Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The OIC and the MORO

PHASE I. CONVENTIONAL MOBILIZATION (see Appendix A for a description of the internal conflict phase scheme utilized in this chronology)

1961: Federal Sulu Representative Ombra Amilbangsa files a bill seeking the separation of the Sulu archipelago from the Philippines. (Rodil 1993, 16).

1968: Dozens of Muslim recruits who are being trained in the Philippine Armed Forces are shot after they rebel. The Muslims were apparently being prepared to promote an agitation among the people of Sabah and North Borneo to demand annexation by the Philippines (referred to as Operation Merdeka). Muslims in the south are angered by the incident, which they refer to as the "Jabidah Massacre", arguing that it is indicative of the government’s attitude toward the Moros. Military authorities assert that the soldiers rebelled as they had not been paid for several months. A congressional investigation does not press any charges. Malaysia responds by breaking off relations with the Philippines (May 1988, 53; Mercado 1984, 153-54).
In response to the massacre, a Muslim (later named Mindanao) Independence Movement is formed under the leadership of former governor Datu Udtog Matalam. The MIM issues a manifesto calling for an independent government for the Muslims of Sulu, Mindanao, and Palawan. The MIM contends that integration in the Philippines is impossible and that the government has been following a policy promoting the isolation and dispersal of Muslim communities (Rodil 1993, 16). Two other Muslim organizations are also formed: the Union of Islamic Forces and Organizations (UIFO) and Ansar El Islam.

1968-72: The Moros seek aid from the neighboring states of Malaysia and Indonesia. They concentrate their efforts upon the Sabah (region of Malaysia) government of Tun Mustapha (Heraclides 1991, 171). Heraclides asserts that the Moros cautiously limit their appeal to the Muslim world and do not deviate markedly from the positions of their Muslim supporters -- Libya, the Islamic Foreign Ministers’ Conferences, and the Islamic Secretariat (Heraclides cites George 1980, pp 224-27, 251-6). Furthermore, despite the potential for short-term gains, the Moros are careful to reject broad cooperation with the various Marxist groups in the Philippines (Heraclides 1991, 171).

1969: Around 90 young Muslims begin guerrilla training in west Malaysia. Upon their return to Mindanao and Sulu, the guerrillas, who were recruited by the MIM and the UIFO, help organize local units of the Blackshirts, the MIM’s military wing (Mercado 1984, 157). Among the 90 are Nur Misuari and others who later form the Moro National Liberation Front and its military arm, the Bangsa Moro Army (Gopinath 1991, 128).

September 1970: The Christian movement, the Illaga, (means rat) is formed. Referred to as the Magic Seven, its leadership is drawn from Cotabato. Mercado says that the organization’s original mandate of self-defense soon acquires the fanatical and hostile anti-Muslim sentiments
of its founders (1984, 157).

1970-72: There is widespread violence between Muslims and Christians, especially between the Illagas and the Blackshirts. The violence escalates in the runup to local elections in 1971. Official sources indicate that 1566 people, mostly Muslims, are killed by the end of 1971 (May 1988, 53). Furthermore, during the second half of 1971, an estimated 100,000 people are displaced from the Lanao and Cotabato regions due to Muslim-Christian clashes (Mercado 1984,)

1971: On June 19, seventy Muslims inside a mosque are massacred in Barrio Manili, Carmen, in North Cotabato. No persons are found responsible although Philippine constabulary troopers are
implicated and accused of collaboration with the Illagas (Mercado 1984, 159). In the aftermath of the June 19 massacre, Libya’s Mohmmar Qaddafi initiates a program of aid and religious activities for Muslim refugees (Gopinath 1991, 130).

Mid-1971: A special Moro assembly is held in Zamboanga City. The session is called by Nur Misuari, a former political scientist who taught at the University of Manila. The assembly consensus leads to traditional Muslim leaders being stripped of their status and legitimacy as spokesmen for the cause of the Bangsa Moro. The MIM is also dissolved. The Moro National Liberation Front, with Misuari as chairman, is officially founded to replace the previous authority structure (Mercado 1984, 159).

November 22, 1971: Thirty-five Muslims Maranaos are killed while fifty-four others wounded in a massacre at the Tacub Philippine Army checkpoint. The Maranaos were in three trucks returning from voting in a special election at Magsaysay. The soldiers are acquitted due to a "lack of sufficient evidence" (Mercado 1984, 160). Christian politicians gain further power as a result of the local elections.

1972: MNLF Chairman Misuari travels to Sabah and Libya to obtain support for the Moro movement. Libyan President Qaddafi agrees to provide funds. The MNLF establishes offices in Damascus, Jeddah, and Tehran (Gopinath 1991, 130; May 1988, 54). The Third Islamic Conference in Jeddah expresses concern about the Moro issue.

September 21, 1972: Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos imposes martial law, citing unrest in the south. May asserts that this closes off the avenue of non-violent conflict for the Moros and leads to the launching of a jihad against the government (1988, 53). Mercado says that "the declaration of martial law and the concomitant program of creating a ’New Society’ are interpreted as an imposition of a ’Christian’ totalitarian social order to subvert the Moro by depriving them of their traditional sources of livelihood and their indigenous and Islamic culture. This also precludes any struggle through peaceful means and raises selfdetermination to the forefront of the struggle" (1984, 161).

1970s: The National Council of Churches of the Philippines forms a Muslim-Christian Reconciliation Study Committee. In order to promote understanding and search for a non-violent solution, local dialogues and campaigns are held (Casino 1987, 248 cites R.D. McAmis 1983, 33-34). Further, Christian churches and religious organizations express humanitarian concern for the innocent victims of both communities (Casino 1987, 248). According to Che Man (May 1988, 54 cites W.K. Che Man 1987, 118-19.), the MNLF’s greatest achievements are consolidating the various Moro groups and in making sporadic clashes into a conventional war that for a while threatens the stability of the Marcos regime. Reports indicate that in early 1970s the MNLF has a force of 5 to 30 thousand, some of whom were trained at camps in Malaysia, Libya, Syria, Egypt, and PLO sites. May argues that the fundamental concern of the MNLF is achieving autonomy for the Muslim areas of Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan within the framework of an Islamic region (1988, 55). However, at times MNLF Chief Nur Misuari demands a separate Moro state. External Support for the Moros

At the beginning, the MNLF receives most of its funds from Libya. Lucman (1982 in May 1988, 55) says in 1972 Misuari obtains US $3.5 million from Libya. Then the MNLF also receives financial assistance from the OIC’s Solidarity Fund and logistical and material support from the Sabah government. But the MNLF begins to rely more on local support through collecting zakat (Islamic community taxes).

