A decades-long push to halt the violence that has claimed some 150,000 lives in the southern Philippines culminated Monday with a vote on giving the nation’s Muslim minority greater control over the region.
The poll is the final step in a peace deal with the Catholic-majority country’s largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which has been a key force in a separatist insurgency that has raged since the 1970s.
Turnout was heavy in core areas of the proposed Bangasmoro region, located primarily on the southern island of Mindanao, and voters are expected to back it overwhelmingly in most areas.
“I’m tired of the violence because my father is one of the victims,” said 22-year-old Jembrah Abas, adding he was slain by unidentified attackers after advocating for peace. Read more