News / Asia

Bombings in Southern Philippines Draw Attention to Peace Talks

Simone Orendain

Negotiators from the Philippine government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group say a series of bomb-attacks in the restive south should not be a stumbling block for ongoing peace talks.

In the past four days bombs exploded in two provinces of Muslim-majority Mindanao in the Philippines’ southern-most group of islands.  On Friday, a bomb allegedly being transported by two men detonated, killing them both.  On Saturday, police found and defused four bombs that they say were meant for high-traffic areas. Two days later, a car bomb exploded along the route of a local governor’s convoy. He survived, but two people were killed.

Police say they are still investigating who is behind the attacks.

The incidents occurred a week before the next meeting between peace negotiators of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).  

MILF negotiator Michael Mastura says in the past, violence has spiked ahead of scheduled negotiations.  But Mastura says these acts of violence can in fact help spur peace. “If the parties, despite these happenings, these incidents - these collateral or side effects - if they are ready to go into an agreement, then it ripens the process itself, rather than deters the parties from moving on,” he said.

The MILF has been part of a nearly four-decades-old insurgency against the government.  Their fight for self-determination has left more than 120,000 people dead and displaced more than a million.

While peace talks have repeatedly broken down over the years, earlier this month President Benigno Aquino met with the chairman of the MILF. It was the first time a Filipino president met with the head of the country’s largest Muslim rebel group. The meeting has brought calls to fast-track the peace process.

Philippine peace panel member Miriam Coronel-Ferrer says the government is very concerned about the recent bombings and violence in general in the region. “Any of these disturbances or even outbreaks of hostilities certainly impact on how people perceive what can be achieved by way of peaceful negotiation with one group, which is the Moro Islamic Liberation Front,” she stated.

Coronel-Ferrer says the region is not only plagued by acts like bombings but also by infighting among the rebels, banditry and crime in general.  She says peace negotiations are just one way that the government is addressing the problems in the south.

President Benigno Aquino has indicated he wants a peace accord by the time his term ends in 2016, with the hope that it would help open the resource-rich region to investors.

The next meeting between the two panels is on August 22.

You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid