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Politics

Specter of conflict shadows Philippine vote for Muslim autonomy

Peace not guaranteed even if Bangasomoro region gains more powers in referendum

The Philippine government recently extended martial law in Mindanao in response to the threat from Islamist insurgents that tried to capture Marawi city in May last year.   © Reuters

MANILA -- A referendum to create a Muslim region with greater autonomy in the conflict-ridden southern Philippine islands comes with no guarantee of peace.

About 2 million voters in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and two cities will vote on Monday on whether to establish a region with more than 50 exclusive powers, including a Sharia-based justice system and Islamic financing. A separate plebiscite for adjacent towns has been scheduled on Feb. 6.

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