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Government, rebels fall out over wealth-sharing

Manila is demanding too much, rebels say reporter, Manila

July 12, 2013

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The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) today failed to reach an agreement on a wealth-sharing deal for Mindanao at the end of the latest round of peace talks in Malaysia.

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF vice-chairman for political affairs, said the rebel group refused to accept the government's offer for a 50-50 split between the government and a future Muslim region.

"The Moro region needs funds," Jaafar said in a television interview from Kuala Lumpur. The government's position is "too rigid," he said.

Miriam Ferrer, head of the government’s peace panel, said Manila is trying its best to come up with a "good fiscal arrangement" for the region.

"The government's offer is fair... It's much better than what other autonomous regions or states are enjoying," she said.

The rebel group wants a 75-25 percent split.

Jaafar said the proposed region needs a bigger share to ensure the welfare of the people in Mindanao who remain "politically marginalized." 

The rebel leader said the MILF is still open to negotiations, but added that it would be better for both sides to hold another round of talks to discuss the issue.

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