Yes Vote Takes Lead in Philippine Muslim Autonomy Poll


Moro Muslims celebrating ‘yes’ vote.

Historic plebiscite could grant ‘comprehensive autonomy’ to Moro Muslims living in the southern Philippines

ANKARA (AA) — The ‘Yes’ vote appeared to take the lead on Tuesday in a historic plebiscite on a law that would grant “comprehensive autonomy” to Moro Muslims living in the southern Philippines, according to unofficial results shared by the national media. .

voting started on Monday in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao Del Sur, and
the island provinces of Basilan, Tawi-tawi and Sulu as well as the cities
of Cotabato and Isabela, with a second round to be held on Feb. 6 in other

to ABS-CBN News, in the Maguindanao province nearly 600,000 people
voted in favor of the autonomy law, whereas some 9,000 voted No. In Lanao Del
Sur, over 503,000 voted Yes, versus some 9,700 voting No. In Cotabato city,
nearly 23,000 voted No, while 36,700 voted Yes. In Isabela city, there were
some 22,400 No votes versus 19,000 Yes votes.

In the
island provinces of Basilan, an overwhelming 147,600 Yes votes drowned out
6,500 No votes. Tawi-tawi Island got 152,000 Yes votes against 9,900 No
votes. On Sulu Island, there were some 163,500 No votes and 137,600 Yes votes.

The Yes
vote is reportedly leading in five regions, and No in two.

If the
Yes vote prevails, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be
replaced with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) — in
line with the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).

second phase of the BOL will be held on Feb. 6. Six towns in Lanao del Norte
and 39 villages in six districts of the Cotobato province and surrounding areas
will vote on their inclusion in the autonomous region.

The law,
signed by the Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte last year, is predicted to
provide comprehensive autonomy to Muslims, in addition to judicial and economic

Under the
law, courts of Islamic law will open in the region, and the Philippines’
central government will transfer its administrative authorities in Mindanao to
the Bangsamoro government.

waters in the Bangsamoro region will be simultaneously managed by the national
government and Bangsamoro government. The autonomous government will be
responsible for the management of energy resources.

addition, the former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) fighters will be able to join official forces.


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