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Ethnic Conflict in the Philippines

AutonomyAgain? Foreword This paper summarizes the historical background, causes, and a possible solution to end the ongoing ethnic conflict in The Philippines. The Muslim Filipinos of Mindanao and the Christian Filipinos have been fighting the second oldest internal ethnic dispute in the world. Over 120,000 people have died and 2 million have been displaced in this four decades long battle.1 For many years, the central governments attempts at peace, institutional restructuring, and regional autonomy have failed. It is clear that this ethnic conflict must be resolved in order for the country to progress economically, and by allowing the Muslim Filipinos of Mindanao to truly be autonomous and having equal and fair representation in the central government, economic development can finally occur in Mindanao and the Filipino people may finally see peace. History2 Some people suggest that the ethnic conflict in the Philippines began when Magellan arrived in the Philippines in 1521. Under Spanish colonization, a majority of the country converted to Roman Catholicism. The only exception was the Southern Island of Mindanao, whos strong and organized Muslim sultanates could not be overwhelmed by the Spanish Conquistadores. The Muslims of

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