The Revolutionary Workers’ Party (RWP) emerged from the long-standing Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in September 1994 during a period of upheaval within that organisation known as the Second Great Rectification Movement. The key point of contention was the CPP leadership’s determination to continue the armed struggle it had launched in 1968. Following the split, the RWP soon began negotiations with the Government of the Philippines, but divisions within the movement over the talks led to another fracture and the emergence of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party – Mindanao (RWP-M) as an independent organisation in 2001. With 14 of the Philippines’ 20 poorest provinces in Mindanao and sizeable marginalised population of landless agricultural labourers, the RWP-M still enjoyed significant support and had decades of experience conducting insurgencies against security forces. As a result, despite its relative isolation, it remained a potent force in Mindanao and was more than capable of perpetuating armed conflict.
In 2002, RWP-M leaders reached out to the mayor of Iligan City in Mindanao to explore the possibility of initiating a peace process with the Government of Philippines. Informal talks between the RWP-M and the mayor took place with help from a local NGO working to reduce armed conflict in Mindanao, Balay Mindanaw (BM). In 2003, the Philippine government established a panel to conduct negotiations and talks mediated by BM began on 22 September 2003. A second round of talks resulted in the signing of the Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities on 28 October 2005, formally ending the fighting. The following year, additional agreements were signed on implementation and continuing the peace process. Dialogue between the parties continues at the time of writing, and although a final peace agreement is yet to be negotiated, investment in Mindanao and the work of local communities and organisations such as BM in support of the peace process has prevented further conflict between the RWP-M and the Government of Philippines.<sub>1</sub>