Philippines: 2 cities vote Yes in Bangsamoro plebiscite

             By Ahmet Furkan Mercan and Ecenur Colak</p>      <p>COTABATO CITY, Philippines (AA) - Two cities in the southern Philippines, where a historic plebiscite took place, have voted Monday in favor of comprehensive autonomy for the Bangsamoro Muslims, according to unofficial results.</p>  <p>The cities of Cotabato and Isabela have voted in favor of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) which will replace existing Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

The two cities are not located in the ARMM — which consists of five provinces in the region — however, the Yes vote will also allow them to become a part of the BARMM, long-awaited comprehensive autonomy of Moro Muslims.

Once the bill is ratified, the BARMM will be created.

The BOL is set to increase legal and economic gains for Muslims in the region.

With the establishment of the Bangsamoro government, courts of Islamic law will be opened in the region.

Regional authority will be handed over from the capital Manila to the Bangsamoro government.

When the BOL is ratified, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) group is also set to decommission 40,000 combatants of its Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAFF).

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