MANILA, Philippines — Muslims in the southern Philippines are voting in a referendum on a new autonomous region that seeks to end nearly half a century of unrest.
The vote on Monday caps a tumultuous peace effort by the government in Manila and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the main rebel group, to seal a deal that was signed in 2014 but languished in the Philippine Congress until it was finally approved last year. Bloodshed including the 2017 siege of Marawi city by Islamic State-linked militants and other bombings and attacks in the south threatened to derail it.
Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chairman of the Moro rebels, says the creation of a viable Muslim autonomous region is the best antidote to smaller IS-linked radical groups that remain a threat.
The Associated Press