Published on: Saturday, March 29, 2014
Lahad Datu: The Manila-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace deal is the beginning of a new era that will pave the way for a lasting peace, development and prosperity in southern Philippines, said Sabah Eastern Security Command (ESSCom) director-general Datuk Mohammad Mentek.
He said the singing of the Comprehensive Agreement Bangsamoro (CAB) would not only contribute to peace and stability in southern Philippines, but also in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone).
"The restive Mindanao has caused many residents to flee, including entering Malaysia, particularly Sabah illegally.
"A future of peace, political stability and economic growth in southern Philippines will bring dividends to residents and help curtail influx of immigrants into Sabah," he said in a statement.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was invited as a special guest to witness the signing of the Malaysia-brokered peace deal at the Malacanang Palace, Manila, yesterday. Present was Philippine president Benigno Aquino III.
The peace agreement between the Philippine government and MILF seeks the creation of the self-governing political entity called Bangsamoro that will have greater political and economic powers.
The new entity will replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in accordance with the Bangsamoro Basic Law to be passed by the Philippine Congress and ratified by the affected populace.
The four decades of fighting in southern Philippines since the 1970s had claimed over 100,000 lives and condemned large parts of the fertile southern Philippines to violence-plagued poverty.
Mohammad hoped the MILF as well as other parties involved in the protracted conflict would seek a reconciliation.
"All quarters want to see an end to the protracted conflict as well as peace returns to southern Philippines.
For ESSCom, the CAB will give a new hope to Sabahans, who are still reeling in shock over the Lahad Datu intrusion last year," he said.