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Filipino Muslims vote in referendum on autonomous region

Filipino Muslims vote in referendum on autonomous region

Muslims in the southern Philippines voted on 21st Jan 2019 in a referendum on a new autonomous region that seeks to end nearly half a century of unrest.

Results are expected no later than Jan. 26.

If the measure is approved, a second referendum on Feb. 6 will ask residents of Lanao del Norte province and seven towns in North Cotabato province with a sizeable Muslim population to decide whether they want to join the new region as well.

Philippines

More than 7,000 islands make up the Philippines, but the bulk of its fast-growing population lives on just 11 of them.

Much of the country is mountainous and prone to earthquakes and eruptions from around 20 active volcanoes. It is often buffeted by typhoons and other storms.

The US is a close ally and has provided military aid to help combat Muslim and communist insurgencies.

Currently, the president is Rodrigo Duterte.

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