Kids are just collateral damage in Philippines

A Philippine senator who initially led President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drug war sparked outrage Thursday when he dismissed the killing of a toddler in a police anti-narcotics operation with an expletive and as collateral damage.Ex-Philippine police chief Ronald Dela Rosa, who won a senate seat in May, made the comments as police burned 1.4 tonnes (over 3,000 pounds) of seized narcotics while warning the nation still faced a flood of illegal drugs.Authorities said a three-year-old girl

5 July 2019

'Just a collision': Duterte downplays sinking

The sinking of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel in the disputed South China Sea was "just a collision", the Philippine's President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday as he moved to soothe anger over the crash.The typically brash Duterte urged calm in his first public comments about the June 9 incident, which has fed into outrage over China's expansive claims to the resource-rich waterway.Critics have voiced anger over the Chinese trawler's failure to rescue the 22

18 June 2019

Will Marawi become a terrorist magnet?

Two years after the Philippine city of Marawi was overrun by jihadists it remains in ruins, with experts warning that stalled reconstruction efforts are bolstering the appeal of extremist groups in the volatile region.The 23 May, 2017 invasion by gunmen waving the black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group sparked a five-month battle that shattered swathes of the southern city.Demolition of blast-pocked buildings has finally begun, but after several false starts the government does not expect

24 May 2019

Philippines goes to the polls

Filipinos headed to the polls on Monday in a vote that is expected to strengthen President Rodrigo Duterte's grip on power, opening the way for him to deliver on pledges to restore the death penalty and rewrite the constitution.More than 18,000 positions are at stake, including half of the seats in the upper house Senate, which has served as a bulwark against some of Duterte's most controversial policies.Duterte is known internationally for his foul-mouthed tirades, but remains huge

13 May 2019

Duterte warns China to back off

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Beijing to back off from a disputed island in the South China Sea, warning of possible military action if China "touches" it amid rising tensions over the key waterway.Duterte, aiming to attract trade and investment from the Asian superpower, has mostly withheld his early criticism of Beijing's expansive claims to the sea – a point of regional contention because trillions of dollars of goods pass through it.But as the Philippine m

5 April 2019

Philippines out of International Criminal Court

The Philippines was officially out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday, though the beleaguered tribunal has pledged to pursue its examination of alleged illegal killings in the government's drug war.Under court rules, Manila's withdrawal took force a year after it told the United Nations (UN) that it was quitting the world's only permanent war crimes tribunal, the second nation to do so."The Secretary-General...informed all concerned states that the withdra

18 March 2019

Drug 'godfathers' surrender to Bangladesh police

Some 102 Bangladeshi meth dealers have surrendered to authorities at a pre-scheduled ceremony in a coastal town, officials said Saturday, as a Philippines-style anti-narcotics crackdown sows fear among kingpins.Bangladesh last year launched a "war" on drugs following a proliferation of illegal substances in the South Asian nation of 165 million people, mostly of cheap methamphetamine pills known as "yaba".Police said 24 yaba "godfathers", as well as lieutenants a

17 February 2019

Philippines arrests journalist Maria Ressa

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, whose news site has repeatedly clashed with President Rodrigo Duterte, was arrested at her Manila office on Wednesday in what press freedom advocates branded an act of "persecution".Her detention on a charge of "cyber libel" is a dramatic escalation in government pressure bearing down on Ressa and her website Rappler, which was already facing tax evasion charges that could shut it down.It comes after Duterte has cracked down on high-profi

14 February 2019

Journalist critical of Duterte surrenders

The journalist who leads a news site that has battled Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte turned herself in on Monday to face what she termed a "manufactured" tax fraud case that carries the threat of a decade behind bars.A day after Rappler CEO Maria Ressa flew home to the Philippines under the threat of an arrest warrant, she surrendered at a Manila court and was allowed to remain free after paying a cash bail.

5 December 2018

First conviction in Philippine drug war killing

Three Philippine policemen were sentenced on Thursday to decades in prison for murdering a teenager during an anti-narcotic sweep, a first conviction of officers carrying out President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.Duterte has vowed to pardon authorities involved in his bloody crackdown, but even he refused to defend the 2017 killing of Kian delos Santos in a dank Manila alley - which helped spark rare protests against the campaign.Police said the 17-year-old was a drug courier who fire

1 December 2018

Philippines opens cleaner, stricter Boracay

Tourists landed by the boatload Friday on the Philippines' Boracay island, which re-opened with a slew of new rules after a six-month shutdown aimed at undoing the impact of years of being loved to death by millions of holidaymakers.President Rodrigo Duterte shuttered the tiny white-sand island in April, declaring it a "cesspool" where businesses flushed raw sewage into the once pristine turquoise waters and trash soiled its beaches.Among the first to land after the government

27 October 2018

No home to return to

The battle to establish Marawi as a wilayat or provincial territory by the ISIL-affiliated Maute-Abu Sayyaf group and the ensuing firefights to liberate the city by the Philippine government security forces was declared over by President Rodrigo Duterte, on 17 October, 2017. The five-month conflict claimed the lives of 920 militants, 165 government security troops and 47 civilians, while 1,780 hostages were rescued during the crisis.

23 October 2018