Deal agreed with Muslim rebels


The Philippine government and Muslim rebels agreed a deal to end a 40-year conflict that has killed more than 120,000 people, President Benigno Aquino said yesterday, paving the way for a political and economic revival of the country’s troubled south.

The agreement begins a roadmap to create a new autonomous region in the south of the mainly Catholic country before the end of Mr Aquino’s term in 2016, giving the Muslim-dominated area greater political powers and more control over resources.

Expectations are high that after nearly 15 years of violence-interrupted talks, both the government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group will keep their pledges in the agreement, to be signed on October 15th. The new entity, whose exact size will be decided by plebiscites ahead of elections in 2016, will be called Bangsamoro – the term for those who are native to the region. – (Reuters)