From 1973-75, Libya is the MNLF’s chief diplomatic and political supporter, while also providing arms and other military and financial aid. Qaddafi’s motives are officially stated as support for Islam. But Heraclides says that it is generally acknowledged that Qaddafi was seeking to enhance his image as a leader of stature of the Islamic and Arab worlds, attempting to replace Nasser who died in 1970, and to extend his own influence and further the "world revolutionary struggle" (Heraclides 1991, 174).

Tun Mustapha of Sabah supplies aid to the Moros partly out of sympathy for the Muslim cause, and also because Sabah is facing severe manpower and labor shortages. Therefore, the government accommodates the Moros who flee the Philippines after martial law in 1972 and after the destruction of Jolo in 1978. The 1980 Malaysian census indicated that there were 47,400 Filipino Muslims in Sabah (Gopinath 1991, 131). Suhrke and Noble also state that Mustapha has harbored animosity against the Philippines since it announced its claim to Sabah in 1962. They refer to him as a Muslim zealot. Aid to the Moro from Sabah largely ends when Mustapha is forced to resign in 1985. This means that the Moros lose their main supply route (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 184). Malaysia is apparently responsible for military and other forms of aid from 1968-1972. This is partly due to the role of Sabah which continues its assistance. After 1972, Malaysia does not want to offend Manila, a member of ASEAN and to create difficulties in the OIC. There are reports of a quid pro quo arrangement: in return for Manila renouncing its claims to Sabah, Malaysia is supposed to cease Malaysian or Sabahan aid to the MNLF. This reportedly occurs through the good offices of Indonesia’s Suharto, upon Marcos’ initiative (Heraclides 1991, 173 cites George 1980, 409,420). However, Suhrke and Noble (1977, 190) indicate that this Indonesian arrangement was not accepted, especially by Malaysia. Malaysia never publicly admits that it is giving aid to the Moros. At Islamic Conferences, it calls for non-interference in the internal affairs of the Philippines but it also does not stop Mustapha from supplying assistance, perhaps fearing that Sabah would secede (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 184).

Indonesia generally follows a path of non-interference. There are some reports however that aid is given to the Moros by the governor of Makassar. But Indonesia officially favors limited autonomy, not independence. It offers to mediate the conflict as well as Philippine-Malaysian relations (Heraclides 1991, 174). Indonesia’s position likely reflects its own experience with Muslim movements in the 1950s and 1960s. It is primarily concerned with promoting regional stability. As of 1977, Indonesia does not consider itself an Islamic state and so it is not formally linked with the Islamic Secretariat, attending meetings only by invitation. At the Islamic meetings, Indonesia consistently takes a pro-Philippine stance, asking Libya not to interfere in the dispute (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 190).

There appears to be no visible involvement by ASEAN in the Moro issue. Suhrke and Noble argue that Malaysia and Indonesia are unwilling to use all the forms of leverage they have available, as they want to maintain good relations with the Philippines government. Further, the nature of the Moro goal of autonomy/independence could promote internal interference in a country's affairs, something both states want to avoid. Malaysia and Indonesia did previously argue that ASEAN was a better forum than the OIC to deal with the Moro issue. But in early 1976, Malaysia stated it would not attend the ASEAN summit if the Moro issue was brought up. The two states felt that ASEAN would be a better forum as it would not handle the issue to avoid any confrontation that would jeopardize its existence. There are some reports however that private talks on the issue have taken place at ASEAN sessions (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 195).

Organization of the Islamic Conference
In the early 1970s, the MNLF seeks political, economic, and military aid from the Islamic foreign ministers. It wants formal recognition of the republic, support for the MNLF in the UN and other Third World fora, military assistance, the channeling of all refugee aid through the MNLF, and the breaking of all diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties with the Philippines. It also believes an oil boycott is significant. Following the 1973 war, both Saudi Arabia and Iran briefly suspend exports of oil to the Philippines to show their support for the MNLF. However, the boycott is reportedly lifted solely due to opportunism (Gopinath 1991, 131). For their part, the Islamic Foreign Ministers do not formally recognize or support an independent state, they do not call for military support or cut ties with the Philippines. But they condemn as inadequate the socio-economic measures proposed by the Philippine government as a solution to the Moros' problems. They call for a peaceful solution within the framework of the current Philippines while recognizing the MNLF as an appropriate participant in negotiations. The OIC sets the framework for the 1974 talks between the three sides (Gopinath 1991, 131). Suhrke and Noble argue that the OIC’s concern may have restrained the Philippine government’s conduct of the war. It also affects the timing and content of government announcements of new policies (1977, 209).

March 1973: The fourth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Bengazi, Libya, establishes a Quadripartite Commission to deal with the Moro issue. The Foreign Ministers of Libya, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Somalia, who comprise the commission, are given the task of visiting the Philippines to hold discussions about the situation of the Muslims (Casino 1987, 238). The conference also expresses "deep concern over the reported repression and mass extermination of Muslims in Southern Philippines" and urges the government to immediately halt these actions
(Heraclides 1991, 175).

January 1974: Resolution 18 is passed at the Fifth Islamic Conference in Kuala Lumpur. It urges the Philippine government "to find a political and peaceful solution through negotiations with Muslim leaders, particularly with the representative of the Moro National Liberation Front, in order to arrive at a just solution to the plight of Filipino Muslims within the framework of the National sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines" (Casino 1987, 238; Heraclides 1991,175). Following the OIC’s meeting, the organization’s Secretary-General, Hassan al-Tohamy, makes several trips to Manila and arranges the 1975 Jeddah meeting between the Philippines government and the MNLF (Gopinath 1991, 132).

1974: The MNLF holds its first congress. Its manifesto declares the establishment of a Bangsa Moro Republik (Bangsa nation) and announces the organization’s intention to secure ’a free and independent state for the Bangsa Moro people’. These demands are expanded upon in a 1975 document submitted to the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers in Jeddah. It also accuses the Marcos government of ’cultural genocide’ and demands a separate state. The OIC pressures the MNLF to change its demand to autonomy (May 1988, 55).

1975: The first formal talks between the Philippine government and the MNLF occur in Jeddah in 1975 through the intervention of the OIC. The talks are set in a domestic framework, to be resolved within the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Philippines. The talks fail, according to Dr. Adam Malik, the Foreign Minister of Indonesia, due to the complexity of the question and the disproportionate demands put forth by Misuari. Misuari reportedly wanted an a priori public declaration agreeing to the creation of an autonomous region, with a separate government and army, as a condition for the success of the talks. Malik says this would not be accepted by any "reputable" sovereign government (Rodil 1993, 17 cites the Republic of the Philippines, Background Information on the Situation in Southern Philippines, Department of Public Information, Manila, 1976, 29).

