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Peace Accord to end conflict in Muslim Mindanao agreed

Updated on January 23, 2015
Pres. Aquino:   “This framework agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in  Mindanao".
Pres. Aquino: “This framework agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao".
Members of MILF patrol their camp in Mindanao
Members of MILF patrol their camp in Mindanao

Peace Accord agreed

In the near future, it is envisioned that the Muslim in their areas in Mindanao will have greater political power and more control over their resources. This dream was brought about on Sunday (Oct. 7, 2012) when the government of the Philippines and top Muslim rebels agreed on a Peace Accord to stop the 40 years war that has killed over 120,000 Filipinos, including soldiers from both camps and innocent civilians, President Aquino said.

Bangsamoro created

The agreement opens with the creation of BANGSAMORO, a new autonomous region in Mindanao, which is expected to function before President Aquino’s term expires in 2016. The south which has suffered negative effects for 40 years because of the conflict will now have the time to focus on their political and economic reforms.

The Peace Accord which is to be signed in Manila on October 15 will be witnessed by President Aquino and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. It’s highly expected that both the government and the MILF will give due respect and honor to their pledges in the accord.

2016 Plebiscites before the election

From a live broadcast in Malacanang, Pres. 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 political boundaries of Bangsamoro, including the places it will compose will be the subject of a plebiscites before the elections in 2016. Grey areas that could hamper the plans have been pinpointed. Radical split off factions from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are thorns that could carry on fighting in connivance with al Qaeda militants.

A breakaway group opposes the move

Just after knowing the peace deal, a breakaway group vowed to continue fighting for an independent Islamic state. Spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) Abu Misry Mama from the city of Davao said, “We don’t care if the government and the MILF reached an agreement. We don’t want the Bangsamoro entity … " The group assaulted an army detachment in August in the south while government and rebel negotiators held talks in Kuala Lumpur, but were driven out by government forces. Powerful clans and groups who may fear a loss of political influence in areas in the south under their control, is seen as another problem.

2015 Commission Tasks to Dratt a Law

In the days to come, both MILF and the government will iron out details of the things they’ve agreed upon and all pertinent and substantive portion of the agreement arrived at by both signatories will be submitted to a 15-man commission tasks to draft a law by 2015 and submit to Congress. Just and equitable sharing of resources including reserves of natural gas had been agreed upon by both parties. The determination on how much power will the MILF have over the administration of the sharia justice is still to be resolved by the negotiators.

Prospects bright

Chief negotiator for the Philippines Marvic Leonen briefed Kuala Lumpur media men that problems are still aplenty and that the agreement is but the beginning. “Peace processes are not easy”. The agreement merely change the status of the negotiators, perhaps from foes to partners, he said, after the peace pact that has been brokered by Muslim dominated Malaysia

In the past a ray of hope for peace was raised but this was easily blanketed by dark clouds when in 2008 the Supreme Court declared a deal unconstitutional in a ruling that triggered rebel assaults and a strong military offensive, displacing in their wakes 750,000.00 people.

Now the prospects are bright. Pres. Aquino commands a strong political will by a commitment to a final settlement in 2016 before his term ends, political analysts say.

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