Historic Peace Agreement in Philippines

Historic Peace Agreement in PhilippinesThe signing of a comprehensive peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Thursday is a major triumph for President Benigno S. Aquino III, a landmark accord that hopefully will put an end to one of the longest-running armed conflicts in Southeast Asia. "I will not let peace be snatched from…

Expect Justice Long Delayed in Philippine Pork Barrel Case

Expect Justice Long Delayed in Philippine Pork Barrel CaseThe massive “pork barrel” scandal in the Philippines has outraged the public, implicated powerful politicians and led to televised senate hearings that have revealed a tide of evidence that would seem ironclad. But given the pace of justice in the country’s notoriously slow courts it seems likely that none of the lawmakers accused of lining…

Filipino Land Reform Still Tardy in Tarlac

Filipino Land Reform Still Tardy in TarlacDespite a 2012 Philippine Supreme Court order requiring the family of President Benigno S. Aquino III to redistribute its vast Hacienda Luisita sugar plantation to poor farmers, critics say the pace of divestiture is slow and that redistribution targets are not being met. Nor, say activists, is the powerful Cojuangco dynasty alone. They say the…

A Strike Against Abu Sayyaf

A Strike Against Abu Sayyaf  Najar Hajad is known by the nom de guerre Marlboro, the head of a Sulu Archipelago village militia that clashed with radical Abu Sayyaf rebels in what has become major news – a local rebellion against what is increasingly regarded as a criminal enterprise rather than an ethnic or religious movement. In the past…

Asean’s Weak Haiyan Response

Asean’s Weak Haiyan ResponseLê Lương Minh, the secretary general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, arrived in the Philippines today to inspect the damage from Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, which made landfall on Nov. 8 – two full weeks after the storm smashed into the center of the country and killed more than 5,000 people. There are 381,022…

Heavy Lift in Leyte

Heavy Lift in LeyteJust over a month ago, US President Barack Obama skipped the APEC summit in Bali and the Asean summit in Brunei, leaving the stage clear for China’s President Xi Jinping to make nice and sign deals, while editorial writers pondered over the declining power of the United States. It seemed to some that Obama’s decision…

Uncle Sam Returns to the Philippines

Uncle Sam Returns to the PhilippinesWith US President Barack Obama having failed to show up at last month's APEC summit in Bali, the US Marines have landed again on the Philippine island of Leyte in a display of quick response to Typhoon Haiyan that seems certain to be welcomed by the storm-ravaged country and is symbolic of the continued US…

Philippines’ Aquino Defends Own Pork Fund

Philippines’ Aquino Defends Own Pork FundPhilippine President Benigno S. Aquino III is starting to acquire tarnish from the country’s massive and continuing “pork barrel” scandal, in which scores of lawmakers siphoned off hundreds of millions of pesos from development funds and pocketed them. The president, his popularity descending in the polls, was forced to go onto national television Wednesday night…

Aquino Continues his Political Cleanup

Aquino Continues his Political CleanupAlthough the spotlight in Manila has consistently fallen for weeks on the massive Pork Barrel scandal which has implicated dozens of lawmakers in a scheme to loot development funds for the poor, the government of President Benigno S. Aquino III has been making quiet inroads against political corruption by cleaning up some of the institutions…