July 1975: At the 6th Islamic Conference held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Quadripartite Commission submits a plan of action that is approved by the conference and the MNLF. It provides the basis upon which the Commission will negotiate with the Philippine government on the Moro issue (Casino 1987, 238).

Mid-1970s: Estimates from 1969 to first quarter of 1976 indicate that there were 35-60,000 dead, 31-54,000 injured, and 260-350,000 displaced as a result of the Moro insurgency (Rodil 1993, 17).

November 1976: Imelda Marcos goes to Tripoli for a series of talks with the OIC and the MNLF that last through December. On December 24, a ceasefire goes into effect that is to be supervised by the MNLF, the Philippines government and the Quadripartite Commission (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 188).

December 21, 1976: The MNLF and the Philippines government sign the Tripoli Agreement, with the participation of the Quadripartite Ministerial Commission members of the Islamic Conference and the Secretary General of the Islamic Conference.

The key provisions of the agreement are:
  1. The establishment of autonomy in the Southern Philippines within the realm of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.
  2. The specification of 13 geographic areas of autonomy for the Muslims in the Southern Philippines (Casino 1987, 238-39).
  3. The promise that all necessary constitutional processes for the implementation of the entire agreement will be taken by the Philippine government (Casino 1987, 239).
Analysis of Tripoli Agreement
Casino argues that international involvement is vital in bringing the Philippines government to the conference table at the 1976 Tripoli negotiations. It also confers upon the MNLF an international political and legal status. The accords give the MNLF the status of an insurgency rather than a belligerency, which carries more leverage in international law (Casino 1987, 241). Suhrke and Noble state that the Islamic meetings have provided a focus for the lobbying activities of the MNLF, shaping the nature of its appeals, and determining its negotiating position toward the Philippine government (1977, 191). They also assert that the OIC is responsible for muting the MNLF’s demand from independence to autonomy (1977, 192).
May says that from 1972, when the Moro issue was brought to its attention, the OIC exerts sustained pressure on the Marcos government to negotiate autonomy demands with the MNLF, along with providing assistance. Saudi Arabia and Iran also briefly suspend oil exports to the Philippines to demonstrate support for the MNLF (May 1988, 57).
Casino says that from 1972-77, the series of Islamic Conferences generally passed resolutions fair to both the Philippines government and the Moros. The resolutions held the MNLF back from pressing for secession. "The diplomatic restraint was also a clear signal to the Philippine government that the conference would not interfere with the internal affairs of another sovereign state" (1987, 240).
Mercado asserts that the negotiation and signing of the Tripoli agreement is in itself a tremendous diplomatic victory for the MNLF/BMA as it is accorded a belligerent state status. The terms of agreement are highly favorable to the MNLF/BMA demands. The Philippine government also benefits enormously from the agreement as it provides a much needed breathing spell to recover from the consequences of the Mindanao "war" on the economy. The government is also able to bring home the Moro issue from the Middle East (Mercado 1984, 164). Gopinath says that Islam is able to generate tremendous moral, spiritual, and emotional strength for Muslim communities. It has been able to instill a sense of religious solidarity and hence external threats are seen as a direct threat to the existence of the religious community. He asserts that there are at least two reasons why the Moro turned towards Islamic revivalism: 1) a genuine desire to preserve Islamic practice that has been handed down through generations. Also, there is a turn toward reinforcing traditional values, the lack of which are seen as responsible for society’s ills along with the government’s encroachment on religious and social institutions; 2) the need to justify a violent struggle against integration, which is defined as a Jihad (Gopinath 1991, 141-) An estimated 50-60,000 people are killed from 1972-76. Official government figures reveal that between 500,000 and a million people are displaced and at least 200,000 sought sanctuary in Sabah (Mercado 1984, 162-63).

April 1977: The timetable laid out in the Tripoli talks is not followed due to disagreements over
the meaning of autonomy and Marcos’ desire to hold a plebiscite in the affected areas (the MNLF
opposes this as Muslims are a minority in many areas). In early 1977, Imelda Marcos travels to Tripoli to meet with Qaddafi. The resulting compromise, announced on April 8, provides that Marcos will declare an autonomous region comprising the 13 provinces, appoint a regional provisional government, and hold a plebiscite to deal with administrative issues (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 188-89).

April 17, 1977: In accordance with the constitution, the major changes demanded by the MNLF for the autonomous areas have to be decided through a popular referendum. This is held on April 17. Three provinces, Davao del Sur, South Catabato, and Palawan vote against integration. The remaining 10 provinces are grouped into two autonomous regions: Region 9 and 12, with five provinces each. Region 9 consists of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga del Norte. Region 12 includes Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, North Catabato, Magindanao, and Sultan Kudarat. Among other things, the referendum rejects naming the autonomous region the Bangsamoro Islamic Region, developing its own flag, official language, and courts, and allowing the MNLF to be able to organize separate security forces (Casino 1987, During the referendum, traditional Muslim leaders ally with Christian leaders against the MNLF which boycotts the referendum. The MNLF by this time has reverted to its demand for independence. The Philippine Commission on Elections states that 96% of the 3 million people voters rejected the proposed changes (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 189; Madale 1984, 181).

May 1977: MNLF leader Nur Misuari addresses the 8th Islamic Conference held in Libya. He claims that "the Marcos Government through its unilateral and highly reprehensible acts has succeeded in abrogating the Tripoli Agreement as well as the Khadaffy-Marcos understanding of March 1977". Misuari accuses the Philippines government of eight unlawful actions including violations of the ceasefire, dividing the area into two autonomous regions, and the demilitarization of the 13 provinces (Mercado 1984, 165). At the urging of Qaddafi, the MNLF is granted observer status at the OIC but the organization stops short of supporting economic sanctions against the Philippines and urges the Quadripartite Commission to continue its mediation efforts (Suhrke and Noble 1977, 189).

1977: May argues that this year is a type of watershed in the history of the MNLF. By the time talks break down, the Bangsa Moro Army is a depleted force; many have been killed, while others have taken refuge in Sabah or the Middle East. By the early 1980s, over 140,000 Moro refugees are in Sabah and the government claims around 37,000 have surrendered in amnesty programs. Also, divisions arise within the MNLF. These divisions are reportedly due to personal differences/ ambitions, conflicting opinions on the subject of autonomy or independence, and whether it is possible to pursue negotiations based on the Tripoli Agreement.

In late 1977, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is established, using Pakistan as its base. Early in 1982, there is a further split as a ’Reformist Group’ is set up (MNLF-RG) in Jeddah (May 1988, 57). Nur Misuari is largely secular; he is not a part of the traditional elite and is considered by some as left-leaning. Ethnically, he is a Tausug-Samal from Sulu. His main sources of aid are Libya, Syria, Iran, and OIC (May 1988, 57-58).

