Senior Mediator Michael Brown recently led an assessment for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) of post-conflict land and property issues in the southern Philippines and developed a framework to address claims and disputes in the bombed-out City of Marawi.

Marawi was overrun by an ISIS-inspired group in 2017, and almost 200,000 residents were displaced in the five-month military conflict that followed. Today, as residents wait to return to the city, conflict over land is a major risk factor for renewed tension and violence. Beyond the recent displacement, historical land dispossession has been a source of grievance and a rally point for political tension in Marawi and other Muslim-majority areas of Mindanao.

With CBI support, a governmental Sub-Committee on Land and Natural Resources created a framework for land dispute resolution. The framework includes three key elements:

  1. determination of legitimate claimants;
  2. reparation for loss or damage of property due to war; and
  3. compensation for loss or damage to land and property due to re-construction efforts.

The framework should guide the government and the international community in addressing this complex set of problems.

CBI continues to support UNDP and the Government of the Philippines in this effort, and is currently developing a Concept Note for a multi-year strategy to assess the situation in more detail in order to properly design and implement an integrated system to address land and property claims and disputes in the City of Marawi. While the system is intended to focus on the challenges in Marawi, it is designed to lay a foundation that can be developed to address land and property challenges in the broader Bangsamoro peace process in the Minanao.