Philippines to compensate Muslim war victims, resume talks

The new Philippine government will resume peace talks with Muslims, but will review the structure of the process, Aquino's peace adviser said.

Philippines to compensate Muslim war victims, resume talks

The Philippines will set up a compensation fund for thousands of people displaced by deadly fighting between troops and Muslim fighters in 2008, President Benigno Aquino's peace adviser said on Thursday.

The new Philippine government will resume peace talks with Muslims and Maoist-led guerrillas, but will review the structure of the process, the official overseeing the issue said.

The administration of President Benigno Aquino III would set up a fund in the next 100 days to help those displaced by fighting on the southern island of Mindanao, Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles told reporters.

Potential donors from the international community have already expressed interest in contributing to the pool of money, although the specifics of the fund have yet to be worked out, Teresita Deles told reporters.

"(The fund) will be spent on housing, immediate livelihood and of course on health problems still lingering and whatever else is needed so they have a place to go home to," Deles said.

"There is a lot of international support going to this area. Some of them (the donors) have already spoken to me."

After four decades of armed conflict between the Filipino state and the Moro Muslims, the two parties agreed to sign an agreement that would end the conflict. However, the supreme court of the Philippine declared the agreement illegal on August 4, which caused the conflict to resume.

"Negotiated political settlement"

Malaysia has been facilitating negotiations with the MILF since 2001, and there is an international peace monitoring team on Mindanao.

"Negotiated political settlement is the only way to bring real closure to armed conflicts," she said. "Clearly, the negotiations will happen."

"We want to strengthen the teams and get other stakeholders involved, including lawmakers and local officials, and avoid the past mistakes," she said.

The entire peace policy would be reviewed, she said, including the role of foreign mediators.

"We need to have clear terms of reference for the role of our foreign partners," Deles said. "I have never seen such goodwill, but we'd like to know what's the best way for these partners to help."

Deles said she had informally conveyed the government's offer to return to the negotiating table. At his inauguration on Wednesday, Aquino said he would seek a "just" settlement on Mindanao.

More than 700,000 people were displaced at the height of the fighting, triggering a humanitarian crisis.


Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Temmuz 2010, 17:06

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