In the early 1990s, the Organization of the Islamic Conference expanded its ministerial commission by four pages, which had facilitated peace talks between the Philippine government and the MNLF. The Committee of Ministers of the Six, as it was now called, included the new members of Indonesia and Bangladesh, as well as the four members of the original Ministerial Committee, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Somalia.  There have been no reports of MNLF attacks or armed clashes between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF under the final agreement. Reports show a sharp increase in MILF strength from 8,000 in 1996 to 15,420 in 1999, suggesting that MNLF fighters who want to continue the fight joined THE MILF in large numbers.1 In this case, MILF leaders remained cautious about the government`s intentions after the signing of the final agreement. , but it was clear that the government`s efforts needed to be taken seriously. In mid-September 1996, shortly after the signing of the peace agreement with the MNLF, MILF announced that it would also negotiate with the government. As stipulated in the peace agreement, a regional referendum was held in August on the extension of the Muslim Mindanao Autonomous Region (ARMM), four provinces. Only one province, the Muslim-majority island of Basilan, voted in favour of joining the ARMM. Only Misuari, founder of the MNLF and governor of THE ARMM, rejected the legitimacy of the referendum. In November, a new faction of MNLF supporters, true to Nur Misuari`s initial objectives or vision, attacked an AFP facility in Zamboanga and Jolo, killing 140 people. Only Misuari was arrested at the entrance to Sabah, Malaysia, and detained by AFP security forces in the Philippines.1 The 1996 agreement is a decisive step in a seemingly long peace-building process in Mindanao.
This issue of the agreement deals with the implementation of this agreement, its effects to date and the prospects for a gradual transition to greater autonomy that it outlines. In March 1999, the prospects for a successful transition were bleak. In Mindanao, the results of the agreement were very disappointing and the new government of President Joseph Estrada adopted a more aggressive attitude towards rebel groups. Amid the tensions, responsibility for resolving conflicts at the community level and promoting intercultural understanding has fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of civil society groups. It remains to be seen whether the implementation of this agreement will lead to peace or if it is merely a detour into new conflicts, but efforts and innovations in peace-building in Mindanao and lessons learned are invaluable examples for those facing similar conflicts around the world. The REGIONAL ARMM government continues to assert that the CCA violated the peace agreement by unilaterally controlling Mindanao`s natural resources.