March 2019
« Feb    
ASEAN ASEAN (R) ASEAN-ISIS Country (R): Indonesia Country (R): Malaysia Country (R): Myanmar Country (R): Singapore Country: ASEAN Country: Australia Country: Cambodia Country: China Country: Germany Country: India Country: Indonesia Country: Japan Country: Laos Country: Malaysia Country: Myanmar Country: North Korea Country: Philippines Country: Qatar Country: Russia Country: Singapore Country: Singapore Country: South Korea Country: Taiwan Country: Thailand Country: UK Country: US Country: USA Country: Vietnam donald trump Elections: Indonesia 2019 Elections: Thailand 2019 European Union Event: SDSWR Events: AAF Focus CH: Hong Kong Focus JP: Abenomics Focus MM: Rakhine State Focus MY: GE14 Focus SG: SG Secure Focus SG: Smart Nation Focus SG: Society Focus TH: Protests Focus UK: Brexit Fukushima Global Citizens Singapore Institute: ERIA Institute: EU Centre in Singapore Institute: SIIA Leaders: Aung San Suu Kyi Leaders: Jokowi Leaders: Kim Jong Un Leaders: Lee Hsien Loong Leaders: Lee Kuan Yew Leaders: Mahathir Mohamad Leaders: Obama Leaders: Trump Malaysia government Myanmar: NLD Nicholas Fang Oh Ei Sun Org: AIIB Org: G20 Region: Africa Region: Asia Region: Latin America Region: Middle East Reports Simon Tay Topic (Environment): Peatland Topic (Environment): Smallholders Topic (R): Belt and Road Topic (R): Business Topic (R): Digitisation Topic (R): Economy Topic (R): Green Finance Topic (R): Infrastructure Topic (R): Palm Oil Topic (R): Peatland Topic (R): Smallholders Topic (R): Sustainability Topic: Anti-Globalisation Topic: Belt and Road Topic: Business Topic: Development Topic: Digitisation Topic: E-Commerce Topic: Economics Topic: Economy Topic: Elections Topic: Environment Topic: Finance Topic: Global Citizens Topic: Globalisation Topic: Green Finance Topic: Haze Topic: Human Rights Topic: Human Trafficking Topic: Indo-Pacific Topic: Infrastructure Topic: Investment Topic: Labour Topic: Nuclear Topic: Palm Oil Topic: Race Topic: Regional Integration Topic: Religion Topic: Security Topic: Singapore-Malaysia Relations Topic: Small States Topic: SMEs Topic: Sustainability Topic: Sustainable/Green Infrastructure Topic: Trade Trade: AEC Trade: CPTPP Trade: FTA Trade: FTAAP Trade: Multilateralism Trade: RCEP Trade: TPP Trade: War Trends (Digital): Cybersecurity Trends (Digital): Data privacy Trends (Digital): Data security Trends (Digital): Digital Economy Trends (Digital): Digitisation Trends (Digital): Facebook Trends (Digital): New Media Trends (Digital): Smart Cities Trends (Environment): Air pollution Trends (Environment): Climate Change Trends (Environment): Energy Trends (Environment): Green Growth Trends (Environment): Hotspots Trends (Environment): Riau Trends (Environment): RSPO Trends (Environment): Sustainability Trends (Environment): Water Trends (Globalisation): ASEAN Citizens Trends (Globalisation): Populism Trends (Globalisation): Workers Rights Trends (Security): South China Sea Trends (Security): Terrorism Trends (Social): Demographics Trends (Social): Diversity United States WTO

From peace deal to real peace: Long road ahead for southern Philippines


08 Aug From peace deal to real peace: Long road ahead for southern Philippines

In his recent address to the Congress – televised to the nation, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III gave his administration a pat on the back for having concluded a historic peace accord with the militant Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in March. He also assured that the government was making steady headway on the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a prerequisite to the establishment of the new Bangsamoro political entity in the country’s predominantly Muslim south.

The administration has high hopes for the growth potential of the prospective Bangsamoro region, which sits on considerable mineral and agricultural wealth.  But the question remains as to whether the much hyped-up peace pact will translate into real peace on the ground.

A lesson in history

If history is any indicator, the peace process will be much more complex than the one President Aquino has painted.

In a similar bid at reconciliation, the Philippine government in 1989 authorised the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Only four of seventeen provinces and cities opted in then. Instead of bringing peace, the deal further polarised the Muslim movement, leading some factions  that favoured independence over autonomy to break away from the broader secular nationalist Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) movement.

The militant MILF had broken away from MNLF even before the ARMM’s creation. Another splinter group was Abu Sayyaf, notorious for their vicious tactics and high-profile kidnappings.  Just a few hours before President Aquino’s televised address, Abu Sayyaf militants again wreaked havoc in the south, opening fire on civilians on their way to celebrate the end of Ramadan and killing more than 20.

Neutralising extremist elements

Ironically, the MILF is facing the same cards that it dealt no more than four decades ago. While its war-weary faction was looking for negotiation, the uncompromising ones had splintered yet again. The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was one such group.

If the Philippine government aims to achieve real peace on the ground, it must thus contain the extremist elements. The Abu Sayyaf attacks, which saw Muslim militants killing Muslim civilians, reveal a growing fragmentation in the Islamist movement between the moderates and radicals. Exploiting these fissures would allow the government to limit the strength of splinter groups.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons