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Philippines Culture and Traditions



The shooting of soldiers is being investigated

July 2

Philippine authorities are investigating an incident in the southern Sulu Islands, where police shot dead four soldiers. At this time, the soldiers were not wearing uniform and were in the area to chase members of Islamist Abu Sayyaf. According to the army, the four were shot even though they stated that they were military.

  • Countryaah: Overview of the capital city of Philippines, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.


"At least 122 children have been killed in the war on drugs"

June 29

Culture and Traditions of PhilippinesAt least 122 children between the ages of one and 17 have been killed in President Duterte's "war on drugs" between July 2016 and December 2019, according to two NGOs today publishing a report on this: "How Could They Do This To My Child?". According to the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) based in Geneva and the Philippine organization Children's Legal Rights and Developmen.t Center (CLRDC), this is just the tip of an iceberg and probably the number of children killed is significantly higher

Maria Ressa is being convicted

June 15

Maria Ressa, head of the independent Rappler news site, is being sued. This is an article written by another journalist, Reynaldo Santos Jr. who no longer works for Rappler, about businessman Wilfredo Keng, who was accused of being involved in drug dealing and human trafficking. Both Ressa and Santos Jr. risk being sentenced to six years in prison but are now released on bail. The article was published in September 2012, four months before a new law against slander was adopted online, but prosecutors have been able to prosecute it when a correction in it was made in 2014.

Protests against new anti-terrorist law

June 12

Hundreds of people are demonstrating in Manila against a new law on terrorism that will give the president even greater powers than today to strike against critics. According to the law, which has been approved by Congress but has not yet been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, a special council is to be created that can order persons suspected of terrorism to be arrested without the need for a court decision. Council members shall be appointed by the President. Terrorism is counted as anyone who deliberately wants to kill or injure someone, make damage to state or private property or use weapons of mass destruction to create fear or direct threats against the government. Those arrested can be held for 24 days instead of the three days prescribed by today's laws.

Requirements for independent investigation of police shootings in UN report

June 4th

A report from the United Nations Human Rights Agency calls for an independent investigation into the systematic abuses, including murders, that occurred as part of President Duterte's war on drugs. According to the report, the abuses have been sanctioned from a higher place, and few have been punished for these crimes. The local police often have lists of who are involved in the drug trade, and it is common for suspects to be shot dead when police search for them in their homes. Officially, they are said to have resisted when they were to be arrested. According to the Philippine police, 5,600 suspects of crime have been killed in connection with police interventions, while the UN report states that, according to a prudent estimate, based on public information, more than 8,800 have been killed. In addition, those who have been killed by various death patrols.

The Philippines backs defense agreements with the United States

June 2

The Philippines now announces to the United States that the country has reconsidered the decision to terminate the defense agreement between the countries (see February 2020). This would have meant that the annual joint military exercises would not have been possible. It may not mean that the exit has been completely canceled, but nothing will happen in the next six months, says Foreign Minister Teodoro Locsin.


Duterte promises relief in coronary restrictions from June 1

May 28

President Rodrigo Duterte announces new relief in the harsh restrictions imposed in Manila with suburbs to fight covid-19 from June 1. Then the residents have been in a hard quarantine for almost three months. Some companies may resume their operations and some of the public transport should also be started. This is despite the fact that the country does not appear to have stopped the spread of infection. To date, the Philippines has had nearly 16,000 confirmed cases of covid-19, but the number is believed to be significantly greater than that. 921 people have died of the viral disease. At the same time, there are rumors and false information that increase the unrest in society. In April, a film was broadcast in the Philippines alleging that a motorcyclist was shot dead by police at a roadblock because he had violated the quarantine rules,

The working group recommends that the sanctions be eased

May 28

The special working group set up to deal with the corona pandemic recommends President Rodrigo Duterte to ease the severe restrictions imposed by the government and which have now been in force for eleven weeks. The recommendation is made despite the spread of infection. To date, more than 15,000 confirmed cases have been reported in the Philippines, of which more than a tenth have been discovered in the last six days. More than 900 people have died in the viral disease. The tough quarantine of Luzon has been a severe blow to the Philippine economy, which is largely driven by private consumption. GDP fell by 0.2 percent during the first quarter of 2020.

Duterte: schools only open when there is a vaccine against covid-19

May 26

President Rodrigo Duterte says Philippine schools will not open until there is a vaccine against covid-19. In the past, it looked as if the children would return to schools in August. The school authorities have also announced that during the coming school year, they will take turns teaching the schools with some lessons via the Internet, with the aim of reducing the congestion in the classrooms.

