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Insights and Analysis

Clan Conflict (Rido): A Threat to Stability in Southern Philippines

April 28, 2010

By Wilfredo Magno Torres III

Below is an excerpt from Mr. Torres’ chapter “Letting A Thousand Flowers Bloom: Clan Conflicts and their Management” in the newly-published Challenges to Human Security in Complex Situations: The Case of Conflict in the Southern Philippines.

Life with rido is being a prisoner in your house. A person without rido can go anywhere. A person with rido is like a carabao tethered to a tree. He can only move around as far as the rope will allow. When you have a rido, you are never stable, you are like a prisoner. You cannot work, you cannot go out of your house, you cannot help anybody, and because you are afraid your enemy may kill you.

– A resident of Lanao del Norte in Mindanao

On August 21, 2008, rival members from the Disalongan and Masigay families gathered to celebrate the end of their feud (rido) which killed one and wounded two persons. The kandori or thanksgiving celebration took place in the lakeside municipality of Binidayan in Lanao del Sur and was attended by over 300 community members. During the celebration, the townsfolk were treated to a spectacular display of fireworks coming from two attack helicopters pounding on rebel positions across Lanao Lake in the area of Madalum municipality. This contrasting image of a local peace celebration culminating the end of a local conflict amidst a larger separatist war looming on the horizon epitomizes the chronic failure of the state in governance and peacemaking as well as the indomitable will of local communities to rise above this situation to create a different reality of genuine peace for them.

Two weeks earlier, the Philippine Supreme Court injunction suspending the signing of a memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD) between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) sparked a series of encounters involving frustrated MILF commanders and eventually leading to the breakdown in the negotiations. The renewed hostilities between the government and MILF because of the MOA-AD fiasco prompted a senior economist to remark about the instability and unpredictability of the situation in Mindanao that prevents the development of the region – to which the author replied that national level politics is actually more unpredictable and thus responsible for the continuing instability and violence in Mindanao, and the perpetuation of more localized conflicts such as rido.

To read more, download a pdf of the book, published by the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network, Challenges to Human Security in Complex Situations: The Case of Conflict in the Southern Philippines.

Wilfredo M. Torres is The Asia Foundation’s Program Officer in the Philippines. He edited the definitive reference book on clan violence and conflict resolution in the Philippines, Rido: Clan Feuding and Conflict Management in Mindanao. He can be reached at [email protected].

Related locations: Philippines
Related programs: Conflict and Fragile Conditions
Related topics: Peacebuilding in Asia


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