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Filipino Muslims approve new autonomous region

“Muslims in the southern Philippines overwhelmingly approved in a referendum the creation of a new autonomous region in hopes of ending nearly half a century of unrest, election officials said.

The Commission on Elections announced late Friday that the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is deemed ratified following a referendum on Monday. It says 1.5 million people voted in favor.

Bangsamoro replaces an existing poverty-wracked autonomous region with a larger, better-funded and more powerful entity.

It is the result of a tumultuous peace effort by the government in Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main Muslim rebel group, to seal a deal that was signed in 2014 but languished in the Philippine Congress until it was finally approved last year.”

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