Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrilla fighters want a separate Muslim homeland in the southern Philippines. Since a peace deal with the government collapsed, some have abandoned the ceasefire.
About 300,000 people have fled their homes since violence intensified and many are living in makeshift tents. These shelters in Datu Piang, in Maguindanao, are crammed into the grounds of a local school.
After more than six months as internal refugees, many people are feeling the strain, mentally and physically. The old and the very young are the most vulnerable.
Ramla, a teacher, says many of the children who have joined her classes are traumatised by the fighting and destruction they have witnessed. Some find it hard to concentrate and are disruptive.
The displaced often have no means of supporting themselves, after leaving behind their livestock and possessions. Distributions from international agencies, like the Red Cross, are a lifeline.
The Red Cross gives a package of essentials to each household. It feeds an average family for about 10 days - but they can only visit each community about once a month.
There are few organised camps. Some of the displaced gather in informal evacuation centres. Others fend for themselves by the roadside.
Datu Piang's small Christian community says relations with Muslims are harmonious. Last August their church was set ablaze. No-one knows why. It may have been an attempt to create communal tension.
The roads through central Mindanao are studded with army checkpoints. Fighting between government forces and the MILF is frequent. But many local people say all they want is peace. (Images/text: Kate Poland/Jill McGivering, BBC News)