The MILF leadership is drawn from traditional aristocratic and religious elites. They are primarily concerned with the promotion of Islam and the preservation of traditional Moro society. Ethnically the leader is a Magindanao and the organization receives aid from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, Kuwait, and Malaysia (May 1988, 58).

The MNLF-RG leadership is also largely from the traditional elite, but it is not as focused on promoting Islamic consciousness as the MILF. Drawn largely from the Maranao tribe, it obtains aid from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia (Ibid.).

From 1977 onward, there is reported to be a drop in international support for the MNLF. The
abah government changes hands and stops aid in 1986. Libya backs off when Misuari became hardline about secession. The OIC continues to support Misuari’s leadership and seeks reconciliation in the movement but becomes preoccupied with other conflicts in the Muslim world (Ibid.).

1978: The OIC recognizes the MNLF as the legal representative of the Muslim movement and requests Islamic states to support it. The Secretary-General is given the task of holding consultations with Islamic states with a view to providing emergency aid to the Moro (Gopinath 1991, 133).

March 20, 1979: A Regional Assembly and Executive Council are created for the Autonomous Regions 9 and 12. Some former MNLF members serve in these organs. MNLF leader Nur Misuari earlier declined the chairmanship of the provisional government and MNLF supporters do not participate in the regional assembly elections (Casino 1987, 240; May 1988, 57).

1980: The Moro cause is recognized at a session of the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) in Belgium. The communist National Democratic Front (NDF) supports the MNLF’s campaign for secession (Casino 1987, 241; Gopinath 1991, 134).

The 11th Islamic Conference reaffirms its support for the struggle of the Bangsamoro people to achieve self-determination under the leadership of the MNLF (Casino 1987, 245 cites M.O. Mastura, "MNLF’s Path to Parliamentary Struggle", in ibid., ed., Muslim Filipino Experience, Manila: Ministry of Muslim Affairs, 1984, p.12).

January 1981: The MNLF appeals to the Third Summit Conference of Heads of State in Mecca for recognition and support of the Bangsa Moro people’s right to self-determination. It wins sympathy from the Muslim world (Gopinath 1991, 134).

1984: The 15th Islamic Conference reconfirms Nur Misuari’s original MNLF as the "sole legitimate representative of the Bangsamoro People" (Casino 1987, 245 cites Nur Misuari, "Communique of the IVth General Meeting of the MNLF Leadership", in Selected Documents for the Conference on the Tripoli Agreement, Quezon City: International Studies Institute of the Philippines, University of the Philippines, 1985, p.200). Sources indicate that the MNLF now has a force of 14,000 compared to around 21,000 in 1977 (Madale 1984, 185). The drop is likely due to the creation of other Moro groups.

1985: Misuari’s MNLF faction reportedly forms close relations with Iran. Viewing this as a potential threat to US interests, the State Dept and the Pentagon open up lines of communication with the MNLF reformist group under Dimas Pundato. Pundato is invited to Washington in 1985 (Casino 1987, 241).

Marcos’ Approach to the Moro Issue
May (1988, 60) and Madale (1984, 184) argue that Marcos adopted a two-fold strategy:
  1. provision of regional economic programs and concessions on selected religious and social matters (as the government believes the root causes are relative economic and social deprivation);
  2. use of conventional military force to quell the insurgency.
However, the Moros accrue few real economic benefits and little is done to alleviate the fears of Muslims that the real goal is to benefit those who moved to the south (Christians). Also the counterinsurgency campaign offsets the limited economic gains (May 1988, 60).

Marcos also tries to promote and exploit divisions among the Moros. In the early and mid- 1970s, for example, the government tries to discredit the MNLF by focusing on Misuari’s ’Maoist tendencies'. There were minimal links between the MNLF and the communist New Peoples’ Army and the MNLF generally distanced itself from the NPA (May 1988, 56).

Madale says that Marcos also conducts a fairly effective diplomatic campaign, especially within ASEAN and among the Islamic nations in the Middle East, to counter the MNLF's bids for support in the Muslim world. He opens relations with the Islamic states and appoints a Muslim ambassador to Saudi Arabia. A Peace Panel composed of Muslims is also created to help promote interaction with the Moros (Madale 1984, 184-85).

Pressure from the OIC and others does lead Marcos to try to negotiate a deal. But a lack of commitment from Marcos and the idealistic demands of the MNLF lead to the breakdown of talks (May 1988, 60).

1986: The People's Power Revolution. In the runup to the 1986 elections, Corazon Aquino promises that she will assist autonomous development in Muslim Mindanao and Sulu, although within the framework of the Republic. The Moro movement, at this time, is divided into a number of factions and is reported to have substantially declined in military strength (May 1992, 400). After she is inaugurated as President, Corazon Aquino initiates negotiations with Nur Misuari who returns from self-exile in the Middle East. However, even before talks begin, the MILF and MNLF-RG state they will not participate or honor any deal made. They launch armed attacks against military and civilian installations and army personnel and clashes are reported between the MNLF and the MILF (May 1992, 401).

Talks between the government and the MNLF in Jolo in September result in a ceasefire and an amnesty program. Attempts to unite the various Moro factions fail. By late 1986, it is clear that elements in the military and the government do not support the negotiations (Gopinath 1991, 134; May 1988, 59).

1986: The second Bangsa Moro Congress is held. Reports reveal that Misuari concedes to popular pressure and gives up the demand for independence (May 1988, 59).

January 4, 1987: An autonomy agreement, the Jeddah Accord, is signed between the Philippines government and the MNLF. The accord proposes to grant autonomy to all of Mindanao, including the island provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, and Palawan. The accord also reportedly sets the seal on Misuari’s abandonment of full independence (Gopinath 1991, 134 cites James P. Clad, “Autonomy and Acrimony”, Far Eastern Economic Review, Jan. 15, 1987).

April 1987: Peace talks resume on the basis of a draft executive order on the proposedautonomous government that will cover the 10 existing provinces in the Muslim autonomous regions (Gopinath 1991, 134 cites New Straits Times, April 9, 1987, p.12). The MNLF demands autonomy for all 23 provinces in Mindanao and the islands of Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Palawan (Gopinath 1991, 134).

May 1987: Just before negotiations begin again, the MNLF accuses the armed forces of violating the ceasefire and cancels the scheduled talks. Misuari returns to the Middle East; he obtains OIC support for his denunciation of the Aquino government (May 1988, 59). In Misuari's absence, May reports that the agenda is largely captured by conservative Muslim and non-Muslim groups. He argues that the Aquino government is now firmly committed to autonomy for Mindanao (May 1992, 401).

