The Moro Islamic Liberal Front (MILF) rebel group in the Philippines has handed over its first batch of weapons, as it embarks on a peace process, but, so far, as a gesture of MILF’s commitment to peace 75 weapons has been deactivated in a symbolic ceremony held in Sultan Kudarat (Mindanao) on June 15 . Aside this about 145 of the estimated 10,000 members of the MILF’s armed faction will be integrated in the civil Filipino society. On is part the government will provide to each of them a cash handout of 25,000 Philippine peso ($555) to be used for education, training and livelihood.
The government has agreed to give Muslims more autonomy in the Muslim-majority southern regions Sulu-Mindanao. In March last year, the government and MILF signed the Comprehensive Agreement. Now they are working on the Basic Law for a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. The Philippines Republic has faced separatist movements in Sulu-Mindanao since 1968. MILF is based in the island of Jolo, home as well of the radical Islamist Abu Sayyaf group allegedly linked to al-Qaeda. Jolo is also the historical capital of the former Sultanate of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.