Peace pact won’t end fighting in Mindanao – security analyst

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A security analyst said Monday the signing of a peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will not end the decades-old fighting in Mindanao.

The two sides signed on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur the power-sharing annex of the proposed Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, a step closer to a final peace pact.

Prof. Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of the Philippine Institute for Peace and Violence Terrorism Research (PIPVTR), said the fighting in Mindanao will not end with the forging of a peace pact.

“Building peace is one thing, ending internal wars is another thing.. The government is just ending armed conflicts with the MILF,” said by Banlaoi who also teaches Humanitarian and Development Studies at Miriam College in Quezon City.


He said bigger challenges lie ahead for the government and MILF panels even after they signed a final peace agreement before the term President Benigno Aquino 3rd ends in 2016.

“The greater challenge is for the central government and the proposed Bangsamoro Government to effectively deal with armed groups that have the capability to undermine the peace dividends,” Banlaoi said.

Mindanao is a hotbed of rebels, militants, bandits, private armies and lawless elements.

“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.

Other 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 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 group that emerged 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 two more 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 Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in clashes with government forces.

ANTHONY VARGAS

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