A SECURITY analyst said on Monday that the signing of a peace deal between the Philippine Government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “will not end the decades of fighting in the restive region of Mindanao.”
“Building peace is one thing, ending internal wars is another thing.. The government is just ending armed conflicts with the MILF,” said Professor Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace and Violence Terrorism Research (PIPVTR).
Banlaoi also teaches Humanitarian and Development Studies at Mirriam College in Quezon City.
The government and MILF signed on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur the annex on the power-sharing of the proposed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro bringing closer to a final peace pact between the two sides.
Banlaoi said the fighting in Mindanao will not end with the forging of a peace-pact between the GPH and MILF.
Bigger challenges, he said, await both camps even after the peace agreement with the final pact to be signed before Aquino’s term ends on 2016.
“The greater challenge is for the central government and the proposed Bangsamoro government to effectively deal with those armed groups that have the capability to undermine the peace dividends,” Banlaoi said.
The restive region of Mindanao is a known hotbed of rebels be they communist, secessionist, militants, bandits, private armies and lawless elements.
Government forces have been battling for decades against these numerous armed groups.
“The Zamboanga City siege is an indication that signing a peace agreement with an armed group is not a guarantee to the end of armed conflict in Mindanao,” Banlaoi said.
The other non-state armed groups that continue to threaten peace and stability in Mindanao are the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf (ASG) and Jemaah Islamiya (JI), an Indonesian based terror group.
“The greatest challenge to peace building in Mindanao is the taming of wild oligarchs who maintain some non-state armed groups involved in many types of violence,” Banlaoi said.
Another militant group that came out recently in Mindanao is the Khilafa Islamiya Movement (KIM), which was tagged as behind Cagayan de Oro City bombing that killed four people and injures scores of others.
Security forces have also monitored the emergence of two new militant groups in Mindanao, the “Anak Ti Ilo” and the “Young Jihadist Goup” (YJG), whose members were relatives or orphans of Moro rebels and ASG bandits killed in fighting with government security forces.