Philippines, Muslim Rebels Sign Preliminary Peace Plan

Posted October 15th, 2012 at 3:25 am (UTC-5)
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The Philippine government and Muslim rebels waging a decades-long separatist insurgency in the south of the country have signed a preliminary peace deal that outlines steps to end the conflict by 2016.

President Benigno Aquino and Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman Murad Ebrahim witnessed the signing ceremony Monday in the presidential palace in Manila.

Officials say the agreement specifies the extent of power, revenues and territory in the south, creating a new Muslim autonomous region called the “Bangsamoro.”

The framework, negotiated with MILF rebels in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur this month, sets up a 15-member Transition Commission, which has until 2016 to draft laws setting up the new region.

Four decades of deadly fighting in the south have killed more than 120,000 people and prevented development in the region