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Of Great Fears and Greater Hopes: The GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

By: Celeste Marie R. Cruz[*]

Pro­logue

Peace and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment have long remained elu­sive to the con­flict-torn region of Mus­lim Min­danao in the Philip­pines. Since the late 1960s, the Con­flict in Min­danao, led by a seces­sion­ist inde­pen­dence move­ment of the Islam­ic minor­i­ty in a pre­dom­i­nant­ly Catholic coun­try,[1] has led to an enor­mous loss of life and suf­fer­ing, claim­ing an esti­mat­ed 120,000 lives and dis­plac­ing more than 2 mil­lion peo­ple.[2] The ongo­ing peace process between the Gov­ern­ment of the Repub­lic of the Philip­pines (GPH), under Pres­i­dent Benig­no Aquino III, and the Moro Islam­ic Lib­er­a­tion Front (MILF) reached a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone with the sign­ing of the Frame­work Agree­ment on the Bangsamoro[3] (Frame­work) last Octo­ber 15, 2012. The Frame­work seeks to estab­lish a “fed­er­al” type of sub-state in the said region[4] that is cur­rent­ly under the juris­dic­tion of the Autonomous Region in Mus­lim Min­dano (ARMM).

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