Manilla relieves the restrictions

May 16

Now some easing is taking place in the severe restrictions imposed on the island of Luzon in March (see March 2020). Among other things, shopping centers are opened in several places, but the air conditioning is set at 26 degrees and all free wifi connections are switched off to prevent customers from staying too long. Controls are also carried out if visitors have a fever, everyone must wear a mouthguard and measures have been put in place to prevent queuing from being too close to each other. To date, about 800 people have died in covid-19 in the Philippines.

Typhoon forces Filipinos to flee

15th of May

Tens of thousands of people are forced to leave their homes when a powerful storm, Vongfong, advances across the Philippines. It causes great havoc on the island of Samar, southeast of the main island of LKuzon. The Bicol region of southern Luzon is also affected, but not as hard as Samar. The situation becomes extra complicated when the population there is in quarantine due to the corona pandemic. However, the winds decline before the typhoon reaches the capital Manila.

The Corona crisis is hitting the Philippines economy

May 8

The corona crisis hits the Philippines economy hard, and in the first quarter of 2020, GDP falls for the first time since 1998. The decline amounts to more than 5 percent, compared with growth of nearly 2 percent in the last quarter of 2019. One important reason for the problems is falling domestic demand and the number of investments also fell at a rapid pace.

The broadcasting company ABS-CBN is forced to close

May 5th

The private broadcasting company ABS-CBN, with 7,000 employees, is now forced to cancel its broadcasts following a decision by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) of the Philippine Radio and Television Authority. However, the decisive decision must be made by Parliament, Congress, and representatives of the broadcaster saying that it was previously announced that broadcasts could continue pending the decision. ABS-CBN was on edge with President Duterte already during the 2016 election campaign, when the company refused to send his campaign ads. It has also reported on extra-judicial executions and that the president must have hidden assets. The company's dispatch permit expired on May 4. NTC's decision can be appealed in court.

Nearly 10,000 prisoners are released to prevent the spread of infection

May 2

Nearly 10,000 prisoners are released from several prisons. This is done as part of reducing the spread of covid-19 in the overcrowded prisons. Several lower courts have also decided to release interns who are waiting to be tried, but who cannot afford to pay the bail. According to several reports, the infection has already spread in some places and both interns and staff have become ill. To date, the Philippines has 9,000 confirmed cases of covid-19 and about 600 people have died of the disease.


Duterte threatens "state of emergency"

April 17

President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to tighten restrictions on the island of Luzon following reports that car traffic in Manila has increased. He talks about deploying police and military to ensure that citizens follow the rules, "as a state of emergency". To date, 5,660 cases of covid-19 and and 362 deaths from the disease have been reported in the Philippines.

MR organizations criticize Duterte

April 1st

President Rodrigo Duterte orders security forces to kill people who cause "problems" in the areas that are shut down because of the ongoing pandemic. It happens in a situation where about 110 million people are quarantined, many of them poor people who can no longer support themselves. His orders are criticized by human rights organizations. About 20 people were arrested earlier that day in a slum in Manila, protesting that the government was doing too little to help the poor population. Of the nearly $ 4 billion aid program announced by the government at the end of March, only half have reached the Ministry of Social Affairs, which will then transfer the money to the municipalities. So far, more than 2,300 cases of covid-19 have been reported in the Philippines and 96 people are reported to have died in the disease.


The United States is suspending military exercise in the Philippines

March 27th

The United States suspends the annual military exercise in the Philippines, Balikatan 2020, because of the ongoing pandemic. It would have taken place May 4 to 5, with 10,000 Filipino, American and Australian soldiers. To date, 700 cases of covid-19 have been reported in the Philippines, but only a small number of Filipinos have been tested. Among those infected are the commander of the military General Felimon Santos.

Nine doctors have died in covid-9

March 26

Nine doctors have died of covid-19 in the Philippines, according to the country's medical association, which draws attention to the lack of protective equipment for those caring for severely ill patients. At the same time, three large hospitals in Manila announce that they are now fully occupied and unable to accept new patients. Hundreds of doctors are quarantined at the same time after being infected.

The Communist Party announces a ceasefire

24th of March

The Communist Party of the Philippines CPP announces a unilateral ceasefire for the period 26 March to 15 April. It is following a request from the UN which appealed to the CPP and its armed branch NPA to allow the government to focus on fighting the covid-19 viral disease. The CPP now wants to start peace talks with the government. Earlier peace talks were interrupted by the government in 2017, citing the NPA continuing to attack the military. The government announced a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP earlier in March (see March 18, 2020).

The government announces unilateral ceasefire with CPP

March 18th

The government announces a unilateral ceasefire in the conflict with the Communist Party CPP and its armed branch between 19 March and 15 April. President Rodrigo Duterte justifies the decision that resources are needed to fight covid-19. The decision was welcomed by both the military and the national police. However, they say they will defend themselves if attacked.

