Greed and grievances: A Discursive Study on the Evolution of the Lumad Struggle in Mindanao, 2010-2019

Abstract views: 2916 / PDF downloads: 1615


  • Jose Mikhail Perez Department of Political Science, University of the Philippines Diliman



inequalities, ethnic grievances, economic greed, Lumad, Mindanao.


Are vertical or horizontal inequalities causing the Lumad struggle in Mindanao? This study attempts to answer whether ethnic or economic causes, or a combination of both, are motivating the key conflict actors in the Lumad struggle to wage long-term wars. Employing the greed and grievances model in analysing conflicts, we hypothesize that the causes of the Lumad struggle stems from ethnic grievances in the onset of conflict but eventually become an issue on economic greed in the duration of conflict over time. Using critical discourse framework, the study generated a dataset of online headlines from news reports from 2010-2019 in order to trace the framing of the Lumad struggle from the Aquino to the Duterte administrations. The results show that shared discursive themes affirm the notion that the nature of the Lumad struggle is an interaction of ethnic grievances and economic greed due to the interrelationships of various conflict actors on the ground such as the Philippine government, Lumad and Moro insurgents, Christian settlers and multinational corporations. Overall, the findings indicate that issues on ethnic grievances and economic greed in the Lumad struggle are interacting with one another due to notable events occurring on both Aquino and Duterte administrations such as the ongoing peace process between the Philippine government, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Lumad ethnic groups themselves. Nonetheless, these results must be interpreted with caution due to a number of limitations such as the application of the greed and grievances model as an external explanation inferred from the discursive themes emerging from the news headlines and the lack of previous studies detailing the Lumad struggle using the said framework.  


Download data is not yet available.


Alamon, A. (2017). Wars on extinction: Discrimination and the Lumad struggle in Mindanao. Iligan City, Philippines: Mindanao Interfaith Institute on Lumad Studies.

Brown, G. (2008). Horizontal inequalities and separatism in Southeast Asia: A comparative perspective. In F. Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal inequalities and conflict (pp. 252-281). London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI:

Collier, P. (2000). Doing well out of war: An economic perspective. In M. Berdal & D. Malone (Eds.), Greed and grievance: Economic agendas in civil wars (pp. 91-111). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. DOI:

Collier, P. (2007). The conflict trap. In P. Collier (Ed.), The bottom billion: Why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it. (pp.17-37). Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

Collier, P., & Hoeffler, A. (2004). Greed and grievance in civil war. Oxford Economic Papers, 56(1), 563-595. DOI:

Coronel-Ferrer, M. (2012). To share or divide power? Minorities in autonomous regions, the case of the autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(12), 2097-2115. DOI:

Coronel-Ferrer, M. (2013). Costly wars, elusive peace. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Duffield, M. (2001). Global governance and news: The merging of development and security. London UK: Zed Books.

Fairclough, N., & Wodak, R. (1997). Critical Discourse Analysis. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.), Discourse as social interaction (pp. 258-284). London, United Kingdom: SAGE Publications.

Fearon, J. (2004). Why do some civil wars last so much longer than others? Journal of Peace Research, 41(3), 275-301. DOI:

Fearon, J., & Laitin, D. (2003). Ethnicity, insurgency and civil war. American Political Science Review, 97(1), 75-90. DOI:

Griffen, A. J. (2018). Enacting African American Legislative Voice: A Program Design for the Recruitment and Development of African American Educational Lobbyists. American Journal of Qualitative Research, 2(2), 74-102.

