World Bulletin / News Desk
The southern Philippines’ Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao celebrated its 25th anniversary Friday, possibly the last if Congress goes ahead with the creation of the Bangsamoro government.
The autonomous region, known as the ARMM, was established by plebiscite in 1989 but could be replaced next year by a new political entity based on the peace deal between President Benigno Aquino III and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, once the turbulent south’s largest guerilla group.
The draft Bangsamoro Basic Law is currently going through Congress. The deal, signed two years ago, ended a decades-old armed conflict in the southern area of Mindanao and allowed for a new autonomous region in the Muslim-majority south to replace the ARMM, described by Aquino as a “failed experiment.”
It will give the Moro people greater political and economic autonomy, including the transfer of law enforcement from the army to the Bangsamoro police, guaranteed policial and human rights as well as the gradual decommissioning of the Front’s weapons.
The Front will lead the new entity and envisages a territory incorporating Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, on the Mindanao mainland, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Speaking at the launch of the three-week commemoration of the anniversary, Governor Mujiv Hataman said: “We are looking forward to a good take off of the Philippine government-MILF peace agreement.
“We shall vacate our posts feeling proud that we have done a lot of improvements in terms of governance, particularly in the implementation of very costly infrastructure projects.”
The anniversary coincides with Karimul Makdum Day marking the arrival in the 14th century of Arab Muslim missionary Makdum.Last Mod: 07 Kasım 2014, 17:18