Kalayaan Grounds, Malacañang
27 March 2014

The Philippines is up to a new era of peace as President Benigno S. Aquino III witnessed the signing of the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after 17 years of grueling negotiations.

Before a crowd of more than 1000 people at the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacañang, the signing of the peace deal marked the start of a harmonious relationship between the government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, MILF Chairman Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim, and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles were also present in the event.

The signatories for the peace deal are Chairman of the Government Peace Panel Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Committee Mohagher Iqbal and Malaysian Facilitator Datu Abdul Ghafar Tengku Mohammed.

In his speech, President Aquino reiterated that if the goals of the nation are fulfilled, the Filipino people can expect peace, not only in Mindanao but in the whole country as well.

“Today let us commit to being more energetic advocates of this rightful path; in the coming months and years, let us exert even greater effort into making the path of peace more inclusive, inviting more to join this advocacy, and to contribute to the peaceful and progressive future that we are envisioning,” the President said.

The CAB will create a stronger political and fiscal autonomy in Muslim Mindanao as it establishes the Bangsamoro that will replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Some of its distinct features are the creation of a ministerial form of government, an enhanced revenue generation and wealth-sharing scheme, further devolution of a central government power and the decommissioning of MILF firearms and combatants in the region.

After the historic signing, President Aquino hosted a merienda cena in honor of Prime Minister Najib at the Rizal Hall.

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