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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid