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Benefits to accrue in Mindanao

Updated on September 13, 2015
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Observers say varied but interesting analysis about things that will accrue to Mindanao after the peace agreement that was agreed upon by both negotiators on both camps of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). This historic event was done in Malaysia and brokered by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday, October 7, 2012.

Analysts are convinced that after 40 years of conflict, the MILF leaders are already in the sunset of their lives and eager to enjoy genuine results from the years of failed peace negotiations.

Speaking for the armed forces, Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, opined that if the objectives of the peace deal is attained it would give the military the chance to focus their resources to the task of depending the country’s territory in a dispute with Beijing over the Scarborough Shoal issue.

The deal could usher in economic growth as the Philippines shrugs off its laggard reputation with strong growth and a revival in investor interest.

The prospect of huge royalties from virgin deposits of oil, gas and mineral resources in rebel territories is a big motivating factor for the Muslim leaders. The preceding is said to be a part of $312 billion estimated total of Mindanao’s mineral wealth. Mitra Energy Ltd has joined with France’s Total to search for gas and oil deposits in the Sulu Sea.

Citing issues about Muslim Mindanao’s poor infra, health and education services, Steve Rood of Asia Foundation, said the deal is unlikely to effect immediate impact on the economy of Mindanao.

He suggested investors should focus in the agricultural and tourism sectors, where Mindanao could become the focal point in the manufacture of halal products. Halal products are those prepared under Islamic guidelines and the industry is valued at around $2,1 trillion.

Bangsamoro, will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It will have a "ministerial" form of government.

Bangsamoro and its territorial jurisdiction is said to cover 5 provinces under the existing autonomous region, including parts of Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato provinces. Its official determination as a new autonomous region will be the subject of a plebiscite which will be done right after the passage of the organic law.

Teresita Quintos-Deles mentioned that the southern cities of Isabela and Cotabato may also be covered by the new entity. Deles is presidential peace adviser

Powers that will accrue to Bangsamoro include the right to impose taxes, to cut central government subsidies, a bigger share in revenues from natural resources and a more active role in internal security.

But the powers of defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy, citizenship and naturalization will remain an exclusive powers of the Philippine government,

"This framework agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao," Aquino said. "This means that hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations, and opening doorways of opportunity for other citizens."

“While much work remains, successful implementation of this agreement would improve security, stability, and development for the people of Mindanao,” US Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. said.

The European Union likewise praised the development, calling it “a major step towards a long-lasting peace in Mindanao, which will lead the island to stability and prosperity.”

“The EU, as a member of the International Monitoring Team and major development partner in poverty alleviation in Mindanao since 1990, will continue to lend its full support,” said Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

“The agreement has the potential finally to end the long-running conflict. Full implementation of the agreement by 2016 can bring about peace, security, and development. That will be good not only for Mindanao, but for the whole of the Philippines,” UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

“We have been showing our support since the ICG (International Contact Group) was formed in 2009, and we will continue to be supportive,” British Ambassador Stephen Lillie said

“Japan strongly hopes that both parties will steadily implement the contents of the Framework Agreement and continue their persistent negotiation efforts towards the early realization of the final agreement,” the statement from the Japanese embassy said.

“I welcome the move because it is a step to peace. We have suffered a lot and any small step to peace is a sign of hope and peace”, Basilan Bishop Martin Jumoad said

“As a Cotabateño and a religious leader, I pray for you and your efforts to establish a just and lasting peace in our region,” Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said.

“We will all gain from a permanently peaceful Mindanao, because terrorism and warlordism shall be diminished. It will open wider the doors of trade and tourism with neighboring Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand to the great benefit of Mindanao, if not the entire country,” Basilan-based Claretian priest Fr, Angel Calvo said.

“The peace dividend that will ensue will undoubtedly positively impact not only the business climate but eventually the quality of life of all Mindanaoans,” regional governor for Southwestern Mindanao of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Bronx Hebrona said.

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