News / Asia

Philippines and MILF Propose Peace Deal

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Maguindanao province, Philippines, Sept. 5 2011.Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Maguindanao province, Philippines, Sept. 5 2011.
x
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Maguindanao province, Philippines, Sept. 5 2011.
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels in Maguindanao province, Philippines, Sept. 5 2011.
The Philippine government has reached a preliminary peace agreement with the country’s largest Muslim rebel group, in hopes of putting to rest a 40-year insurgency that has left more than 120,000 dead.

Under the agreement, a new political entity will be created in the southwestern corner of the Philippines, where there is a Muslim majority.  The rebel groups believe this part of Mindanao to be their ancestral domain, but in the recent rounds of peace negotiations they backed away from seeking a separate state.

President Benigno Aquino says the agreement “paves the way for final enduring peace in Mindanao.”  He says it will bring together the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and other smaller Muslim rebel groups in the region.

“This means that the hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning workstations and opening doors of opportunity for other citizens,” said Aquino.

The framework for the final peace agreement says the new entity will have power to create its own sources of revenue and to levy taxes.  The civil court system in the area will also undergo improvement, while the Shari’ah justice system exclusively for Muslims will be expanded.  The national government will have jurisdiction over defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship and naturalization and the postal system.

Mindanao has fertile land and is known as the country’s “bread basket.”  It is also rich in mineral resources such as copper and gold.  But the four-decade old insurgency has kept major investors at bay.  

Moro Islamic Liberation Front Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar says he is “very happy” with the framework.  But he foresees some challenges.

“There are those people who expect that an overnight change can be done and I don’t think that is possible," said Jaafar. "And there are those who are expecting so much after the solution but I don’t think that is possible.”

Jaafar says the leadership has resolved to exert all efforts to “improve the situations” of the people in the region.  

Throughout the 15 years that the government had been negotiating with the MILF in fits and starts, violence flared.  In 2008, when both parties were in the very last throes of hashing out an agreement, the Philippine high court called some provisions unconstitutional and this sparked a rebellion within the MILF that left  hundreds dead and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The president’s advisor on the peace process, Secretary Teresita Deles, says the Aquino administration is in a “far better place now in terms of finding peace in Mindanao” that it has ever been.  

The president’s office is posting the framework document online and in news publications, with an invitation for the public to weigh in.

The signing of the agreement is expected on October 15th and officials hope a final deal could take effect by 2016, when Aquino's term ends.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs