President Benigno Aquino
The Philippine government has reached a framework peace agreement with the country's largest Muslim rebel group, President Benigno Aquino says.
The deal follows long negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to end a 40-year conflict that has cost more than 120,000 lives.
It provides for a new autonomous region in the south, where Muslims are a majority in a mainly Catholic country, reports the BBC.
The MILF is "very happy" with the deal, a spokesman was quoted as saying.
The agreement was reached after talks in Malaysia and is expected to be signed formally on October 15 in the Philippine capital, Manila.
A copy of the framework deal says the parties commit to reaching a "comprehensive deal" by the end of the year.
"This framework agreement paves the way for a final and enduring peace in Mindanao," President Aquino said in a speech to announce the deal, referring to the main southern region.
But he added: "The work does not end here. There are still details that both sides must hammer out."
Correspondents say the agreement marks a major breakthrough, though previous peace efforts have broken down and negotiations with the MILF over the last 15 years were interrupted by violence.
The MILF's vice chairman for political affairs, Ghazali Jaafar told AFP news agency: "We are very happy. We thank the president for this."
It is hoped that the agreement could be implemented on the ground by the end of President Aquino's term in 2016.
President Aquino said the new autonomous region would be named Bangsamoro, after the Moros living there.
"This framework agreement is about rising above our prejudices," the president said.
"It is about casting aside the distrust and myopia that has the plagued efforts of the past."
Sunday's agreement provides for the creation of a "transition commission" tasked with drafting a law to implement the framework deal.
"The MILF shall undertake a graduated program for decommissioning of its forces so that they are put beyond use," the framework agreement says.
It says law enforcement would be transferred from the army to the Bangsamoro police in a "phased and gradual manner".
The MILF, created after a split with another rebel group in 1977, had earlier dropped its demand for an independent Muslim state.