By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent
MANILA, PHILIPPINES (Worthy News)– The Philippine government signed a peace accord with that country's largest Islamist group in the hopes of ending decades of violence that killed more than 120,000, according to International Christian Concern.
More than 1,000 Filipinos had gathered at Manila's presidential palace to witness the signing of a comprehensive agreement between government negotiators and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. During the signing ceremony, President Benigno Aquino hailed the agreement as a "path that can lead to a permanent change in Muslim Mindanao."
"This agreement stands as a testament to how far trust and earnestness can move humanity forward," he said. "It shows how righteousness, reason and goodwill are the mightiest of instruments in ending conflict … those who wish to sow divisiveness for self-interest and those who continue to wield arms to pursue their own agendas — so many people have suffered for so long, so many of our stakeholders have worked so hard to arrive at this point: I will not let peace be snatched from my people."
Aquino's remark about "those who continue to wield arms to pursue their own agendas" was a thinly veiled reference to the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, an MILF splinter cell that has rejected the accord.
MILF pledged to give up its weapons in exchange for greater political autonomy in the mainly Muslim areas of the southern Mindanao region.