MANILA : Philippine President Benigno Aquino said his government reached a preliminary agreement with Muslim rebels to end a decades-long insurgency that has killed at least 100,000 people and stunted growth in the mineral-rich south.
Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim, self-styled chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, poses with MILF combatants for a photo taken in August of last year in a rebel-held area of Mindanao. (AFP Photo)
A new political group called "Bangsamoro" will take the place of the autonomous region in Mindanao, Mr Aquino said in Manila Sunday. The designation "Bangsamoro" - loosely translated as Area of the Moro, or native southerners - has been used by the MILF for years to describe their "liberated area" during the southern war.
Talks between Philippine officials and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front concluded in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, and Mr Aquino and Malaysian leader Najib Razak will witness the signing of the accord in Manila next Monday.
"This framework agreement paves the way for a final, enduring peace in Mindanao," Mr Aquino said, flanked by his cabinet. "This means that hands that once held rifles will be put to use tilling land, selling produce, manning work stations, and opening doorways of opportunity for other citizens."
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