Philippines fears new fighting with stalled Muslim autonomy

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Philippine officials say the country's Congress has run out of time to pass a Muslim autonomy bill under the current president, sparking concerns the setback may embolden hardline Muslim guerrillas to launch attacks.

Senators and members of the House of Representatives have until Wednesday to deliberate on the bill before they start a three-month break at the end of the week. The long-delayed bill is at the heart of a peace deal signed by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south and the government of President Benigno Aquino III, whose term ends in June.

The killing of 44 police commandos in fighting that involved some of the Muslim guerrillas early last year scuttled the early passage of the Muslim autonomy bill outlined in the 2014 peace deal.