Philippine Government and Rebels Agreed on Peace Accord


On Saturday, the Philippine government and Muslim rebels agreed on a peace accord to end the insurgency. The two groups finalized the details, and many people hope this peace accord will end more than 40 years of violence. The agreement will create a self-governing Muslim region south of the predominantly Christian country, giving the responsibility for security to local authorities and a large share of revenue from the regions’s wealth of natural resources. The militants agreed to disarm, and many are expected to join the Philippine security force.

There are many challenges to keeping the peace because militant groups have declined to join the agreement. The reconciliation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is considered an achievement for President Benigno S. Aquino III. Mr. Aquino promised to end the conflicts on the island of Mindanao that has beset the Philippines for over a century. The conflict has also crippled their ability to expand its economy. Thus, the Muslim rebels agreed on a peace accord with the Philippine government.

Richard Heydarian, a political science lecturer at Ateneo de Manila University acknowledged that the agreement represents the climax of agonizing diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the conflict in Mindanao. He also stated the agreement provides an opportunity to end one of the world’s longest-running conflicts. The militant groups left out of the agreement are the most violent people in southern Philippines. The groups are known for beheadings, kidnappings and bombings.

Sources say the peace accord is expected to be signed within the next couple of weeks, but analysts consider it to be just a common procedure. Analysts speculate the true test will be in its implementation. The reason they feel this way is because back in 1996 another peace deal was made to the Muslim groups, and it failed because of the widespread corruption at that time. United States Secretary of State John Kerry congratulated the two groups for negotiation towards a historic agreement. Kerry also noted the peace agreement will bring peace, economic prosperity and security now and for future generations.

The conflict between Muslim rebel groups and the Christian government has died down since the late 1800’s. Every government since Philippine independence in 1946 has struggled to resolve violence. In recent decades, the violence has claimed about 120,000 lives and displaced more than two million people. The conflict has also kept the region in poverty. A presidential adviser on peace talks stated he is grateful his country was able to find peaceful solutions.

Sources say the Philippine government and the Muslim rebel group have been working on a peace agreement since October 2012. Meanwhile, other agreements were established between the two groups. One agreement is the national government will have the authority over national defense, monetary issues and foreign policy while the newly formed self-governing region will have broad local powers. The two groups also agreed that 75 percent of the tax revenue from metallic minerals will stay in Mindanao.

The Philippine government and Muslim rebels have agreed on a peace accord to end decades of conflict. The two groups have been discussing the agreement for about two years, and other government officials hope this agreement will bring security.

By Bridget Cunningham

New York Times
BBC News Asia

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