World Bulletin / News Desk
After 13 years of talks, which nearly broke down at one point, the final agreement of the Malaysia-brokered peace deal for the southern Philippines is ready.
The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) will be signed between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), with Malaysia being the official witness at the ceremony.
“Everything is ready and waiting to be signed either later this month or in March,” a source told the Star online with direct knowledge of the matter.
As the facilitator to the peace process, Malaysia had hosted 43 rounds of talks since 2001 to help both parties end one of the world’s longest-running insurgencies that had claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four decades.
The peace process nearly derailed in 2008 when the Philippine Supreme Court overturned an agreement on ancestral domain that both sides had inked, causing armed hostilities to flare up. The talks resumed three years later.
In October 2012, both sides signed a framework agreement in Manila, witnessed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak..
“The next step will be to complete the drafting of a Basic Law (Constitution) for the autonomous region,” said the source, adding it was being drafted by a 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission made up of eight MILF representatives and seven from the Philippine government.