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Philippines peace drive a step in right direction.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino's push to Congress to swiftly enact a law creating a Muslim autonomous area in the south, of what is predominantly a Roman Catholic country, will script a fresh chapter in the cessation of hostilities between the state and rebels of that region. The two parties, locked in conflict for decades, signed a peace pact in March this year to cease hostilities. More than 200,000 people have been killed, two million displaced and development in the region, famous for its natural resources, has been stunted.

To their credit, the decision by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Milf), the main rebel group, to lay down their weapons and opt for governance over the economy and society in the Bangsamoro area is a step in the right direction. The seeds for a sustainable and stable future are set to be sown should Congress approve this pathbreaking solution and, to this end, it is not surprising that Aquino wants to put things in place before his term ends in 2016.

However, both the government and rebels must be practical in their approach and prepare to cement the pitfalls that may lie ahead by having a broader, peaceful vision for the future.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Sep 13, 2014
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