Muslim rebels and the Philippine government overcame decades of bitter hostility and took their first tentative step on Monday toward ending one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies with the signing of a preliminary peace pact. The framework agreement creates a roadmap for a final peace settlement. It grants minority Muslims in the southern Philippines broad autonomy in exchange for ending more than 40 years of violence that has killed tens of thousands of people and crippled development.
The 13-page document outlines general agreements on major issues, including the extent of power, revenues and territory granted for a new Muslim autonomous region to be called Bangsamoro, in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.
The large number of army troops will gradually be replaced by a regional police, who could enlist qualified guerrillas, officials and the rebels said.
It calls for the establishment of a 15-member Transition Commission to draft a law creating the new Muslim-administered region.
Keywords: Philippines politics