Aquino pledges Muslim autonomy law by January

June 28, 2014
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MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino vowed Friday (June 27th) to deliver a Muslim autonomous region by January 2015, AFP reported.

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    The pledge followed Aquino's surprise meeting in Japan on Tuesday with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Murad Ebrahim to address growing concerns over delays in implementing the peace deal signed in March.

    A commission of rebel and government nominees drafted a proposed "basic law" for the autonomous region and submitted it in April to Aquino as part of a timeframe to have Congress pass it by June.

    "There's a need to further refine the language so that it really states a meeting of the minds of both parties," Aquino said. He said the two sides would meet again next week to thrash out the fine print so the document can be submitted to Congress in late July.

    Early passage will allow Aquino to name a MILF-led, 15-member "transition authority" that will temporarily lead the autonomous region until its residents vote for a regional assembly in May 2016.

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