Cease Fire: Mindanao Final Agreement

Interim GRP - MNLF Ceasefire Agreement:

1. To formalize and further strengthen the structure and conduct of the ceasefire which was agreed upon between the erstwhile Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino, and Chairman Nur Misuari of the MNLF. The latter in embarking on the peace process had obtained the concurrence of the Secretary-General of the OIC. The historic meeting between the two leaders took place in Jolo, the Province of Sulu, on 5th September 1986;

2. To ensure the successful implementation of this Interim Ceasefire Agreement, the forces of both parties shall remain in their respective places and retrain from any provocative actions or any acts of hostilities contrary to the spirit and purposes of this said Agreement: provided that the representatives of the OIC shall help supervise in the implementation of this Agreement through the Joint Committee;

3. A Joint Committee as provided for in Article III section 12 of the Tripoli Agreement shall be constituted immediately, to be composed of representatives from the GRP and the MNLF with the help of the OIC represented by the Ministerial Committee of the Six;

4. This Joint Committee shall prepare its own detailed guidelines and ground rules for the implementation of this Agreement and submit the same to all parties concerned not later than 30th November 1993 for approval by duly designated representatives of all the parties concerned.

5. This Interim Ceasefire Agreement which shall be linked to the substantial progress of the negotiations shall take effect immediately upon its signing by the parties signatory to it and shall remain valid and enforceable solely for the duration of the Formal Peace Talks, unless otherwise extended by their unanimous decision.

Mindanao Final Agreement (2 Sep 1996)

Whereas, the parties affirm their solemn commitment in the aforementioned Statement of Understanding as well as the Memorandum of Agreement signed in the 1st Round of Formal Peace Talks held in Jakarta, Indonesia on October 25-November 7, 1993; the Interim Agreement signed in the 2nd Round of Formal Peace Talks held in Jakarta on September 1-5, 1994; the Interim Agreement signed in the 3rd Round of Formal Peace Talks held in Jakarta on November 27-December 1, 1995; the Interim Agreement signed in the 4th Round of Formal Peace Talks held in Jakarta on August 29, 1996; and in the nine (9) meetings of the Mixed Committee held in various places and dates in the Philippines and Indonesia.

Implementation History

1996

Full Implementation

There are no reports of any attacks by the MNLF or any armed clashes between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF following the Final Agreement. Reports show a drastic increase in MILF strength from 8,000 in 1996 to 15,420 in 1999, which suggests that MNLF fighters wishing to continue the fight joined MILF in large numbers.1 

  • 1. Cesar Villanueva and George Aguilar, “The Reintegration of the Moro National Liberation Front in Mindanao,” Centre for International Cooperation and Security (University of Bradford2008).
1997

Full Implementation

There are no reports of armed clashes between the GRP and the MNLF in 1997. The New People’s Army (NAP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are active.2 

  • 2. "Global Terrorism Database [Data file]," National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), 2011, accessed July 24, 2012, http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd.
1998

Full Implementation

There are no reports of any armed clashes between the GRP and the MNLF in 1998. The New People’s Army (NAP), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) remain active.3

1999

Full Implementation

There are no reports of any armed clashes between the GRP and the MNLF in 1999. The most frequent perpetrators of attacks were the New People’s Army (NAP), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).4 

2000

Full Implementation

There are no reports of any armed clashes between the GRP and the MNLF in 2000. From January 1 to December 31, the Global Terrorism Database reports 118 attacks in the country by various armed groups. The majority of attacks were perpetrated by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).5 The Uppsala University Conflict Database reports civil war in 2000 between the GRP and MILF resulting in over one thousand battle-related deaths.6

2001

Full Implementation

As stipulated in the peace agreement, a regional plebiscite on the expansion of the four-province Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was held in August. Only one province, the Muslim majority island of Basilan, voted to join the ARMM. Nur Misuari, MNLF founder and ARMM governor, opposed the legitimacy of the plebiscite election. In November, a new faction of MNLF supporters loyal to the original goals or vision of Nur Misuari attacked an AFP installation in Zamboanga and Jolo island which resulted in 140 deaths. Nur Misuari was arrested on entering Sabah, Malaysia and was held by AFP security forces in the Philippines.7 

Though Nur Misuari’s rhetoric may have triggered the violence, and the identity of the new faction is based on allegiance to the original Nur Misuari vision, Misuari denounced the violence and attempted to flee. Hence, this event could be considered a ceasefire violation or a new conflict involving a new splinter group. Fotini, who studies group fragmentation, considers it a new conflict with a new faction, as does UCDP.8 

The Uppsala University Conflict Database reports minor armed conflict in 2001 between the GRP and MNLF-NM (a new faction of the original MNLF group) leading to roughly 200 deaths.9 

2002

Full Implementation

The Uppsala University Conflict Database reports minor armed conflict in 2002 between the GRP and MNLF-NM (a faction of the original group led by Nur Misuari) that led to roughly 50 deaths.10 

2003

Full Implementation

The ceasefire between GRP and MNLF was restored in 2003. 

2004

Full Implementation

There are no reports of any armed clashes between the GRP and the MNLF in 2004. 

2005

Full Implementation

The ceasefire between GRP and the MNLF continued to hold in 2005.