The Philippines is in disaster mode

March 17

Now President Duterte puts the entire Philippines in disaster because the new corona virus has spread to large parts of the country. It will be valid for six months, unless the authorities decide to cancel it earlier. At the same time, price controls are introduced on a number of basic commodities and certain medicines, and measures are taken to prevent hoarding of goods. At the same time, the government announces a number of other measures to reduce the impact on the economy, with support measures for workers and companies. Later this month, new laws are passed that give President Duterte additional powers.

Luzon is quarantined

March 16

To prevent the spread of the new corona virus that causes covid-19 in the decision-making government to quarantine the entire main island of Luzon. According to this, however, people are allowed to leave their homes to work and buy food and medicines. Only those who perform absolutely necessary work are allowed to continue working. All domestic flights to and from Manila have already been stopped for one month. 140 cases of covid-19 have been reported in the Philippines and twelve people have so far died in the disease. A rapid increase from just three cases ten days earlier. Earlier, several other areas in the country were quarantined, in some cases in a voluntary one.

The Philippines announces health emergencies

March 9

The Philippines is announcing a health emergency in the country, with a view to combating the spread of covid-19, the viral disease caused by the new coronavirus. This means that anyone who suspects that they have been affected by the disease must quarantine, otherwise they risk sanctions. The government is also given greater powers to take action, and police and military can be deployed to assist the authorities.


US Ambassador to the Philippines opens for military agreement talks

February 27th

The US ambassador to the Philippines opens talks with Washington on the military agreement, the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which President Duterte terminated earlier this month. At the same time, Minister of Defense Teodoro Locsin has gone against the President and emphasized to Parliament how important the VFA agreement has been and has been for the Philippine defense.

The Philippines terminates military agreement with the United States

February 11

The Philippines announces the termination of a military agreement with the United States from 1998 that allows American soldiers to enter Philippine soil and for the countries to conduct military exercises together. Under the agreement, cooperation can be interrupted with 180 days' notice. The agreement has been sensitive in the Philippines where the left and nationalist forces opposed it and where others believe that without the US on its part, the country has difficulty defending itself. One reason for the decision is the US government's decision not to grant a visa to a former Philippine police chief (see January 2019).

ABS-CBN risks losing transmission permits

February 11

Media company ABS-CBN risks not having its broadcast license renewed after 25 years (it expires March 30), reports Reporters Without Borders. This since the country's counterpart to the Chancellor of Justice, Jose Calida, appealed to the Supreme Court to enforce this with reference to the fact that the company has on several occasions violated the rules and that it must be partly foreign-owned, which is prohibited in the Philippines. The Supreme Court has now given the company, which emphasizes that there is nothing in the charges, ten days to respond to this. Calida, who was one of Rodrigo Duterte's campaign managers in 2016, denies that there are any political motives behind his actions. Duterte has repeatedly threatened ABS-CBN, most recently at the end of December 2019 when he called on the owners to sell the company. The Philippine journalist trade union NUJP has started a name gathering in order for ABS-CBN to retain its broadcasting license.


Duterte threatens to suspend military cooperation with the United States

January 23

President Rodrigo Duterte threatens to suspend parts of military cooperation with Washington unless Ronald Dela Rosa, former chief of national police, is granted a visa to the United States. Dela Rosa, who is currently a senator but who previously led Duterte's war on drugs, has had his visa revoked without any explanation being given. Relations between the Philippines and the United States have improved since Donald Trump became US president, but criticism from other US politicians has recently led to tensions. In late 2019, Duterte banned two U.S. senators from visiting the Philippines.

Filipino guest work in Kuwait is stopped

January 17

The Government of the Philippines is stopping its citizens from working in Kuwait. The reason for a ban being re-introduced is a case where an employer is accused of sexually assassinating an employed Filipino. In 2018, when the remains of another Filipino woman were found in the freezer of her boss, the Philippines stopped the states for a while. The crisis in 2018 was resolved with an agreement between the two countries, which would give the guest workers greater legal certainty. The new ban applies to new employment contracts for all professions. Filipino citizens who are already in Kuwait may fulfill their contracts.

100,000 are evacuated due to volcanic eruptions

January 12

About 100,000 people are evacuated after the small but active volcano Taal erupts and bursts ashes. Among other things, the ash reaches Manila seven miles away and leads to canceled flights to and from the capital. No casualties have been reported, but the volcano causes major damage to adjacent farmland and it also causes fish death in the lake surrounding the volcano. In 1911, however, over 1,300 people were killed in a volcanic eruption from Taal. Its most recent major outbreak occurred in 1977. At the end of January, many of those who have been evacuated can return home, as the danger of a new more massive outbreak is no longer considered as great as before. However, they are urged to be prepared to be forced to flee again.

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