State, Society, and Pro-Government Militias in the Philippines

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Terrorism and Political Violence

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Examining militia relationships with the government and civilian populations can help scholars and policymakers better assess differences in militia form, function, and behavior. In this article, we examine the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU), a pro-government militia in the Philippines, to better understand how militia participants view insurgents, politicians, state security forces, and civilians based on their experiences serving in the group. We argue that analyzing these beliefs is critical to understanding how militias influence civilian security and the risk of political violence in conflict-contested areas, as well as the trajectory of civil conflict in states like the Philippines that rely on militias to perform core security functions. We base the analysis on surveys and interviews with CAFGU members and civilians living in the Eastern Visayas, a region of active and ongoing conflict, where insurgents and other armed militants advance their aims through acts of violence and terrorism. In doing so, we contribute to a growing literature on the role that militias play in civil war, as well as the implications that follow when states choose to arm “civilians” to aid in counterinsurgency and conflict suppression.


Copyright 2021 Taylor & Francis



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