The Ilaga is a Christian militia in the Philippines that operated during the 1970s in Southern Mindanao and fought against Moro Islamist terrorists. Increased tensions in the Philippines since August 2008 have seen the reemergence of the armed vigilante group calling themselves the Bag-ong Ilaga. On 4 August 2008, the Philippine Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), a previously “initialled” document. In the succeeding days, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters launched attacks against civilians in North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Saranggani provinces, and sporadic fighting between the security forces and the MILF followed. On 14 October the Supreme Court ruled that the MOA-AD was unconstitutional, leading to fears of further escalation of the conflict.The village of Bagolibas in the province of North Cotabato straddles a no-man’s land between Christian and Muslim communities and has been repeatedly attacked by MILF rebels in recent months.With no discernible presence of either the military or the police here, the people of Bagolibas have taken the law into their own hands reforming their legacy as Ilaga.
Guns are part of everyday life in Bagolibas, like other basic necessities such as food, water, and housing. The threat of being attacked by Moro Islamist rebels is inevitable. They have to be on the lookout 24/7. Most attacks are prone to happen during night time or while tending to their fields which are far away from the village. But still life goes on.