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Philippines reaches peace deal with Islamist group

Publication Date : 08-10-2012

 

The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reached what has been described as an unprecedented milestone with the forging of the “Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro”, which is expected to be inked on October 15.

This came about after the 32nd round of exploratory talks between the negotiating panels from both sides here from October 2 to 7.

A joint communique issued at the conclusion of the Kuala Lumpur talks said the framework agreement served as the overarching architecture for the Mindanao peace process and provided the foundation for a just and enduring peace in Mindanao.

Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who welcomed the announcement, said both sides had demonstrated their desire to end the decades of violence, and commended their efforts to come to an agreement despite their differences.

“I also reserve special praise for President (Benigno) Aquino for his unwavering commitment to a durable peace in the Philippines.

“I am delighted that through this historic deal, the rights, dignity and future prosperity of the Bangsamoro people will be protected, while at the same time the sovereignty and constitution of the Philippines will be preserved,” he said in a statement.

Najib said he was honoured that Malaysia had been able to facilitate the talks since 2001, and lead the International Monitoring Team from 2004.

“In honouring a promise I made to the President, I look forward to travelling to Manila to personally witness the signing of this landmark agreement,” he added.

Philippines government representative Marvic Leonen said a transition commission would be formed to draft laws for the Bangsamoro for approval.

The commission will tentatively oversee five provinces, three cities and six municipalities, with room for additional municipalities to be included following local elections in 2013, he told a press conference.

The joint communique on the peace agreement, witnessed by Malaysian facilitator Tengku Ab Ghafar Tengku Mohamed, was signed by Leonen on behalf of the Philippine government and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

In Sepang, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he did not want to take credit for the peace agreement.

“I'm very glad Malaysia, the Philippine government and the people involved have agreed to a settlement,” he said after the Proton Green Mobility Challenge 2012 prize-giving ceremony.

 

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