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It’s Official: Majority in Southern Philippines Ratifies Muslim Autonomy Law

2 min read
A young Muslim volunteer checks a local Filipino woman's vital signs

A young Muslim volunteer checks a local Filipino woman's vital signs while participating in a Medical Civil Action Program (MEDCAP) located on Basilan Island, just south of Zamboanga City. Photo: U.S. Navy photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Edward G. Martens.

A heavy majority in the southern Philippines voted in favor of a ratifying a law giving Muslims in the region full autonomy through a historic plebiscite held earlier this week, according to certified results released late Friday by elections officials.

The Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) was “deemed ratified,” the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said, as officials released figures showing that more than 1.5 million registered voters had cast “yes” ballots for the law’s ratification versus nearly 200,000 who had voted against it.

President Rodrigo Duterte had signed the law in July 2018, and it was placed before voters in Muslim-majority areas of the south through a referendum held Monday.

Ghadzali Jaafar, vice chairman for political affairs of the former rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), told BenarNews he was happy with the outcome of the vote.

“This is what we are waiting for. We thank all the people who supported us. Rest assured we will implement pro-people programs,” Jaafar said.

The elections commission said that Cotabato City – long considered the administrative capital of Muslims in the south – would also be part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), which would replace an old political entity called the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) that has been described as a “failed experiment.”

Full story: BenarNews

Jeoffrey Maitem
Cotabato City, Philippines. Froilan Gallardo contributed to this report from Cagayan de Oro city, Philippines.

Copyright ©2019, BenarNews. Used with the permission of BenarNews.

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