Philippines: Sustainable peace with MILF ‘takes time’

Yes, it will take time. I’ll tell you how long it will take :

Muslim (1:33) – Muhammad said:  I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, that Muhammad is his prophet.

There is heaps more where that came from, and the people who believe this take their ‘religion’ seriously. In the meantime, the Christians of the Phillippines and the dimbulbs who govern them ignore those teachings and can’t be bothered to read the war-manual of the Mohammedans.

Declaration of War

The signing of a peace deal on March 27 between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels brings hope but difficulties remain

mindanao-milf(These “remaining difficulties” can be found in Koran, sira and hadith. More can be found in 1400 years of Mohammedan history. The signing of so called peace treaties is an exercise in futility, because any treaty with unbelievers is worthless.)

The government of the Philippines chief negotiator says an agreement aimed at bringing peace to the country’s Muslim south is just the first step in a move from armed conflict to relative peace.

Miriam Coronel Ferrer told the Anadolu Agency that the agreement, to be signed between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels March 27, is a breakthrough after four decades of fighting. (Delusional. Here, like in Israel, we will see one faction of clever Muselmaniacs receive the jiziya while another, or many others, keep fighting the kafirs.)

“We will be able to bring about institutions that will deliver good governance to give people enough confidence in this process we are putting forward. But that kind of sustainable peace takes time,” she told the AA at her office in Manila, the country’s capital.

The chair of the group monitoring the process, Alistair MacDonald, said that prospects for peace are now greater than ever.

“Both sides are increasingly realizing the tragedy of the conflict and the potential of Mindanao for the whole of the Philippines,” he said.

Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippines and is in the south of the country. It has huge untapped deposits of oil, gas and mineral resources, estimated to be worth around $312 billion.

Parts of southwestern Mindanao are home to a sizeable Muslim population, making the island the only area of the Philippines with significant Muslim presence.

The Muslim minority in part of Mindanao — known as the Moros — launched an armed struggle for their ancestral homeland in the south. After 15 years of stop-start peace talks, the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have agreed to form a new autonomous region in the south before 2016.

Coronel-Ferrer, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, has led the peace panel tasked to conclude negotiations with MILF.

Since the 1970s, the MILF and several other armed groups have supported a rebellion aimed at achieving independence for the country’s predominantly Muslim south, determined to earn what their leaders term “a better life” for the predominantly Catholic country’s Muslim population.

The agreement represents the culmination of diplomatic efforts aimed at ending conflict in Mindanao. It hopes to end a fighting that began in the 1970s and killed at least 120,000 people, mostly civilians. The violence has also left large parts of the country’s fertile southern region mired in poverty.

Natural resources

Under the agreement, the Bangsamoro political entity will receive 75 percent of earnings from natural resources and metallic minerals mined in the proposed autonomous region.

Stressing that all negotiations are give and take, Ferrer told the AA that such issues as taxes for the region took a lot of time to settle.

“This is very important because we know that the heart of the aspiration for the autonomous governance is the issues that related to natural resources,” she added.

Among those who haven’t signed up to the process are the region’s second largest rebel group — the Moro National Liberation Front — who claim that the agreement is destined for failure.

Ferrer calls such comments “propaganda,” saying that “MNLF leaders don’t want to lose the kind of privileges they enjoyed in the past.”

“They were given their chance before and they have failed,” she added.

In 1996, a deal was agreed with the MNLF but hundreds of its fighters continued the armed struggle, accusing the government of reneging on a promise to develop an autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao.

Habib Hashim Mudjahab, head of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, has said that the present deal serves as the nail in the coffin of the 1996 peace agreement.

Mohagher Iqbal, MILFS’ chief negotiator, says the chance of success is “greater than any time in the past.”

“We are very close to peace but signing any agreement is not the end,” he said. “It’s just a piece of paper and it needs to be implemented.”

Iqbal said that his group is in the process of reaching out to breakaway group the Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters (BIFF) that oppose the agreement.

“We are telling BIFF that if you want independence then join us,” he said. “We have tried for more than 40 years, but (with no peace) we have to change tactics now. BIFF can continue to try the old tactics but I don’t think they can achieve what they want right now.”

Ferrer said that as the signing date nears, the greatest challenge is security.

“The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has to convince its opponents of the wisdom of political process. So, we won’t encounter serious difficulties as far as the decommissioning of MILF members is concerned,” Ferrer said.

She added that the process needed to provide incentives to stop further rebellion or criminality that might undermine peace.

The cardinal of Mindanao, Orlando Quevedo, has said that the Philippines’ government has neglected both Muslims and Christians in the south of the country for too long, but he is now optimistic about peace.

He said although a number of questions still need to be answered the agreement was very reassuring for the region’s Christian minority.

AA