTHDEV Inc.), you can watch the video that follows below.
Established in 1997, BIRTHDEV works to promote the psychosocial rehabilitation of women and children who have been affected by the armed conflict in Mindanao, as well as their reintegration into mainstream society. They currently provide communities with a range of services, including counseling sessions, educational programs on important issues (human rights, HIV/AIDS prevention etc.) and support structures such as daycare.