Project

Philippines: Mindanao's Frustrated Peace

Photojournalist Ryan Anson returns to Mindanao, southern Philippines to examine the pitfalls and successes of the peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). His photographs also document how violent clan-based politics as well as the government's ongoing counterinsurgency campaign against the al-Qaeda linked Abu Sayyaf Group affect the lives of ordinary Mindanaon Muslims in the central Mindanao and Sulu regions.

Latest developments in southern Philippines

Pulitzer Center Staff

Ryan Anson examines the most recent political and military developments in the southern Philippines in two articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, September 9, 2007.

In "Trying to keep it all in the family dynasty," Ryan reports on a congressman-elect and his two wives -- one the mayor of Isabela City and the other Basilan's new governor -- and the concerns that come with one family's rise in political power.

Trying to keep it all in the family dynasty

After weeks of vote counting, sporadic bombings and allegations of election fraud, the insurgency-racked island of Basilan in the southern Philippines finally has a new congressman. It also has a new governor and mayor of the provincial capital where al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf terrorists once dined in local restaurants by day, and kidnapped priests and schoolteachers at night.

In a twist on the long Filipino tradition of dynastic rule, Basilan's new governor and the mayor of Isabela City are both married to congressman-elect Wahab Akbar.

Philippines war on terror not as fierce

Isabela City is not Baghdad. Roadside bombs don't rip through the floors of humvees, nor do masked insurgents take pot shots at Kevlar-vested soldiers from bullet-riddled buildings.

But like Baghdad, there are American servicemen here. They've been helping Filipino soldiers fight al Qaeda-linked terrorists who have made the southern Philippine region of Mindanao a hotbed of extremist activity during the past decade.

And they're doing it without firing a shot - at least not outside their camp.

Ryan's photos featured in Newsweek

Two of Ryan Anson's photos were featured in Newsweek's August 20, 2007 edition. The article titled "How to Beat Terror" looks at the new tactics adopted by Asian states in the war on terror. Authors Joe Cochrane, Criselda Yabes and Marites D. Vitug look at these tactics and the capture of Jemaah Islamiah's leader. Ryan Anson illustrates this article with two of his photos taken in the region. Refer to Newsweek's August 20, 2007 edition for the full story.