Mar 2014

Philippines reach landmark peace deal with MILF

Malacañang Photo Bureau
Philippines reach landmark peace deal with MILF
London-based NGO played significant role in mediation support
 
After 17 years of negotiations, the Government of the Philippines will sign a historic peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Manila this Thursday on 27 March.
 
The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) follows the signing of the final annex of the Framework Agreement on 25 January and will mark the end of more than four decades of conflict in the southern Philippines. 
 
The agreement covers details of the creation of a new self-governing political entity called Bangsamoro, which replaces the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. 
 
This month is also significant with the draft Basic Law of Bangsamoro due for submission on 31 March. The Philippines hopes to put the Bangsamoro government in place before President Aquino ends his six-year term in June 2016.
 
This is the most significant peace agreement in the world since Nepal 2006. Conciliation Resources is honoured to have been able to support the parties and the Malaysian facilitator during the process. 
 
We will continue to provide further support to help the people of the Philippines make a smooth transition to a new era of peace, security and prosperity in Mindanao. 
 
Kristian Herbolzheimer, Director of Philippines programme
 
Implementing the agreement
 
The Government of the Philippines and the MILF have conducted on-off peace negotiations since 1997. These protracted negotiations have allowed an innovative  and increasingly complex peace-support architecture to develop.
 
The British government and Conciliation Resources, a UK-based peacebuilding organisation, have been closely involved in supporting the peace process as members of the International Contact Group (ICG), who has been advising and shuttling between the Government and the MILF over the past four years. It is the first Contact Group where NGOs and diplomats work together in a formal and permanent setting. 
 
The news of the signing is welcome among the different parties and groups in Mindanao, although it is acknowledged that the implementation will not be easy. Wide arms proliferation, politicians who fear change in status quo, and deep distrust between and among social and political groups in the new Bangsamoro region announce a complex and long-lasting transition process. 
 
Conciliation Resources acts as a bridge between the negotiating parties and all sections of Filipino society. Through some 200 consultations as part of an EU-funded project and a seven-month project funded by the UK government to entrench women's participation in the Basic Law of the Bangsamoro, Conciliation Resources has fed in the views of local civil society across Mindanao.
 
For more information about our various projects in the Philippines here
 
***
 
For interviews with Conciliation Resources in London or in Manila please contact: Tamanna Kalhar | Media & Communications Officer | +44 (0)7436 102 514 | tkalhar@c-r.org
 
Notes to editors
Conciliation Resources is an independent organisation working with people in conflict to prevent violence and build peace. In the Philippines, we work with all sections of 
society from grassroots communities to the political elite, enabling individuals and organisations to play a constructive, problem-solving role in developing peace. We place special emphasis on empowering women as a key approach for just a lasting peace.