Gov't, MILF to sign comprehensive peace pact on March 27

Posted at 03/15/2014 10:15 AM

MANILA -- The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will sign the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said.

According to Deles, the signing marks the beginning of enduring peace and progress in Mindanao following 17 years of negotiations.

She said the agreement will benefit not only the people of Mindanao but the entire country as well.

"After 17 long years of arduous negotiations, we are finally arriving at a political settlement that will seal enduring peace and progress in Mindanao," she said.

"The signing of the CAB is expected to benefit not only the Bangsamoro but the entire country, and will radiate beyond our borders to the regional community, and perhaps the whole world," she added.

The terms of the deal, completed in January after drawn-out talks, would see the MILF disband its 12,000-member guerrilla force and share power with Manila in the Muslim south of the mainly Catholic nation.

After the peace deal signing, Aquino is to ask parliament to pass a "basic law" creating a Muslim self-rule area covering 10 percent of the country's land, with its own police force, parliament and power to levy taxes.

The political entity would replace one created after a 1996 peace treaty with a rival Muslim guerrilla faction called the Moro National Liberation Front, but which the Aquino government deemed a failure.

The law will be ratified in a regional referendum, and the region would then elect its own parliament in May 2016, coinciding with the next presidential election to elect Aquino's successor. -- With Agence France-Presse