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By engaging the various stakeholders through the provision of mine action activities, FSD educates the local populations of the risks of explosive ordnance and supports the ongoing peace process.

FSD staff and a volunteer traversing tidal flats to get give a risk education session to a nearby village in Barangay division

FSD staff and a volunteer traversing tidal flats to give a risk education session to a nearby village in Barangay division. Low tide is the only time possible to reach this region. (The Philippines, 2021)



Mindanao Island, in the south of the Philippines, has known decades of conflicts between different rebel groups and the Philippine government. Each period of conflict has left behind unexploded or abandoned ammunition, putting in danger the lives of the inhabitants of the region.

Following several peace agreements between rebel groups and the government, the region accelerated its pace towards autonomy.

In 2019, after more than 50 years of conflict and following a referendum, the Muslim part of the island of Mindanao gained autonomy and officially became the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The growing issue of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the BARMM is a problem of uncleared explosive ordnance since nearly all recent incidents of IEDs involve items of repurposed unexploded ordnance. They are often found buried in village centres and adjacent fields, in community facilities or even near schools.

This encouraged FSD to develop a mine action programme involving all parties to the peace agreement, to restore trust among all parties to the conflict.

We were told that a nine-year-old child found a mortar shell close to the lake and brought it back home to play with it.

Merlene Usman-Degay

Community Liaison Officer for FSD in the Philippines

Merlene Usman-Degay - Community Liaison Officer for SDF in the Philippines

Mine clearance

FSD implements surveys in localities suspected to be contaminated by unexploded ordnance or improvised mines. Such improvised devices have become increasingly common and replicate technologies found in Iraq or Syria. When the presence of explosive ordnance is confirmed, FSD helps the Philippine armed forces intervene to neutralise the explosive hazard.

Additionally, FSD surveys mine accidents and stores the information it collects in a database used in developing an efficient demining strategy.

Non technical surveys, Philippines

Risk education

FSD and its network of volunteers conduct risk awareness sessions in villages affected by the conflict. More than 300,000 people now know how to react if they come across an unexploded grenade or an improvised mine.

Risk education campaigns are also implemented through popular media outlets and on social media via the local FSD Facebook page.

In 2022, FSD signed an agreement with the regional authorities and UNICEF to introduce explosive ordnance risk education in the school’s curriculum in the region. FSD will assist the Department of Education by providing material and helping conceive lesson plans.

FSD Volunteer having an energizer to the children upon conducting EORE session

Capacity building

Until June 2023, FSD assumed the de facto role of a national mine action centre in the Bangsamoro autonomous region, providing advice and technical assistance to the local authorities to help them plan and prioritise demining operations.

In June 2023, a regional mine action operations centre was opened in the Bangsamoro autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao. FSD was instrumental in helping to establish the Operation Centre and will continue to support its work in the future.


FSD in the Philippines

FSD began working in Mindanao in 2005 to support the peace process, providing technical expertise to the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In 2007, in partnership with the Philippine Campaign to Ban Landmines, FSD proposed establishing a mine action programme to improve security for the people, support reconstruction and build confidence in the peace process. In 2010, the Philippine government and the MILF signed a peace agreement to support the implementation of the project.

In 2012, FSD started mine action activities in Mindanao.


News from the Philippines



In the southern Philippines, island of Mindanao, thousands of people have to live with the constant threat of unexploded ordnance. Children are particularly vulnerable to the dangers of these items. FSD’s teams are doing everything they can to protect them from these risks.

How UXOs become IEDs FSD


In the Philippines, armed groups collect unexploded ordnance (UXO) such as this mortar remnant to make improvised explosive devices (IED). FSD acts as a facilitator between the different parties to prevent this type of practice […]

Joselito Remedios, 54, is a pastor and an explosive ordnance risk education provider

Healing from invisible scars

Beyond physical injuries, an explosion can leave other types of scars to heal from. Follow the healing journey of Jowhadi Salik, a survivor of an improvised explosive device explosion.


In 2023, our teams surveyed 250 villages suspected to be contaminated by unexploded ordnance or improvised explosive devices in the Philippines.


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An FSD deminer in blue protective vest and visors conducts manual landmine clearance at Khamadoni