Gov't-MILF peace talks timeline

Posted at 01/25/2014 6:32 PM | Updated as of 01/26/2014 1:32 PM

1996 - Ramos administration

Start of the negotiations between Philippine government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)

1997

July 18 – The Agreement for General Cessation of Hostilities was signed (soft copy of the actual file can be viewed here).

1999 - Estrada administration

October 25 – After peace talks started in Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao, President Joseph Estrada gave an ultimatum that the negotiation must be finished by June 2000.

March 21 – An “all-out war” was declared by the Estrada administration against the MILF, which immediately withdrew from the peace talks.

2001 - Arroyo administration

March 24 – Presidential adviser on the peace process Eduardo Ermita and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) vice-chair for military affairs Al Haj Murad Ebrahim sign the Agreement of the General Framework for the Resumption of peace talks between the GPH and MILF. Malaysia assists in the peace talks by brokering between the two parties.

March 31 – President Arroyo signs Republic Act 9054, an amendment of Republic Act 6734. The act aims to strengthen and expand the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

June 22 – The ancestral domain aspect of the GPH-MILF Tripoli Agreement is signed in Libya. The following day, the military attacks the MILF in Basilan due to allegations that the latter is helping the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group, which was then keeping a number of American and Filipino hostages in Basilan.

August 2 – Six municipalities in Lanao del Norte vote for inclusion in ARMM. These municipalities are Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan, and Tangkol.

August 14 – The people of North Cotabato vote against the plebiscite and refuse to be included in ARMM.

October 29 – The MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) hold unity talks. The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996 under the Ramos administration.

November 26 – Former MNLF governor Nur Misuari starts a rebellion in Sulu and Zamboanga City, derailing the ARMM elections.

2002

January 7 – Misuari is deported from Sabah, Malaysia and faces rebellion charges in the country.

May 6 – The fourth round of formal peace talks between the government and the MILF begins.

2003

February 11 – A military campaign is launched in the Muslim village of Buliok during the end of the Hajj. This offends the MILF and other Muslims, igniting a clash between the two parties that lasted for a week.

April 2 – Davao is bombed twice and grenades are hauled in three mosques. The government blames the MILF for these commotions. The latter denies the allegations.

May 6 – President Arroyo cancels peace talks.

July 13 – MILF chair Salamat Hashim dies of a heart attack and Ebrahim Murad takes over. Mohagher Iqbal becomes the chairman of the MILF peace panel.

July 19 – In peace talks in Kuala Lumpur, the government and the MILF panels agree on “mutual cessation of hostilities.” The Abaya Doctrine, or the AFP guidelines on the primacy of the GPH-MILF peace process, is formulated.

September 5 – Exploratory peace talks in Kuala Lumpur yield the following: 1) gradual pull-out of the troops in Buliok; 2) deployment of the Third Party Monitoring Team to Mindanao; 3) formation of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG); and 4) ancestral domain is set as next agenda for the peace talks.

2004

January 18 – Sixty peace monitors from Malaysia, Brunei, and Libya are deployed to Mindanao to monitor the five-year truce between the two parties. Malaysia sends 41 unarmed soldiers.

December 20 – The discussion on ancestral domain, the last of the three major agenda items, is divided into four strands: concept, territory, resources, and governance.

2005

April 16 – The seventh round of exploratory talks in Malaysia concludes the discussion on concept, territory, and resources.

September 17 – Silvestre Afable, head of the GPH panel, and Iqbal say the panels successfully finished the “most difficult hurdle in the ancestral domain agenda.”

2006

February 6 – Peace negotiators promise to draft an overall framework of the ancestral domain by late March.

March 6 – Malaysia cancels the peace talks between the GPH and the MILF because of the political situation in Manila. Arroyo declared a state of emergency on February 24, which was lifted a week after.

August 31 – Japan sends a delegation to Manila to talk about Japan’s contributions to the peace process.

September 3 – The peace talks between GPH and MILF resume. Difficulties in the talks arise as both parties do not agree on the areas to be placed under the Bangsamoro Judicial Entity (BJE).

2007

October 24 – Government panel chair Rodolfo Garcia and MILF peace panel chair Iqbal say in a joint statement that formal talks on ancestral domain can be finally be concluded, ending the 13-month impasse between the two parties.

November 15 – The parties agree to the scope and boundaries of the ancestral domain and affirm “all previous points of consensus on the core items of the territory issue.”

December 16 – Peace talks are stalled due to constitutional issues between the two parties. The ancestral domain negotiations reach a deadlock.

2008

April 21 – Malaysia, a member of the International Monitoring Team, starts to pull out their soldiers from Mindanao.

May 10 – Malaysian troops withdraw from Mindanao. British experts promise to help in the peace talks.

July 9 – An informal emergency meeting between the GPH and MILF is called to defuse tension between the two groups. MILF complains about the deployment of troops near their bases, claiming the move is “a clear violation of the ceasefire agreement.”

July 17 – A deal on ancestral domain of some local Muslim communities is made between the two parties in Kuala Lumpur.

July 27 – The two groups sign a joint communiqué on the Muslim ancestral domain. The MOA provides that about 700 villages in Mindanao will hold a referendum within 12 months (of the MOA signing) if they want to join the Muslim homeland. The signing of the agreement is temporarily set on August 5. Formal peace deal scheduled to be concluded in November 2009.

August 2 – Local officials from North Cotabato ask the Supreme Court to block the signing of the agreement between GPH and MILF.

August 4 – The Supreme Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order against the signing of the ancestral domain in Malaysia on August 5.

August 11 - Sen. Mar Roxas and former Senator Franklin Drilon file petitions with the Supreme Court to stop the Philippine government from concluding the MOA with the MILF.

October 14 - Supreme Court declares the MOA unconstitutional and illegal.

2009

September 15 – Signing of the Framework Agreement on the Formation of International Contact Group for the GPH-MILF Peace Process.

October 27 – The parties agree to establish the Civilian Protection Component of the peace talks.

2011 - Aquino administration

April 27 & 28 – The 21st Exploratory Talks between the parties begin.

August 4 – President Benigno S. Aquino III goes to Japan to meet with MILF Chair Murad Ebrahim. According the GPH, the move aims to “fast track the peace negotiations.”

2012

April 24 – The 27th Exploratory Talks begin. The Decision Points on Principles was signed by both parties which “recognize Bangsamoro identity and the legitimate grievances and claims of the Bangsamoro people," among others.

October 15 – The Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is signed by the MILF and GPH representatives in Malacanang Palace.

December 7 – University of the Philippines Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer is appointed new chair of the negotiating panel of the GPH. She used to serve as a senior member of the panel.

December 17 – Executive Order 120 is signed and issued by President Aquino. It orders the creation of the Transition Commission which will be in charge of drafting the Basic Law of Bangsamoro.

2013

January 21-25 – The 35th Exploratory Talks begin. Both parties agree on and sign the Terms of Reference for the Third Party Monitoring Team (full text can be read and downloaded here).

February 25-27 – The 36th Exploratory Talks begin. Both parties sign the Annex on Transitional Arrangements and Modalities which explains how the Bangsamoro will be established (official document can be read and downloaded here).

October 13 – The 41st Exploratory Talks begin in Kuala Lumpur. The parties discuss the remaining annexes on the power-sharing and normalization.

2014

January 22-26 - Peace talks with MILF resume in Malaysia. GPH hopes to seal a peace pact before by January 26 or 27.

January 25 - GPH-MILF sign annex on normalization in Malaysia, the last of the four annexes to the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.