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Muslim self-rule backed in Philippines’ troubled south

Published: Updated:

Voters have decisively approved a new Muslim-led region in the Philippines’ south, which is hoped will bring a measure of peace after decades of fighting killed thousands and mired the area in poverty.

The results, announced Friday, will begin the process of the Catholic-majority nation’s largest rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, laying down its weapons and assuming political power.

Last November, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to correct “historical injustice” in a speech to Filipino Muslim rebels as his government seeks to reignite a stalled peace process in the nation’s troubled south.

He made the remarks at a mammoth gathering hosted by the country’s main Muslim guerrilla group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but which has also brought together Christians, rival Muslim factions and tribal groups from the southern region of Mindanao.