August-December 1989: On August 1, an Organic Act for the Autonomous Registration of Muslim Mindanao (RA 6734) is signed as a bill by President Aquino. It is submitted to a plebiscite on November 9. The MNLF and right-wing Christian groups oppose the act while the OIC first condemns and then supports the act. The surrounding confusion and dispute leads to low voter turnout and only 4 of the 13 provinces and 9 cities support the Organic Act (May 1992, 401). Estimates indicate that the voting area is 28% Muslim and 66% Christian. The four noncontiguous provinces, Lanao del Sur, Magindanao, Tawi-tawi, and Sulu, comprise the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). The ARMM remains in place until the 1996 accord.

February 1990: Regional elections are held for the newly formed autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao. Former MNLF legal advisor, Zacaria Candao, a Magindanao, is elected governor. The election is viewed as a setback for the MNLF as in all four provinces of the new autonomous region, most voters reject its call for a boycott.

August 1990: The OIC does not act on the MNLF’s third formal request to join the organization.

October 1990: The Aquino government grants limited executive powers to the Candao regime. The control of ministries such as natural resources, tourism, employment, etc. is transferred to the Autonomous Regional Government.

March 1991: 13 Moro rebels are killed by soldiers in battles in Mindanao. The rebels destroy a power transmission tower.

July, 1991: Amnesty International accuses both the Philippines government and Moro rebels of gross human rights violations. Recently, 30 rebels are killed by government forces.

December 1991: The OIC summit in Dakar, Senegal, voices its support for the agreement between the government and the MNLF to resume peace talks. The MNLF fails to win OIC membership.

May 1992: Fidel V. Ramos is elected as President; he was the defense minister under the Aquino government.

September 1992: A National Unification Commission is established to tackle the task of negotiating a political settlement with the country’s armed groups. It is headed by former Election Commissioner, Haydee Yorac, a University of the Philippines Law Professor.

February 1993: 25 marines are killed, reportedly by MNLF rebels, after being ambushed on the southern Mindanao island of Basilan. This is the worst incident in the corp’s history.

April 1993: Meetings between the Philippines government and MNLF chief Misuari held in Jakarta from April 14-16 lead to an agreement to resume peace talks. Libya is described as a prime mover behind the meeting; the OIC will act as a facilitator.

June 1993: Soldiers kill 17 Muslim rebels who have increased their activities in view of upcoming peace talks between the government and the MNLF.

November 1993: An interim ceasefire agreement is signed in Jakarta between the MNLF and the Philippine government. The accord also sets up a committee to tackle the problems facing Muslims in Mindanao. The government’s chief negotiator is Retired General Manuel Yan.

December 1993: Christian gunmen bomb a mosque in the south shortly after explosions in a Roman Catholic church result in seven deaths and 151 injuries. Abu Sayyaf, also referred to as the MNLF Lost Command, is believed to be responsible. It opposes talks with the government (UPI, 12/27/93).

December 1994: The "Final Statement" of the OIC summit held in Morocco records with satisfaction the positive developments in the situation of the Muslims in the Philippines (UPI, 12/19/94).

April 1995: Around 200 Muslim rebels, reportedly members of Abu Sayyaf, raid three banks and attacks buildings and civilians in the town of Ipil on Mindanao island. Authorities state that over 45 people are killed and another 40 injured. This is reported to be the most violent attack in the 20-year Muslim insurgency. Authorities believe that two other rebel organizations, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are also
involved in the attack (Reuters, 04/05/95).

April 6, 1995: A spokesman for the MNLF denies that members of his group took part in the attack at Ipil. He indicates that Abu Sayyaf, the MILF, and members of a breakaway faction of the MNLF are responsible. The MNLF and the government are set to resume peace talks in June in Indonesia (Reuters, 04/06/95).

May 1995: The MNLF agrees to help the government battle "lawless elements" in the south (Reuters, 05/03/95).

May 21, 1995: A 15 year development plan for Mindanao is unveiled by President Ramos. The plan focuses upon improving the region’s infrastructure, modernizing fish processing, and establishing crop and livestock production and processing centers (Reuters, 05/21/95).

June 7, 1995: Gunbattles between security forces and Abu Sayyaf rebels on Basilan Island result in the deaths of 15 rebels and 7 soldiers. Officials state that Abu Sayyaf has links with Ramzi Ahmed Yousef who is on trial in New York in connection with the bombing of the World Trade Center building (Reuters, 06/07/95).

June 23, 1995: Another round of talks between the Manila government and the MNLF has concluded. A spokesman for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which is mediating the talks, says that 75 to 80% of the issues have been resolved. Further meetings will be held next month (Reuters, 06/23/95).

July 2, 1995: Philippine and foreign investors sign agreements worth some $80 million to develop Mindanao (Reuters, 07/02/95).

July 27, 1995: MNLF leader Nur Misuari says that he has the support of the MILF to undertake peace talks with the government. The MILF split from the MNLF in the early 1980s over Misuari’s leadership (Reuters, 07/27/95).

October 19, 1995: Gunbattles between soldiers and Moro rebels in Magindanao province result in six deaths (Reuters, 10/19/95).

November 16, 1995: Clashes between government soldiers and MNLF members on Basilan island have broken a ceasefire between the two sides. The incident occurred when troops entered a rebel camp. Both sides suffered casualties (Reuters, 11/16/95).

December 1, 1995: An interim agreement is signed by the MNLF and Manila following five days of peace talks in Indonesia. The agreement covers areas such as education, economic and financial systems, and the autonomous area’s proposed government and administration. However, key issues still remain including the integration of the rebels into the military and the government’s demand that a referendum be held to approve the proposed autonomous region. Muslims are now reported to make up only 40% of Mindanao’s population (Reuters, 12/01/95). On December 5, President Fidel Ramos unilaterally orders a month-long ceasefire for the Christmas holiday season (Reuters, 12/05/95).

December 13, 1995: A clash between the MILF and Ituman, a Christian militia organization, results in the deaths of five Ituman members (Reuters, 12/13/95).

January 4, 1996: A 1995 Philippine Defense Department report indicates that membership in Abu Sayyaf rose 12%, from 580 to 650, in 1995. The combined strength of the MNLF and the MILF grew 11%, from 22,330 in 1994 to 24,870 by last November. The leader of Abu Sayyaf, Libyan-trained Abdurajak Abubaker Janjalani, 32, is now the most wanted criminal in the Philippines; the group is reported to have links with Ramzi Yousef, the main suspect in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing (Japan Economic Newswire, 01/04/96).

