Manila's Aquino urges Congress to push ahead with Muslim autonomous region

  • World
  • Friday, 27 Mar 2015

President Benigno Aquino reads his speech through a teleprompter during a graduation ceremony of police cadets at the Philippine National Police academy in Silang, Cavite south of Manila March 26, 2015. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Friday urged lawmakers to resume debating a proposed law on an autonomous territory in the Muslim south, in a bid to end a 45-year conflict that has killed 120,000 people.

The two-chamber Congress suspended deliberations on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law that will grant self-rule to the Moro minority after 44 police commandos died in a clash with Muslim rebels on Jan. 25.

"If the proposed bill is lacking, it can be addressed by pushing through with the debates on it," Aquino told a national television address.

"I do not pursue peace just to add to my legacy. What we are pursuing is a genuine peace that truly addresses the roots of the problems that led to violence."

Aquino has called for a national peace summit comprising community leaders including Manila's Roman Catholic archbishop, a retired judge, and a wealthy businessman to "dissect the proposed law in a calm and reasonable manner".

Last year, Manila promised to allow the country's largest Muslim rebel group, Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a one-year transition period to rule a Bangsamoro area before elections in May 2016. That is no longer feasible as the law creating the autonomous area has so far failed to get approval.

MILF leader al haj Ebrahim Murad told Reuters in an interview this month the rebel group would not accept a new autonomous law short of what the two sides had already agreed and signed. Malaysia brokered the deal.

(Reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 0
Subscribe now to our Premium Plan for an ad-free and unlimited reading experience!

Next In World

Turkey's Erdogan signals Finland's NATO bid may be considered over Sweden
Tanzania embarks on program to eliminate leprosy by 2030
S. African president says electricity crisis continues to undermine economic growth
Tyre Nichols' death must galvanize efforts to reform police: family attorney
Three killed by Russian shelling of Kherson - officials
Lebanon's top Christian cleric says judge probing port blast must be allowed to pursue truth
Liechtenstein votes resoundingly against banning casinos
Catholics from eastern Congo make cross-country journey to meet pope
Tearful mourners remember British volunteer killed in eastern Ukraine
Strikes over pensions to disrupt public transport in France on Tuesday

Others Also Read