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Duterte approves autonomy law for troubled Philippines Muslim region

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday approved a long-awaited law to allow minority Muslims in the south of the Philippines to start moving towards self-rule by 2022. The move is aimed at tackling extremism and defusing a half century of separatist conflict. The green light is the culmination of a lengthy peace accord with separatists, during which militants have expanded their influence, most notably in their devastating occupation of Marawi City last year. Duterte signed the measure into law after a visit to a southern city, Reuters reported. Ebrahim Murad, chairman of the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said he was confident the law would help bring splinter separatist groups back into the political fold.