Philippines. After the peace talks between the government
and the Communist Party (CPP) were canceled in November last
year, the Justice Department turned to a court in Manila in
February to have both the CPP and the Communist guerrilla
NPA stamped. After that, the ministry wanted to get 600
people on a compiled list labeled as terrorists. Among the
people were four Catholic priests and a woman working on
indigenous issues for the UN.
In February, a Filipino lawyer reported President Rodrigo
Duterte to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for human
rights crimes in connection with the president's fierce war
on drugs. According to Philippine authorities, more than
4,000 people have been killed in various incursions and
police operations since Duterte became president in June
2016. However, the data fell apart when human rights
organizations reported a figure of over 12,000, while some
media reported close to 20,000.
In March, the Philippines announced that it would
withdraw from the Rome Statute, which governs the ICC's
operations. The decision did not affect the Court's initial
review of President Duterte when it was initiated prior to
the Philippines' announcement. In addition, the exit process
took a year, according to the ICC.
Countryaah.com, a diplomatic crisis between the Philippines and Kuwait
erupted in the spring after it was revealed that several
Filipino guest workers had been exploited and killed in
Kuwait. For example, a Filipino maid had been found murdered
in her employer's freezer. After the disclosure, Duterte
ordered all Filipino citizens to leave Kuwait, at the same
time as a total ban on new jobs was introduced. In May, the
crisis came to an end when the countries agreed on a
regulation of working conditions. Among other things,
Filipino guest workers would be given one day of rest a week
and be given the right to keep their passports and mobile
The Supreme Court of the Philippines voted in May to
dismiss its own Chief Justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, after a
committee in the Philippine parliament's lower house alleged
that there were grounds for bringing her to court.
Officially, Sereno was accused of not declaring its assets
and liabilities - but critics condemned the process they
believed was part of Duterte's attempt to silence opponents.
Sereno is one of the president's foremost critics and has
voted against many of his proposals.
Many women also criticized the dismissal of Sereno when
Duterte said that her service would be replaced by a man and
not a woman.
The president's statement was one in the amount of
derogatory and sexist comments against women. In the
Philippines' response to the me too movement, a social media
campaign was started under the hashtag #Babae Ako, which
means "I am a woman". The movement became the start of a
protest march that was conducted in Manila in June when more
than 1,000 women walked the streets shouting "Duterte is
afraid of women".
The Time Magazine magazine named the founder of the
movement one of the world's 25 most influential
personalities on the Internet 2018.
In the island of Basilan in the southern Philippines, in
July, 11 people were killed in a suicide attack that the
terrorist group IS took. However, military officials
rejected IS's recognition as propaganda. Nevertheless, the
terrorist group Abu Sayyaf, which has sworn IS allegiance,
has a strong attachment to the island, which belongs to the
Muslim region of Mindanao. In the area there are both
Islamist terrorist groups and Muslim groups who have long
struggled to gain more independence.
The attack on Basil came shortly after Parliament
approved a new law that was part of a peace plan concluded
in 2014 with one of the groups on Mindanao - Moro's Muslim
Liberation Front (Milf). The group has promised to put down
its weapons and their demands on their own state if given
more regional self-government and more resources. With the
new law, the region would be allowed to keep three quarters
of the tax collected there. In addition, they would receive
an annual support of the equivalent of 5% of the income of
the Philippine State, as well as having their own parliament
and independent judiciary.
In September, more than 80 people died after the typhoon
Manghut advanced across the northern parts of the
The Ministry of Justice stated in November that it had
found grounds to prosecute the Philippine news site Rappler
and its editor-in-chief Maria Ressa for tax violations. The
online magazine, whose license was revoked earlier in the
year, is one of the few independent media left in the
country. The decision aroused strong reactions among
journalists in the Philippines, who said the measure was
another way for Duterte to silence critics.