From rebels to governors: ‘Patronage autonomy’ and continuing underdevelopment in Muslim Mindanao
Among the Philippines’ 80 provinces, those of the Moro region are at the bottom of human development. They are ranked the highest in income poverty and out-ofschool youth, and the lowest in life expectancy, functional literacy and population without piped water sources. This long-term deprivation has produced one of the most enduring bases of ethnopolitical mobilization, led by two major armed groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). This chapter examines autonomy given to the Moro provinces in an attempt to overcome conflict. It argues that effective autonomy has not been achieved because of structural infirmities, especially in the relationship between the regional government and the Philippine state. In particular, the chapter focuses on how ‘patronage autonomy’ has characterized this relationship.