Philippines to sign peace plan with Muslim rebels
MANILA (AFP) - The biggest Muslim rebel group in the Philippines is set to sign a landmark peace plan with the government on Monday aimed at ending a decades-long insurgency in which 150,000 people have died.
President Benigno Aquino is due to host Moro Islamic Liberation Front chief Murad Ebrahim at the presidential palace to oversee the signing of the accord, which outlines steps towards a final resolution to the conflict by 2016.
The United Nations, the United States and other countries have welcomed the roadmap, achieved after 15 years of on-again, off-again negotiations between the MILF and various Philippine administrations, as a rare chance for peace.
Under the plan, the 12,000-strong MILF would give up its quest for an independent homeland in the southern Philippine region of Mindanao in return for significant power in a new autonomous region there.