Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed an autonomy law promising wider self-rule for Muslims in the south, his spokesman said.
Under the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), four million Muslim Filipinos will be allowed to form an elected parliament and administration in Islamic-majority areas of southern Mindanao and nearby islands, where five decades of insurgency have left more than 100,000 people dead.
The law looks to give the people in the south control over many local government functions, including taxation and education, and it will allow Muslim Filipinos to incorporate Islamic law into their justice system. Both houses of the Philippine congress approved the BOL bill earlier this week.
“After much confusion, the president has signed into law the Bangsamoro Organic Law,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque told BenarNews.
The law will go to a vote in designated provinces this year before elections, which are expected to take place next year.
As part of the autonomy deal, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is required to gradually disband its armed force, estimated by the military to be about 11,000 fighters.
Full story: BenarNews
Karl Romano, Jeoffrey Maitem and Richel V. Umel
Dagupan, Cotabato and Iligan, Philippines. Felipe Villamor in Manila contributed to this report.
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