Aquino speeds up Mindanao development

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Aquino
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has made an historic visit to the rebel stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the southern island of Mindanao, calling for withstanding peace.

The landmark visit, a first by any contemporary Philippine president, was done in an effort to speed up the reconciliation process of one of Asia’s longest and bloodiest insurgencies by launching social welfare programmes for Muslim Moro communities.

“We have to speed up everything we are doing now to make this [peace] permanent,” Aquino said on a stage alongside MILF Chief Murad Ebrahim just outside the rebels’ main base, Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao.

International and local business communities have long shunned the southern island of Mindanao as a conflict-ridden, no-go zone.

Severe security issues and poor energy and transport infrastructure are among the greatest barriers to developing the island known as the Philippines’ rice bowl, a title earned from its highly fertile agricultural lands.

Mindanao is also a bastion of natural resources that could be utilised to quickly develop its energy infrastructure, which is poor in comparison to Luzon, causing the island to be persistently plagued by brown outs. Transport connectivity is also extremely neglectful, making it hard for industries to access other cities on the island.

However, the island is rich in minerals and is the home to one of the world’s largest gold/copper deposits, critically located in South Cotabato province, which borders MILF’s base.

The Aquino administration signed a peace framework agreement with the 12,000-strong MILF rebel group in October 2012, precipitating a wave of investment, namely from Malaysia.

Mindanao’s population is largely Muslim in otherwise Catholic Philippines.

An estimated 150,000 people have died in the conflict with Muslim rebels, although a ceasefire in place since 2003 has largely held.

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has made an historic visit to the rebel stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the southern island of Mindanao, calling for withstanding peace.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Aquino
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has made an historic visit to the rebel stronghold of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in the southern island of Mindanao, calling for withstanding peace.

The landmark visit, a first by any contemporary Philippine president, was done in an effort to speed up the reconciliation process of one of Asia’s longest and bloodiest insurgencies by launching social welfare programmes for Muslim Moro communities.

“We have to speed up everything we are doing now to make this [peace] permanent,” Aquino said on a stage alongside MILF Chief Murad Ebrahim just outside the rebels’ main base, Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao.

International and local business communities have long shunned the southern island of Mindanao as a conflict-ridden, no-go zone.

Severe security issues and poor energy and transport infrastructure are among the greatest barriers to developing the island known as the Philippines’ rice bowl, a title earned from its highly fertile agricultural lands.

Mindanao is also a bastion of natural resources that could be utilised to quickly develop its energy infrastructure, which is poor in comparison to Luzon, causing the island to be persistently plagued by brown outs. Transport connectivity is also extremely neglectful, making it hard for industries to access other cities on the island.

However, the island is rich in minerals and is the home to one of the world’s largest gold/copper deposits, critically located in South Cotabato province, which borders MILF’s base.

The Aquino administration signed a peace framework agreement with the 12,000-strong MILF rebel group in October 2012, precipitating a wave of investment, namely from Malaysia.

Mindanao’s population is largely Muslim in otherwise Catholic Philippines.

An estimated 150,000 people have died in the conflict with Muslim rebels, although a ceasefire in place since 2003 has largely held.

 

 

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