Philippine government agrees landmark peace deal with country’s Muslim rebels
A 40-year conflict, that has resulted in the deaths of over 120,000 people, looks set to come to a close following the agreement of a deal between the Philippine government and the country’s Muslim rebels.
President Benigno Aquino announced that the Philippine government had come to an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) whereby the insurgents would forgo armed and violent combat in pursuit of independence.
Instead, he explained, the group would work on establishing an independent region in the predominantly Muslim region of Mindanao.
Negotiations have taken place for the last 15 years in an effort to bring the bloody violence to an end. Some analysts believe that the peace talks – which have, until now, been frequently interrupted by violent outbursts – have come to fruition due to the age of the MILF leaders, who are eager to see a palpable outcome.
The specific group, MILF came into existence in the 1980s when its leaders agreed to fight for independence. Leaders have said that the group’s 11,000 members will not lay down their weapons until the deal is finalised, which looks set to happen on the 15th of October.
President Aquino said: “This framework agreement is about rising above our prejudices. It is about casting aside the distrust and myopia that has plagued the efforts of the past.”
The agreement will allow for the creation of an autonomous region. The Transition Commission in charge of the deal will have until 2015 to draft a law allowing for the area’s independence. There are fears, however, that when the area comes into being it will be markedly deprived, with poor investment owing to fears about possible violence.