January 7, 1996: The 4th round of talks between the MNLF and the govt will resume in Jakarta next month. Five major issues remain unresolved -- the timing of a plebiscite to set up the autonomous government; the geographic scope of autonomy; the number of MNLF forces to be integrated in the army and the national police; revenue-sharing in the autonomous area; and the establishment of a regional security force (Xinhua News Agency, 01/07/96).

January 11, 1996: MNLF leader Nur Misuari refuses a government offer to lead the ARMM, sticking to the MNLF demand for "more meaningful autonomy”.

January 11, 1996: The MILF accuses the government of violating a truce agreement by deploying over 900 soldiers in the area of an irrigation project in North Cotabato province. The $65.4 million project was halted in 1994 following battles between the MILF and the government that left over 50 people dead (UPI, 01/11/96; Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 01/11/96).

February 29, 1996: Several mayors and provincial governors in the south refuse to participate in a meeting with MNLF leader Nur Misuari to help prepare the region for autonomy (UPI, 02/29/96).

February 29, 1996: After 20 years of hostilities, the MNLF and a rival Christian movement, the Illaga, form an alliance to promote peace and development in the south (UPI, 02/29/96).

March 2, 1996: Talks between the government and the MNLF, under the auspices of the OIC, break down over the issue of setting up a Muslim provisional government. Manila wants to hold a plebiscite before a provisional government is established while the MNLF wants the government set up by presidential edict as it fears that the Christian majority will reject autonomy. Representatives of the OIC and MNLF leader Misuari warn that the failure of the negotiations could strengthen the hands of radical groups such as the Abu Sayyaf (Reuters, 03/02/96 & 03/03/96).

March 5, 1996: The second largest Muslim group in the Philippines, the MILF, throws its support behind efforts by the MNLF to ensure that autonomy in the south will include the 13 provinces and 9 cities that were first outlined in the 1976 Tripoli Agreement (Deutsche Presse- Agentur, 03/05/96).

March 11, 1996: The bombing of two Roman Catholic Churches in Zamboanga leaves 12 people injured. Authorities believe that Abu Sayyaf is responsible for this attack along with numerous others bombings during the past three years (Bangkok Post: Reuter Textline,

March 20, 1996: The MILF accuses the Philippine military of using nerve-gas bombs on the southern island of Mindanao. The military denies the charges, stating that it does not possess any such weapons (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 03/20/96).

April 4, 1996: President Fidel Ramos orders the armed forces to help halt a wave of bombings on Mindanao. Abu Sayyaf is reported to be responsible for eight bombs that have exploded in the past three weeks (Reuters, 04/04/96).

April 10, 1996: Battles between the MILF and government forces in North Cotabato result in 11 deaths (UPI, 04/10/96).

April 18, 1996: A seven-point agreement is reached between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to halt hostilities on Mindanao. Thirty-four people have died in battles during the last two weeks (UPI, 04/18/96).

April 24, 1996: President Fidel Ramos states that he will never impose martial law in order to deal with separatism in the south (Reuters, 04/24/96).

May 1, 1996: Officials claim that the MILF suffered a major defeat in gunbattles with the military in early April, revealing that it is not in a position to survive an all-out war with the country’s armed forces. The MILF states that it will abide by any agreement reached between the government and the MNLF, providing it does not compromise on full autonomy (The Straits
Times, Singapore, 05/01/96).

May 14, 1996: The Philippines government has reportedly devised a compromise in order to help break the deadlock in its negotiations with the MNLF. Under the proposal, Muslim rebels would take part in peacekeeping and development in Mindanao for at least two years. After that, a plebiscite would be held to determine the level of support for the provisional authority. Muslim groups have repeatedly warned of a renewed war if the current peace talks fail (Reuters, 05/14/96).

June 3, 1996: Some member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference are holding talks in Jakarta aimed at addressing the deadlock in the negotiations between the Philippines government and the MNLF. The representatives from Bangladesh, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Indonesia are discussing issues such as a plebiscite and the geographical reach of the autonomous area. The Philippines government and the MNLF are in attendance (UPI, 06/03/96).

June 5, 1996: A breakthrough has been reached in talks in Jakarta between the Philippines government and the Moro National Liberation Front. Although no specific details were provided, it appears that a government compromise plan unveiled on May 14 helped break the deadlock over the two sides’ differing interpretations of the 1976 Tripoli Agreement. Indonesia heads an OIC ministerial committee that is brokering the talks (Reuters, 06/05/96).

June 20, 1996: The Philippines government and the MNLF fail to agree on the issue of integrating rebel forces into the army. This is one of the main issues blocking an agreement that would establish an MNLF transitional body to supervise development in the southern Mindanao region (Reuters, 06/20/96).

June 23, 1996: Following three days of talks between government and MNLF negotiators, an agreement is reached to establish the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development. The Council, which will be run by the MNLF and guided by a consultative assembly of local officials and representatives from NGOS, is expected to pave the way for an autonomous region. Fourteen provinces and nine cities in the south will be governed by the council; this is basically the region that was laid out under the 1976 Tripoli Agreement. A plebiscite will be held in 1999 to determine if the region’s residents want to continue the council's rule. However, two key issues still remain unresolved: an MNLF demand to establish its own regional police force and the integration of the rebels into the national army. These issues will be tackled by a special working group (Reuters, 06/23/96).

June 25, 1996: A Christian Congresswoman from Zamboanga is threatening to lead mass demonstrations to protest the establishment of the Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development. Church officials have also expressed concern over the role Muslim rebels will play in governing the region (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 06/25/96).

July 2, 1996: As he arrives in Zamboanga, President Fidel Ramos is greeted by around 20,000 Christians protesting the peace agreement with the MNLF. Ramos is traveling in the region to garner support for the accord (Reuters, 07/02/96).

July 8, 1996: The Roman Catholic Church urges President Ramos to defer a peace agreement with the Moros, warning that its implementation could lead to war by the Christian majority in the area (Reuters, 07/08/96).

July 10, 1996: At least 29 governors, vice governors, mayors, and congressmen in Mindanao sign a resolution expressing their support for a Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD) (Xinhua News Agency, 07/10/96).

July 12, 1996: MNLF leader Nur Misuari states that he will seek the governorship of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in elections this September. He will run under a coalition with President Ramos’ Lakas Party. The MNLF leader says his decision signals the return of the entire MNLF to the constitutional fold (Reuters, 07/12/96).

July 14, 1996: Philippine President Fidel Ramos has sent a letter to Indonesian President Suharto thanking his country and the OIC’s Committee of Six for their help in peace talks with the MNLF. Ramos states that the breakthrough in the talks would not have been possible without the consistent support they provided (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/14/96).

