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Aquino travels to rebel stronghold


12:46 PM February 11th, 2013

February 11th, 2013 12:46 PM

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has traveled to a Muslim rebel stronghold in the country’s south to jointly launch with top guerrillas projects aimed at improving life in the area and bolstering the prospects of a peace deal.

Hundreds of soldiers, police and Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters guarded Monday’s ceremony in Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao province, which has a recent history of major battles between troops and insurgents, who were at times suspected to have been aided by al-Qaida-linked extremists.

Under the new project, Aquino’s government is pledging to provide health insurance, assistance in finding jobs and funding for schools for rebel families.

The Moro rebel group has been waging a rebellion for self-rule in the south for decades.

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