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The Philippine government has agreed a peace deal with Muslim rebels ending more than four decades of violent conflict.
The agreement represents a major breakthrough in trust between the authorities and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) separatists and sets in motion the creation of a new autonomous Bangsmoro region in the Muslim dominated south of the mostly Catholic country.
Bangsmoro refers to both the Muslim and non-Islamic people of the Southern Philippines.
The transition which should be completed by the end of President Benigno Aquino’s term in 2016 will give the Muslim area more political and economic powers, including a larger share in revenues from natural resources.
The conflict has stunted the Philippine economy and killed more than 120,000 people although recently the country has seen a recent growth spurt and a resurgence in investor interest.
It is hoped the long awaited new deal will now bring peace and free up untapped deposits of oil, gas and mineral resources in rebel areas.