Govt reaches deal with MILF to end rebellion

Posted at 10/07/2012 1:21 PM | Updated as of 10/07/2012 8:10 PM

PH and MILF: From ARMM will rise the ‘Bangsamoro’

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) -- The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have reached an agreement creating a new political entity in the south called “Bangsamoro.”

In a speech at around 1 p.m. on Sunday, President Benigno Aquino III said the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was “a failed experiment” that still gave rise to alienation among the Muslims.

He said the new entity, which will be called Bangsamoro, will undergo public discussions and a consequent plebiscite and elections in order that all stakeholders will have a say on the matter.

“The Constitution and lawful processes shall govern the transition to the Bangsamoro, and this agreement will ensure that the Philippines remains one nation and one people, with all of our diverse cultures and narratives seeking the common goal,” he said.
According to the President, a law concerning the matter will be drafted by a transition commission. “Any proposed law resulting from this framework will be subject to ratification through a plebiscite. Once approved, there will be elections,” he said.

The framework agreement will be published in newspapers in the coming days, which, Aquino said, will allow transparency and public discourse.

The framework agreement was arrived at in Malaysia, where the two sides have been undergoing peace talks. The agreement was arrived at also today.

“The ARMM is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun. We cannot change this without structural reform,” Aquino said in front of Cabinet members, led by Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process chief Teresita Deles.

The agreement will be signed on October 15 in Malacanang.

No more separate state for MILF – Aquino

Aquino said the name “Bangsamoro” was chosen since it symbolizes and honors the struggles of “our forebears in Mindanao.”

In a separate interview with reporters, Deles said the Bangsamoro will include those under the jurisdiction of the ARMM, six municipalities of Lanao del Norte, six municipalities of North Cotabato, Cotabato City, and Isabela City in Basilan.

Under the Bangsamoro, the MILF will no longer aspire for a separate state. He said the national government will still exercise the exclusive powers of “defense and security, foreign policy, monetary policy and coinage, citizenship and naturalization.”

As such, those who will belong to Bangsamoro will “be assured a fair and equitable share of taxation, revenues, and the fruits of national patrimony. They will enjoy equal protection of laws and access to impartial justice.”

He added: “The work does not end here. There are still details that both sides must hammer out. Promises must be kept, institutions must be fixed, and new capacities must be built nationally and regionally in order to effectively administer the Bangsamoro. The citizenry, especially the youth, must be empowered so that new leaders may emerge.”

“Malapit na ang panahon na ang gustong magbakasyon sa Pagudpud, puwede na ring sa Sulu magpunta. Magiging pareho ang kaalaman ng kabataang papasok sa eskuwela, sa Quezon City man o sa Lamitan; pumunta ka man sa ospital sa Pasig o sa Patikul, magagamot ang iyong karamdaman; lalago ang iyong negosyo, sa Marikina o sa Marawi ka man mamuhunan,” the President said.