Philippines. On some occasions reports of sporadic
fighting on the island of Mindanao in the south came between
the separatist movement Moro's Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF) and civilian militia groups which were reported to
have support from the government army. According to
CountryAAH, formal talks between
the MILF and the government, which have officially observed
a ceasefire since July 2003, would have started during the
year but did not get started as planned. On February 24, the
military was reported to have turned down a coup attempt and
President Gloria Arroyo introduced a state of emergency. In
a televised speech, Arroyo accused both the right-wing
opposition and communist rebels as well as "military
adventurers" for lying behind the coups. Police and military
were given the right to arrest people without arrest
warrants and made strikes against several media companies.
Kravall police were targeted against the thousands of
Filipinos who defied the government's demonstration ban.
From several quarters, it was questioned whether a coup
attempt had really taken place. Arroyo was accused of
staging it all in order to strike the opposition. On March
3, the state of emergency was revoked and later charges were
brought against nearly 50 people, including six congressmen
from the left. More than 200 militants arrested were
released for lack of evidence. According to a ruling in the
Supreme Court in May, the president had the right to issue
emergency permits, but a disagreement right considered that,
among other things, some of the arrests had been unlawful.
More than 200 militants arrested were released for lack of
evidence. According to a ruling in the Supreme Court in May,
the president had the right to issue emergency permits, but
a disagreement right considered that, among other things,
some of the arrests had been unlawful. More than 200
militants arrested were released for lack of evidence.
According to a ruling in the Supreme Court in May, the
president had the right to issue emergency permits, but a
disagreement right considered that, among other things, some
of the arrests had been unlawful.
At least 130 people were killed in February in a
landslide that buried an entire village on the island of
Leyte. Seventy people were killed and several hundred
injured the same month when panic ensued when people queued
to buy tickets to a gaming program on TV.
On June 24, the government abolished the death penalty.
Already in April of that year, more than a thousand
prisoners had their sentences converted to life
imprisonment. The death penalty had previously been
abolished in 1987, but it was reintroduced seven years later
for murder, kidnapping and child rape. However, no one had
been executed in the Philippines since 2000.
Three suspected Islamist terrorists - Abu Sayyaf leader
Khadaffi Janjalani and two Indonesians suspected of
involvement in a terrorist attack in Bali in 2002 - were
reported in July on the southern island of Jolo. The
government army then launched an offensive against the
rebels in Abu Sayyaf. It was unclear how many were killed in
the fighting between the guerrillas and the army. Abu Sayyaf
was also suspected of two bombings on Jolo that claimed at
least ten lives.
Over 200,000 liters of oil leaked in August after a
tanker went offshore outside Mindanao during a storm.
On August 24, a clear majority of the House of
Representatives voted no to put Arroyo before the national
court for corruption, human rights violations and electoral
fraud. An earlier attempt to bring about a national court
process against the president failed in 2005.
In August, the government decided to appoint a commission
to investigate a series of murders of left-wing activists
and journalists. According to human rights organization
Amnesty International, 51 people were killed only during the
period January - August. The army, police and militia groups
are suspected for a large part of the death. However, it was
questioned what purpose the Commission really had, including
its chairman, the former judge of the Supreme Court Jos谷
Melo, said that its task was not to find the perpetrators
but to look for the causes of the violence. The political
opposition was not represented in the Commission.
Two bomb attacks were carried out in Mindanao in October.
The suspicions were then directed at the MILF.
The Philippines was hit by several severe storms in the
fall that claimed more than a thousand lives and left
hundreds of thousands of Filipinos without a roof over their
heads. The population of the Albay province southeast of
Manila was most severely affected, where typhoon Durian
emerged in December.