July 15, 1996: MNLF chief Misuari threatens to withdraw from September elections for the governorship of the ARMM unless he is confirmed as the head of the proposed Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development. Misuari’s leadership of the SPCPD was part of the agreement reached between the two sides. However, some politicians argue that, legally, officials are barred from simultaneously holding two positions. Meanwhile, around 15,000 Christians in General Santos City protest against the peace deal (Reuters, 07/15/96).

July 17, 1996: President Fidel Ramos states that his secret meeting with Libyan leader Qaddafi in February 1992 began the process of the current peace talks with the MNLF. During the early and mid-1970s, Libya provided key financial and military support to the Moro rebels. Ramos’ trip occurred in the midst of his election campaign for the presidency (Reuters, 07/17/96).

July 18, 1996: The National Ecumenical Consultative Committee, a religious advisory arm to the President, expresses support for the creation of the SPCPD. The Committee is composed of Catholic, Protestant, and Muslim groups. The 1990 government census reveals that only 5 of the 14 provinces the SPCPD will govern have a Muslim population of over 50% (UPI, 07/18/96).

July 23, 1996: In a letter to OIC Secretary-General Hamid Algabid, President Ramos says that he is committed to establishing the Muslim council despite opposition from Christians. During his State of the Nation address, the President calls upon all Filipinos to support the peace proposal (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/22/96; Reuters, 07/23/96).

July 30, 1996: The government says that it has spent US $2.78 billion during the last 26 years in its conflict with the Moros. It also states that of the 100,000 recorded casualties, half were Moro rebels while government troops accounted for 30% and innocent civilians the remaining 20% (Xinhua News Agency, 07/30/96).

August 2, 1996: The government and the MNLF agree on the integration of 7500 MNLF members into the military and police services, removing one of the major issues left to be resolved (Xinhua News Agency, 08/02/96).

August 3, 1996: Rejecting the peace agreement between the government and the MNLF, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front vows to continue the battle for "genuine Muslim autonomy". The military estimates that the MILF has a strength of 20,000 compared to the MNLF’s 25,000 members (Xinhua News Agency, 08/03/96).

August 15, 1996: Chief government negotiators Manuel Yan and Eduardo Ermita and the leader of the MNLF will initial the peace agreement in Jakarta at the end of the month. It will be formally signed in Manila the following week (Reuters, 08/15/96).

August 16, 1996: Informal talks have begun between the government and the MILF. The government is also concerned about other splinter groups such as Abu Sayyaf and the Islamic Command Council but has not stated whether it will also open talks with them (Xinhua News Agency, 08/16/96).

August 19, 1996: The first meeting in 10 years is held between President Ramos and MNLF leader Misuari in Malabang. The two are finalizing the peace plan (08/19/96).

August 23, 1996: The Philippines Senate gives its unanimous support to President Ramos’ peace proposal for Mindanao. However, the Senate reiterates its demand for some amendments that will be considered before the executive order is signed to create the southern council (Xinhua News Agency, 08/23/96).

August 30, 1996: An accord to end the Moro insurgency is initialed today by government negotiator Manuel Yan and MNLF leader Misuari in Jakarta. President Ramos states that proposed amendments such as making the study of Islam in schools optional rather than mandatory should diffuse Christian opposition. The OIC, which has facilitated and mediated the talks, may continue its involvement in the peace process. This could be through the creation of an interim OIC monitoring team. Indonesian President Suharto says the accord is the result of four rounds of formal talks in Jakarta, three international consultations, and at least 70 other meetings in the Philippines (Reuters, 08/30/96; The Straits Times, Singapore, 08/31/96).

September 1, 1996: The peace agreement between the Philippines government and the MNLF is formally signed in Manila on Monday, September 2. Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas and OIC Secretary General Hamid Algabid are present at the ceremony (UPI, 09/01/96).

September 2, 1996: Alex Magno, a political science professor at the University of the Philippines, says that the peace agreement "allows the MNLF to reach a political settlement...without losing face and losing honor". Magno also states that it "allows the Philippine government to signal that western Mindanao is now a peaceful place, [it] is our front door to the southeast Asian common market and is now open for business". The Philippines government is forming a special "growth zone" that includes southwestern Mindanao and parts of Indonesia, Brunei, and Malaysia in order to promote trade and development and break down barriers between economically deprived areas. Magno expects that the MILF will eventually join the peace process, isolating the few hundred members of Abu Sayyaf, and that perhaps the greatest threat might emerge from Christian extremists (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 09/02/96).

A recent UNDP study found that functional literacy ranges from 48.1 to 68.7% in the ARMM compared to the 1994 national average of 83.8%. Life expectancy in the region averages in the fifties, the lowest in the country and below the national average of 66.9 years (Inter Press Service, 09/02/96).

September 3, 1996: Abu Sayyaf denounces MNLF leader Nur Misuari as a traitor for signing a peace agreement with the government. It vows to continue the battle for an Islamic state (Reuters, 09/03/96).

September 11, 1996: Nur Misuari is elected governor of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. Misuari ran unopposed and is reported to have received 90% of the votes cast. The turnout is estimated at 80%. He will formally assume office on September 30. Meanwhile, President Ramos announces $1.2 billion in aid to develop the region (Reuters, 09/11/96; South China Morning Post, 10/01/96).

October 2, 1996: President Ramos issues an executive order to create the Southern Philippines Peace and Development Council. The order clears the way for the appointment of Misuari as head of the body. Opponents of the council vow to challenge the legality of the order. One of Misuari’s top priorities is expected to be convincing almost half a million refugees in Malaysia to return home. The refugees mainly fled to Sabah during the 1970s and while some have become Malaysian citizens, the strain on the Sabah economy has been an issue in Philippine-Malaysian relations (Agence France Presse, 09/24/96, 10/02/96).

October 8, 1996: Nine Christian House of Representative Members and a Provincial Governor ask the Supreme Court to void the agreement to establish the autonomous Muslim region. They argue that Muslims would be ruling over Christian-majority areas. No date is given for a judgement (Reuters, 10/08/96).

October 22, 1996: Nur Misuari is appointed as head of the SPCPD (Reuters, 10/22/96).

October 30, 1996: Clashes between the MILF and the government claim at least 26 rebel lives this month. 11 soldiers are injured. Meanwhile, the wave of kidnapings in the south continues. Former rebels are reportedly responsible for the extortion efforts (Reuters, 10/30/96).

November 6, 1996: The MILF begins exploratory talks with the government (Reuters, 11/06/96).

November 28, 1996: The government declares a unilateral 60-day ceasefire against all armed groups. 7 soldiers die in clashes with the MILF (Reuters, 11/28/96).

December 4, 1996: From 50-200,000 Muslims rally in Maguindanao province demanding a separate state. It is not known if the MILF organized the rally (Reuters, 12/04/96).

