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Philippines to scrap peace deal with Muslims, says government

Philippines to scrap peace deal with Muslims, says government

The Philippine government has scrapped its controversial peace deal with the country's Muslim minority after two weeks of deadly clashes in the south, the presidential palace said yesterday.
The pact signed last month between leaders of the mostly Christian nation and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front had called for a Muslim homeland to be established on the revolt-hit southern Mindanao island.
"Cancellation of the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain is a painful step," said presidential spokeswoman Lorelei Fajardo, referring to the official name of the peace agreement.
Fajardo said President Gloria Arroyo was "sensitive" to the objections of local Christian leaders, who are opposed to the agreement and have taken to the streets branding it a "sell-out."
"The president will not allow adventurism by MILF forces to pressure government to sign any agreement, even if it is for peace," she said.
In a speech yesterday, Arroyo said "the focus of our (peace) talks shall shift from armed groups to the community."
Presidential adviser Gabriel Claudio told reporters that this "shifting of focus is not abandonment of negotiations with the MILF," but that there would be more emphasis on consultation with affected communities.
On August 4, the Philippine Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against the agreement following protests by several politicians who saw it as "unconstitutional."
Two rebel MILF commanders have since taken up arms, in defiance of the group's leadership, killing Christian civilians and looting and burning homes and farms.


Updated : 2021-06-20 20:27 GMT+08:00