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Country Watch


drilling. In Mindanao, American rubber and pine- apple companies such as Dole, Standard Fruit, Goodrich, Goodyear, Firestone, Castle and Cook, and Del Monte held large landholdings and vast concessions. Concerns also stem from the failure of the government to prevent the violence that has claimed over 120,000 lives and displaced over 2 million people since independence in 1946, de- spite the current economic renaissance.


Some militant groups, most notably the al-Qae- da-linked Abu Sayyaf, have refused to join the agreement because they want a strict Islamic state, frustrating the current agreement to sus- tain peace. Another challenge to sustained peace involves implementation. The 1996 accord failed because of administrative problems, stemming from widespread corruption. However, with the


assistance of the United States and some Eu- ropean Union States that want to quell Islamic insurgencies in the Philippines, and with the government’s willingness to collaborate with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front; this peace accord has a higher probability of success than its 1996 predecessor.


What remains an issue for President Benigno S. Aquino III is whether the accord will pass in Con- gress and be approved in plebiscite in the newly formed autonomous areas. Even in light of these tensions, analysts consider passage likely. If the agreement does pass, this marks a positive step for a country historically plagued by violence, in- surgency, and fragmentation.


* Submitted by Tia Haywood .


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ILSA Quarterly » volume 22 » issue 4 » May 2014


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