Joining the Counterinsurgency: Explaining Pro-Government Militia Participation in the Philippines

Joshua Eastin, Steven T. Zech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


What motivates civilians to fight in a progovernment militia? This article draws on survey and interview data from active members of Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGU), a progovernment militia in the Philippines, to evaluate why individuals enlist. We find poverty and unemployment to be key drivers of group membership, and the biggest attraction a steady paycheck. This situation presents a moral hazard for the Philippine government and other states that rely on impoverished citizens to wage counterinsurgency: while doing so can be cost-effective, the need to keep costs low might also impede efforts at socioeconomic or political reform.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages25
JournalStudies in Conflict and Terrorism
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Nov 2019

Cite this