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Published: Monday February 17, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday February 17, 2014 MYT 2:41:17 PM

Manila and MILF to sign deal

EXCLUSIVE

PETALING JAYA: After 13 years of talks, which nearly broke down at one point, the final agreement of the Malaysia-brokered peace deal for the southern Philippines is ready.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will be signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with Malaysia being the official witness at the ceremony.

“Everything is ready and waiting to be signed either later this month or in March,” said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

As the facilitator to the peace process, Malaysia had hosted 43 rounds of talks since 2001 to help both parties end one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies that had claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four decades.

The peace process nearly derailed in 2008 when the Philippine Supreme Court overturned an agreement on ancestral domain that both sides had inked, causing armed hostilities to flare up. The talks resumed three years later.
In October 2012, both sides signed a framework agreement in Manila, witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The framework paved the way for negotiations on four “annexes” or key aspects of a planned fully autonomous region known as Bangsamoro, across the Sabah border.
The annexes are on transitional arrangements and modalities; revenue generation and wealth sharing; power sharing; and normalisation of civil life in a conflict-free environment.
Both parties completed the talks in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 25, clearing the last hurdle to the signing of the CAB.
“The next step will be to complete the drafting of a Basic Law (Constitution) for the autonomous region,” said the source, adding it was being drafted by a 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commis-sion made up of eight MILF representatives and seven from the Philippine government.
Once ratified, a Transitional Authority led by the MILF will take charge of the area until a Bangsamoro government is duly elected in 2016.
Following the election, the Bangsamoro will have a ministerial form of government led by a Chief Minister.
Its govermnment will have powers over ancestral domain and natural resources, land management, budgets and the creation of sources of revenues.

The Philippine central government will be in charge of defence, external security, foreign relations and immigration.

 

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Tags / Keywords: Government, World, Mindanao, southern philippines, bangsamoro, more islamic liberation front

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