The False Dawns over Marawi: Examining the post-Marawi counterterrorism strategy in the Philippines

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Following the 2017 siege of Marawi, the Philippines' counter-terrorism approach has grappled with an increasingly fragmented and unpredictable landscape. Despite claims of victory, the aftermath of Marawi underscores the need to reassess and critique the country's counter-terrorism strategy. This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the post-Marawi terrorist environment and evaluates the efficacy of strategies adopted by Philippine security forces. While detailing changes in strategy, policy and capacity-building efforts, the paper argues that the focus on the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu has overshadowed broader security concerns, including the resurgence and the proliferation of other rebels. The paper concludes that 7 years after Marawi, while steps have been taken in the right direction, the opportunity to fundamentally reset counterterrorism has been squandered. A more nuanced and comprehensive approach requiring further investment and infrastructure is needed. This paper represents the first assessment of both the new military and non-military interventions by the Philippine state. The analysis reveals how US security assistance to the Philippines has become more politicized on anti-corruption and human rights issues and how progressive policy changes will be undone if Marawi itself is not rescued from bad governance and the neglect of the community that lost the most.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)406-422
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism
Issue number3
Early online date24 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • Philippines
  • Terrorism
  • counterinsurgency
  • Abu Sayyaf
  • ISIS
  • South China Sea
  • Marawi

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