North Cotabato conflict

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2008 Battle of North Cotabato
Part of the Moro conflict
DateAugust 9, 2008 – Late August 2008

Philippine government victory



Moro Islamic Liberation Front
Commanders and leaders
Umbra Kato
2,500 troops 1,000 rebels

The 2008 Battle of North Cotabato was a military confrontation between the Philippine Armed Forces and a rogue MILF faction under the command of Umbra Kato in the North Cotabato province of Mindanao.


1,000 MILF rebels under the command of Umbra Kato seized control of thirty five villages in the North Cotabato province. 2,000 Philippine troops with helicopters and artillery were sent in to the seized area on August 9 to liberate it from the rebels. The MILF had wanted North Cotabato to be included in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. The Filipino government and MILF had been negotiating for the inclusion of the province in the Muslim Autonomous Region, but the Supreme Court had struck down the proposal after hearing concern from local Christian leaders in the region.


The rebel troops were ordered to leave the area by their commanders, but the contingents under Kato refused to leave the villages they had occupied, and instead dug in. The Philippine Army responded on August 9, by bombarding them. The next day, the government forces moved to retake the villages, recapturing two of them from the rebels.