Philippines and Muslim rebels sign peace deal

2014-03-27 13:41
Philippines president Benigno Aquino.(Jay Directo, AFP)

Philippines president Benigno Aquino.(Jay Directo, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manila - The Philippine government signed a peace accord with the country's largest Muslim rebel group on Thursday, the culmination of years of negotiations and a significant political achievement for President Benigno Aquino III.

The deal grants largely Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region greater political autonomy in exchange for an end to armed rebellion, but it will not end all violence in a part of the country long-plagued by lawlessness, poverty and Islamist insurgency.

Other insurgent groups have vowed to keep fighting for full independence. The region is also home to the Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim extremist network with international links that the Philippine army is battling with American support.

Aquino and leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front witnessed the signing of the agreement in the presidential palace in Manila. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose country brokered the peace talks, attended the ceremony.

"In signing this agreement, the two sides have looked not to the problems of the past, but to the promise of the future," Najib said. "After so many years of conflict, and so many lives lost, it is a momentous act of courage."

Broader autonomy

The peace accord concludes formal negotiations that began in 2001. A cease-fire agreement had been in place since 1997 and has been largely observed by both sides.

More than 120 000 people have died in separatist violence since the 1970s in Mindanao, the main southern Philippine island. It is home to most of the country's 5 million Muslims, but Christians remain the overall majority.

Previous presidents, including Corazon Aquino, Aquino's mother, tried but failed to resolve the conflict, which has stunted growth in the region and helped foster Islamic extremism in the country and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Much work remains to ensure that the terms of the deal and the political framework it envisages are implemented fully during the remainder of Aquino's term, which ends in 2016.

Under the accord, called the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the Moro rebels agreed to end violence and their demand for a separate state in exchange for broader autonomy.

An existing five-province Muslim autonomous region is to be replaced by a more powerful, better-funded and potentially larger region to be called Bangsamoro.
Read more on:    milf  |  benigno aquino iii  |  najib razak  |  philippines

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Amazing solar inventions!

Solar power is lighting up the world, and not just on rooftops anymore.



Plastic on your plate
Prince George the green prince?
Lean, green, drifiting machine
One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts

It may be hard to maintain a steady rhythm as you find yourself juggling a zillion things. Slow down a little and let go of more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.