December 11, 1996: At an annual meeting of donor countries and the Philippines government, $400 million is provided in grants to Mindanao along with $2.5 billion in loans. Half of the total amount is courtesy of Japan (Reuters, 12/11/96).

December 26, 1996: Asiaweek reports that the Moro insurgency cost 100,000 lives -- half of these were rebel casualties, 30% were soldiers, and the rest civilians. Overall, the government spent $3 billion and an average 40% of its military budget to combat the Moros. Reports also reveal that per capita income in one of the four ARMM provinces is $159 while on Tawi Tawi (another province), average life expectancy is 53 years and the illiteracy rate is around 50% (Reuters, 12/26/96).

January 7, 1997: Talks begin between the government and the MILF. They will meet again on February 25. Estimates are that the MILF has a force between 6-8,000 while Abu Sayyaf numbers in the several hundreds (Reuters, 01/07/97).

January 27, 1997: A ceasefire is signed between the MILF and the government. Since the new year, at least 33 rebels and 4 civilians have died in various incidents (Reuters, 01/27/97).

February 4, 1997: A Catholic bishop, the highest ranking priest in the south, has been killed. He was involved in efforts to unify the two religious communities. No one has claimed responsibility (Reuters, 02/04/97).

February 27, 1997: The MILF and the government agree to create a panel of church people and lawyers to monitor their ceasefire (Reuters, 02/27/97).

March 23, 1997: 10-13,000 Muslims protest following the deaths of 11 civilians reportedly due to army shelling that was directed toward rebel positions. President Ramos orders an investigation (Reuters, 03/23/97). In May, an independent probe determines that the civilian deaths are likely the result of army shelling (Reuters, 05/21/97).

April 6, 1997: Since the peace agreement was signed last September, the federal government has allocated $1.6 billion for infrastructure development in the south (Reuters, 04/06/97).

April 23, 1997: Talks resume between the government and the MILF. So far this month, at least16 Abu Sayyaf members and up to 25 MILF rebels have died in confrontations with soldiers. A University of the Philippines political science professor says that while the agreement produced high expectations, it has been a big letdown. The professor worries that uneducated youth might join the remaining rebels. President Ramos has ordered the fast-tracking of development programs in Mindanao (Reuters, 04/23/97).

April 24, 1997: The next round of talks between the MILF and the government are set for May 13-14 (Reuters, 04/23/97).

April 28, 1997: Sri Lankan politicians assert that their government should follow the Manila model and involve separatists in all efforts at conflict resolution. The politicians returned from the Philippines where they observed such practices between the Moros and Manila. A peace plan
to eliminate the Tamil insurgency is being prepared by Colombo but to date the LTTE has not been involved in the process (Reuters, 04/28/97).

April 29, 1997: The MILF says that it is not responsible for a hotel fire in Cotabato on April 26 that resulted in 27 deaths, including MNLF members. The fire occurred two days before Nur Misuari was set to give a state of the region address. His talk was postponed. The MILF asserts that someone is trying to sow discord between the two organizations (Xinhua News Service, 04/29/97).

April 30, 1997: The MILF is suspected in a grenade attack on the village of Pera, Zamboanga del Norte Province. There were no casualties. Since the middle of this month, 25 rebels have been killed by police in the area (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 04/30/97).

May 1, 1997: 23 Abu Sayyaf and 25 MILF members surrender to police authorities (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/01/97).

May 2, 1997: A reported MILF attack on a military detachment in Tungawan results in two deaths (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/02/97).

May 7, 1997: The MILF fires rockets at a power station in Zamboanga Province (Lloyd’s List, 05/07/97).

May 9, 1997: 18 MILF and 7 Abu Sayyaf rebels surrender and are given an amnesty package (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/09/97).

May 10, 1997: Japan Economic Newswire reports increasing disgruntlement among the Moros due to the slow nature of the implementation of the autonomy accord. Residents are believed to be particularly concerned over the lack of economic development and the slow nature of the rehabilitation process of former MNLF rebels. This has raised concerns about a renewal of violence by MNLF members (05/10/97).

May 11, 1997: Two rebels are dead following clashes between the MILF and soldiers in Maguindanao province (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/11/97).

May 12, 1997: The MILF has denied it is responsible for the killing of an airline executive. Since 1993, kidnappings and deaths associated with these incidents have increased significantly in the south (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/12/97).

May 16, 1997: The World Bank has given the Philippines a $10 million loan for small-scale livelihood and basic services projects in Mindanao. The funds will be distributed by the regional council. The loan is part of a $1.13 billion package the World Bank has allocated for 18 projects in the Philippines over the next three years (Japan Economic Newswire, 05/16/97).

May 17, 1997: The government deploys the marines to the south to help deal with gangs that have engaged in numerous kidnappings over the past few years. Businesses in the region are threatening a week-long strike to protest the kidnappings (Straits Times, Singapore, 05/17/97).

May 18, 1997: The Philippines military reports that some 1500 MNLF members have joined the
MILF (Xinhua News Service, 05/18/97).

May 20, 1997: President Ramos releases $203,800 US for poverty alleviation in the south. Low-level talks resume between a government-MILF committee (Xinhua News Service, 05/20/97).

May 27, 1997: No progress is reported in talks between the MILF and the government. The two sides will meet again June 17-18 (Xinhua News Service, 05/27/97). Some 1100 MNLF members will begin training this week to promote their integration into the military. A total of 5500former MNLF rebels will eventually join the armed forces (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 05/27/97).

June 16, 1997: Two Abu Sayyaf rebels are killed in a police attack (Agence France Presse, 06/16/97). June 18, 1997: Eight rebels and one soldier die in a government operation to free hostages (UPI, -35-06/18/97).

June 27, 1997: Up to 70 people are reported dead following numerous clashes between government troops and the MILF (Japan Economic Newswire, 06/27/97).

July 6, 1997: Fighting between soldiers and the MILF continues. 18 persons have died in recent days. Some 70,000 residents have fled the area (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 07/06/97).

July 9, 1997: The government implements a unilateral ceasefire (Xinhua News Service, 07/09/97).

July 21, 1997: A ceasefire between the MILF and the government goes into effect (Asia Pulse, 07/21/97).

August 26, 1997: MNLF leader Nur Misuari, who is the governor of the southern Muslim region and the head of the regional council, states that he now regrets signing the 1996 autonomy accord (Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 08/26/97).

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1 comment:

Anak Iluh said...

You have a good source of Information my friend.

Malingkat Tausugun ampa hi rePOst ha kibanan blog/sites.

Keep up the work, let us work hand in hand to free our land from Oppression!

Salm Kasilasa,