Minority Bangsamoro Muslims in the southern Philippines cast votes on Monday in a long-awaited referendum on autonomy
Nearly 2.2 million people are voting on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) under tight security measures in Cotabato City, the regional center of Muslim Mindanao. The region also has the right to establish a special parliament and courts to deal with issues of concern to Muslims
Regional Chairman of the Commission for Elections of the Philippines Allan C. Kadon said that they did not expect any violence during the referendum because there was no active opposition to the law, adding that the vote count would be easy and expected to be completed by Tuesday.
The second phase of the referendum will be held on February 6 with the rest of the regions that want to join the autonomous region if the majority of voters approve the law during the referendum today.
Philippine President ratified last July the law which is called ‘Bongsamoro core,’ declaring that he would put it to the referendum.
The Moro, also called 'Bangsamoro', is the Muslim population of the Philippines, which represent about 5.1 percent of the country's total population.
The Philippines also has some 13 indigenous communities most of whom have converted to Islam and are now Muslims or Moros. (QNA)
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