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Philippine bishops welcome peace deal between government, Muslim rebels

Catholic World News - March 27, 2014

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines has welcomed a peace deal between the nation's government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a rebel group that has fought since 1978 for greater autonomy for Muslims on the island of Mindanao.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the bishops' conference. “We pray that this first courageous breakthrough will be followed by more steps leading to true and lasting peace in Mindanao.”

Archbishop Villegas urged the government to reach out to other groups in Mindanao that are opposed to the agreement and said that “it is very urgent that economic activity in Mindanao be enhanced immediately. There can be no peace without human development.”

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