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Timeline: The Mindanao Peace Process

/ 05:49 AM April 26, 2012

2011

AUG. 4—President Benigno Aquino III secretly meets Moro International Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Murad Ebrahim in Tokyo. They agree to speed up the peace negotiations.

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Aug. 9—The MILF posts an editorial on its website, insisting on its proposal that a Moro substate be formed in Mindanao. It says: “Let the Moros run their affairs. Let them decide their own destiny. Let them succeed or self-destruct. Gone [are] the days when the government in Manila designed everything for them.”

Aug. 22—Government and MILF negotiators hold exploratory talks in Kuala Lumpur. The government presents its proposal for “enhanced” autonomy through massive reforms to be undertaken with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The government also demands that the MILF disarm and allow its fighters to be absorbed back into mainstream society.

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Aug. 23—The MILF rejects the government offer and insists on a Moro substate. Murad stresses that the MILF will not sign an agreement that would not solve the Bangsamoro aspiration for self-rule and right to self-determination.

Oct. 6—The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports that the MILF has submitted a new proposal to the government. In the proposal, the MILF maintains its original position for the creation of a Moro substate.

Oct. 18—Despite an existing ceasefire, MILF forces clash with government troops in Al-Barka, Basilan, killing 19 soldiers. Six rebels are killed. Both groups blame each other for the attack. MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal says a Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team will investigate the incident. The findings will be discussed upon the resumption of peace talks.

Oct. 21—Seven people are killed in another clash between MILF forces and the military in Zamboanga Sibugay. Despite calls for him to launch an all-out war against the MILF, President Aquino instructs the military not to launch offensive operations in Al-Barka. But he gives the go signal for the military to pursue criminals in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Oct. 23—Suspected MILF guerrillas strike in Basilan and Lanao del Norte, killing five civilians and two soldiers.

Oct. 24—President Aquino declares an “all-out justice” instead of an all-out war for the slain soldiers. The Air Force starts an air and ground operation against MILF “rogue elements” in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay. MILF spokesperson Von Al Haq denounces the military operations as a violation of the ceasefire agreement.

Nov. 3—The government and MILF panels hold informal talks in Kuala Lumpur and agree to continue the investigations on  Al-Barka clash.

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Dec. 5—Peace talks resume in Kuala Lumpur. At the end of the three-day talks, both parties agree on 11 basic points that largely center on defining “genuine autonomy” for the Moro people. They also agree to extend the mandate of international ceasefire monitors until 2013 despite recent clashes.

2012

Jan. 9—The peace panels meet in Kuala Lumpur and tackle details of the autonomy set-up.

Feb. 13—In another round of peace talks, Iqbal says the Aquino administration has given its nod to a parliamentary form of government for the Moro people. He says the negotiations are moving forward although there are still disagreements on several issues like wealth-sharing, territory and power-sharing.

March 19—Both panels meet again in Kuala Lumpur, but Marvic Leonen, chief government negotiator, says both parties are approaching a stalemate, but does not give details.

April—Speaking before a gathering of political scientists in Cagayan de Oro City, Iqbal says a “forthcoming breakthrough” in the negotiations can only be achieved if the “government sees the light of our proposal for a state-substate asymmetrical arrangement and adopt it.” He adds that a peace agreement with the government “can only happen if the MILF agrees to its formula or it agrees to ours.”  Lawrence de Guzman, Inquirer Research

Source: Inquirer Archives

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