World Bank, businessmen hail PH-MILF peace plan

Posted at 10/15/2012 3:51 PM | Updated as of 10/15/2012 6:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The World Bank and business groups on Monday hailed the signing of the framework agreement by President Benigno Aquino and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). 

The World Bank said the agreement is an important step, but more work is needed to be done to turn it into a final peace agreement that will bring peace and prosperity to Mindanao.

"The World Bank stands ready to work with the Government, MILF and other sectors of Philippine society to intensify our efforts to improve the lives of many Filipinos, particularly the poor in Mindanao, and help build the momentum for lasting peace and inclusive growth," the World Bank said. 

MILF, the biggest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines, on Monday signed the landmark peace plan with the Philippine government aimed at ending a decades-long insurgency in which 150,000 people have died.

The Makati Business Club and Management Association of the Philippines issued a joint statement, saying they believe the agreement and its process abides by the provisions of the Constitution and balances the interests of the government, MILF and Bangsamoro people.

"The signing of the Framework Agreement is but the first step in the march towards a harmonious and progressive Mindanao. The Transition Commission to be formed still faces tough negotiations ahead as it drafts and seeks Congress’ and the people’s support for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law. As we welcome the President’s intention to certify this as an urgent bill, we sincerely hope that this will truly embody the aspirations of the Bangsamoro and will indeed pave the way towards a much-deserved reemergence of the region as a center of economic and cultural activity," the MBC and MAP said. 

The business groups expressed hope the optimism for peace would lead to the development of Mindanao's economy and improvement of the lives of the Bangsamoro people.

"With this milestone in our history, we remain positive that trade and genuine development will again flourish in these areas long-scarred by conflict. As the Bangsamoro slowly takes shape as a new, yet vital, part of the Philippines, the business sector offers its full support in helping the region become politically progressive, economically vibrant, and socially inclusive," MBC and MAP said.