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, major public holidays in Philippines include Independence Day (June 12) and New Year (January 1). 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 On March 3, the state of emergency was revoked and later charges were brought against nearly 50 people, including six congressmen from the left.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.