May 2024
AIIB ASEAN ASEAN (R) ASEAN-ISIS Asia Big Tech CH: Hong Kong 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: South Korea Country: Taiwan Country: Thailand Country: UK Country: United States Country: US Country: USA Country: Vietnam covid-19 DE: 5G DE: Data privacy DE: Data security DE: Facebook Digitalisation Elections: Indonesia 2019 Elections: Thailand 2019 ESG: Climate Change ESG: Diversity ESG: Energy ESG: Green Finance ESG: Green Growth ESG: Haze ESG: Human Rights ESG: Modern Slavery ESG: Peatland ESG: Riau ESG: Smallholders ESG: Sustainability ESG: Sustainable/Green Infrastructure European Union Event: SDSWR Events: AAF Fukushima Global Citizens Singapore Indonesia: Jokowi Institute: ERIA Institute: SIIA JP: Abenomics Leaders: Kim Jong Un Leaders: Lee Hsien Loong Megatrends: Populism MM: Aung San Suu Kyi MM: NLD MM: Rakhine State MY: Anwar Ibrahim MY: GE14 MY: Mahathir Mohamad MY: Najib Razak New Horizons New Zealand Nicholas Fang Oh Ei Sun Recovery Region: European Union Region: Latin America Region: Middle East Reports Security: South China Sea Security: Terrorism SG: Lee Kuan Yew SG: SG Secure SG: Smart Nation SG: Society Simon Tay Sustainable infrastructure Topic (R): Belt and Road Topic (R): Business Topic (R): Digitisation Topic (R): Economy Topic (R): Green Finance Topic (R): Haze 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: Coronavirus Topic: COVID-19 Topic: Deforestation Topic: Development Topic: Digital Economy Topic: Digitisation Topic: E-Commerce Topic: Economics Topic: Economy Topic: Elections Topic: Environment Topic: ESG Topic: Finance Topic: Global Citizens Topic: Globalisation 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: Trade Trade: AEC Trade: CPTPP Trade: FTA Trade: Multilateralism Trade: RCEP Trade: TPP Trade: War Trends (Digital): Cybersecurity UK: Brexit United States US: Obama US: Trump US: Trump WEF youth

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