Philippines. When a barely-majority of the Senate voted
in January against the corruption-accused President Joseph
Estrada to face trial, this led to mass protests in the
capital. The demonstration trains gathered above all the
Filipino middle class, while the poorer section of the
population, where the president obtained his main support,
was largely absent. After four days, the military withdrew
its support for Estrada, triggering mass shootings from the
government. Estrada was deposed and Vice President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo, who headed the protests, stepped into his
place. Arroyo belongs to the country's traditional political
In March, it was clear that Estrada would face trial when
the Supreme Court took away his immunity from prosecution.
He was arrested in April and charged with forfeiting the
equivalent of $ 80 million during his 30 months in power as
well as for perjury and forgery.
Parliamentary elections were held on May 14 and Arroyo's
party alliances managed to gain control of the Senate. The
election campaign became violent and required sixty lives.
Muslim guerrilla groups' struggle for an independent state
created concern in the south.
Countryaah, the government army continued its offensive against the
militant Abu Sayyaf guerrilla, which committed several new
acts of violence. At the end of May, the rebels kidnapped 20
people, including three Americans. Several in the hostages
were later found dead. Abu Sayyaf was later reported to have
ties to the al-Qaeda network, which was suspected of the
terrorist attacks in the United States in September.
However, the Arroyo government held peace talks with the
MILF guerrilla, and in August the parties agreed to cease
fire. The sensitive negotiations then continued during the
Struggles erupted in the islands of Mindanao and Jolo in
November after rebels from yet another Muslim group, the
MNLF, had attacked army posts on the islands. In 1996, the
MNLF made peace with the government in exchange for
self-government in a region of Mindanao.
Behind the attacks was a faction of the MNLF who was
loyal to Governor Nur Misurai who opposed elections being
held in the Muslim region. Misurai had led the movement
during many years of guerrilla struggle and had recently
been ousted by his own from the MNLF chairmanship because of
allegations of incompetence and corruption. Misurai was
arrested within a week in Malaysia, but the unrest did not
end. The elections in the region were held as planned on
November 26. However, few people voted.
In November 2013, the country was hit by typhoon Yolanda.
The worst typhoon in history in the country with wind speeds
of up to 315km/h over 1 minute. In comparison, a hurricane
starts at gusts of 120km/h. Yolanda hit the Visayas, where
it particularly affected Samar and Leyte. About DKK 11
million people were affected by the typhoon, which cost at
least 6,300 lives and caused $ 2.86 billion in damage. US $.
The exceptionally violent typhoon was seen as an expression
of global climate change, which increases the sea
temperature and thus contributes to more extreme weather.
In March 2014, a peace agreement was signed with the Moro
Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after 17 years of
negotiations. As part of the peace agreement, an autonomous
Bangsamoro region was established in the southern part of
the country, in return for the rebel movement to abandon its
claim to an independent Islamic state. Another rebel
movement led by Abu Sayyaf was strongly opposed to the peace
agreement. In July, it swore allegiance to IS in Iraq and
carried out attacks in the Sulu province that cost 21 lives.
In December, another 10 were killed and 30 injured when a
mortar grenade hit a bus in Bukidnon province.
That same month, the Philippines renewed its claim on the
Spratly Islands. Both Brunei, China, Malaysia, Taiwan and
Vietnam had similar demands on the archipelago.
In April, the President of the United States visited the
country. On that occasion, a new military cooperation
agreement was signed between the two countries that allowed
the United States to use military bases in the Philippines.
In August, former General Jovito Palparan was arrested,
charged with kidnapping and torture. It was the first time a
senior officer was arrested for human rights violations. It
gave hope that the country would begin to depart from the
traditional impunity for human rights violations committed
by security forces.
Journalist Nerlita Ledesma was assassinated in January
2015. The country's journalists' association calculated that
30 journalists had been killed since Aquino came to power in
2010. Only in 6 of the cases had the authorities made
arrests. The rest was unsolved. Ledesma was murdered the day
after 12 journalists and magazine comic strips were murdered
in the French Charlie Hebdo, but while the French
killings caused the Western press to go self-inflicted, the
murder of Ledesma did not even trigger a note in the