SLIDESHOW: Bangsamoro peace pact signed

Photos by Fernando Sepe, Jr. for ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Mar 27 2014 11:12 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2014 11:53 PM

"The comprehensive agreement on Bangsamoro is the crowning glory of our struggle," MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said at the signing ceremony for a peace deal between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government led by President Benigno Aquino.

After four decades of fighting that claimed tens of thousands of lives, the historic pact was sealed Thursday to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest conflicts, with Moro rebels promising to give up their arms for an autonomous homeland.

The pact made the MILF and the government partners in a plan to create a southern autonomous region for the Philippines' Muslim minority, with locally elected leaders by mid-2016.

"What is being presented before us now is a path that can lead to a permanent change in Muslim Mindanao," Aquino said at the ceremony, attended by more than 1,000 people. - with a report from Agence France-Presse