With Autonomy in the Southern Philippines, Muslim Rebels Must Learn How to Govern

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, Al-Hajj Murad, chair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, left, and other leaders at a ceremony at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, Al-Hajj Murad, chair of Moro Islamic Liberation Front, left, and other leaders at a ceremony at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines, July 17, 2017 (AP photo by Bullit Marquez).

In the fragile west of the Philippines’ war-ravaged southern island of Mindanao, voters in recent weeks overwhelmingly approved an historic peace accord aimed at ending five decades of bloody separatist conflict. The vote ratified a new law on expanded autonomy, known as the Bangsamoro Organic Law, paving the way for a new Muslim-majority self-governing region to replace the existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which has been in place since 1989. The public stamp of approval, in a high-turnout, two-stage referendum on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6, marks the culmination of a lengthy peace process between the Philippine government and […]

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