FAR EAST CORRESPONDENT — For the first time in years, a good news story has come out of the southern Philippines. Earlier today the largest Muslim insurgent organization, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), signed a deal with President Benigno Aquino’s government. The “framework agreement” has been hailed as creating a roadmap to end the decades-long war waged by Muslim insurgents.
But it potentially could do even more. If successful – a very big if — it will overhaul a dysfunctional system of governance that empowers despotic warlords and permits criminals and extremists to wreak havoc in the Philippines and beyond. It is not only the best chance for peace with the MILF, but also the first time the government has agreed to give genuine autonomy an opportunity to work.