Sunday
Mar282010

The Children of Mindanao's Hidden War







"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.