James, G. (2018). A narrative inquiry perspective into coping mechanisms of international postgraduate students’ transition experiences. American Journal of Qualitative Research, 2(1), 41-56. DOI:

Hoeffler, A. (2011). ‘Greed’ vs. ‘grievance’: A useful conceptual distinction in the study of civil war? Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism, 11(2), 274-284. DOI:

Keen, D. (2000). Incentives and disincentives for violence. In M. Berdal & D. Malone (Eds.), Greed and grievance: Economic agendas in civil wars (pp. 19–43). Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers. DOI:

Keen, D. (2012). Greed and grievance in civil war. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), 4(1), pp. 757-777. DOI:

Lara, F. J., & Champlain, P. (2010). Inclusive peace in Mindanao: Revisiting the dynamics of conflict and exclusion. International Alert, pp. 4-24. Retrieved from Inclusive_Peace_in_Muslim_Mindanao_Revisiting_the_dynamics_of_conflict_and_exclusion.pdf

Majul, C. (1973). Muslims in the Philippines. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.

Øsby, G. (2008). Inequalities, the political environment and civil conflict: Evidence from 55 developing countries. In F. Stewart (Ed.), Horizontal inequalities and conflict (pp. 136-159). London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI:

Paredes, O. T. (2013). A Mountain of difference: The Lumad in early Colonial Mindanao. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Paredes, O. T. (2015). Indigenous vs. native: Negotiating the place of Lumads in the Bangsamoro homeland. Asian Ethnicity, 16(2), 166-185. DOI:

Quimpo, N. G. (2001). Options in the pursuit of a just, comprehensive, and stable Peace in Southern Philippines. Asian Survey, 41(2), 271-289. DOI:

Reynal-Querol, M. (2002). Ethnicity, political systems and civil wars. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 46(1), 29-54. DOI:

Rodil, R. (1993). The Lumad and Moro of Mindanao. London, UK: Minority Rights Group.

Ross, M. (Winter 2004). How do natural resources influence civil war? Evidence from thirteen cases. International Organization, 58(1), 35-67. DOI:

Stewart, F. (2000). Crisis prevention: Tackling horizontal inequalities. Oxford Development Studies, 28(3), 245-260. DOI:

Stewart, F. (2005). Horizontal inequalities: A Neglected Dimension of Development. In Studies in development economics and policy (pp. 101-135). London, UK: Palgrave MacMillan. DOI:

Tebteba Foundation. (2011). Understanding the Lumad: A closer look at a misunderstood culture. Baguio City, Philippines: Valley Printing.

Wadi, J. (2008). Multiple colonialism in Moroland. In B. Tuazon (Ed.), The Moro reader: History and contemporary struggles of the Bangsamoro people (pp. 28-36). Quezon City, Philippines: CenPEG Books.

Wallensteen, P. (2015). Understanding conflict resolution. London, UK: Sage Publications.

Aspinall, E. (2007, December). The construction of grievance: Natural resources and identity in a separatist conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 51(6), 950-972. DOI:

Dizon, M. (2014, June). A mountain of difference: The Lumad in early colonial Mindanao by Oona Paredes (A Review). Philippine Studies: Historical and Ethnographic Viewpoints, 62(2), 293-296. DOI:

Simbulan, R. (2016, February 16). Indigenous communities’ resistance to corporate Mining in the Philippines. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 28(1), 29-37. DOI:

Paluga, M., & Ragragio, A. (2016, August). Why do indigenous communities resort to voluntary evacuations? A paper presented to the International Conference for People’s Rights, Davao City, Philippines, 23-24 July 2016.

Ray, D., & Esteban, J. (2017, April 28). “Conflict and development.” Annual Review of Economics, 9(1), 263-293. DOI:

Uppsala Conflict Data Program. (2019, May). UCDP Conflict Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

Yigit, I. H. (2018). Mass Religious Ritual and Intergroup Tolerance: The Muslim Pilgrims’ Paradox. [Book Review]. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 5(2), 196-200. DOI:




How to Cite

Perez, J. M. (2019). Greed and grievances: A Discursive Study on the Evolution of the Lumad Struggle in Mindanao, 2010-2019. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 6(3), 41–52.



Original Manuscript
Received 2019-05-31
Accepted 2019-09-20
Published 2019-12-18