Filipino government officials and Muslim rebel leaders signed a landmark peace deal Monday aimed at ending a long-running insurgency in the nation's troubled south.
The provisional accord paves the way for a new autonomous region to be administered by Muslims in Mindanao, according to President Benigno Aquino III, who met with the rebels at the presidential palace in Manila.
"Today, we sign a framework agreement that can finally seal a genuine, lasting peace in Mindanao," Aquino said in a speech.
The deal sets up mechanisms to tackle issues such as power structure and revenues in the southern region, which will be named Bangsamoro. The new region is expected to replace the current one by 2016, when the president's term ends, according to officials.
The Moro Islamic Liberation Front has fought for decades to set up an independent Islamic state in southern Philippines, having been blamed for a host of attacks and skirmishes that have left tens of thousands dead.FULL STORY