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Violent conflict in Bangsamoro went down in 2018, study shows

The provinces in the former Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) saw less violent incidents in 2018, a recently-launched International Conflict Report showed.

The study, however, also found that peace in the region remains "fragile."

According to International Alert Philippines, the 90-page 2019 report entitled "War And Identity" showed that conflict incidence across all provinces in the ARMM dropped by 30 percent.

The number reportedly went down from 4,140 incidents in 2017 to 2,910 in 2018.

Ebrahim made the remark during the formal turnover of power of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the newly formed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM)

Early this year, the Bangsamoro Organic law was ratified in a plebiscite, which created the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) that replaced ARMM.

Under the law, the new region will enjoy  expanded land and water jurisdiction, fiscal autonomy, increased share in national government resources, among others.

As International Alert country manager Nikki de la Rosa explains it, the said fall in the conflict incidence and deaths was "partly due to the drop in coordinating attacks" and the "lesser use of explosives by various armed groups.

"The State was also able to maintain a fragile peace in the Bangsamoro region by imposing martial law which, in turn, deterred the carrying of firearms.

Francisco Lara, senior Peace and Conflict adviser of Alert Philippines, meanwhile pointed out that the level of violence in the ARMM remained significantly higher from 2016 to 2017 than the trend three years prior.

International Alert also took note that there were more arrests made by the Philippine National Police for illegal possession of firearms in 2018.

According to the non-government organization, this resulted to a decline in gun-related deaths by 31 percent (1,290 in 2017 to 891 in 2018).

The report also said there were less bombing incidents (193 in 2017 to 166 in 2018).

Moreover, bombing incidents this year were pegged as "less deadly" with five deaths recorded per incident.

This was slightly less than the average six in 2017.

The Conflict Alert project was funded by The World Bank, the Korea Trust Fund for Economic and Peace-Building Transitions, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. —LDF, GMA News