By Joseph Santolan, 9 January 2012
Behind the sordid allegations is a simple fact: Arroyo gave a massive infrastructural contract to a Chinese state corporation over a rival bid from a US firm.
By Oliver Campbell, 23 December 2011
It appears that the collapse of dams contributed to the severity of the floods, along with deforestation, silting of the rivers and lack of government planning.
By Joseph Santolan, 20 December 2011
The ongoing constitutional crisis in the Philippines has revealed the bankrupt and unprincipled character of every section of the so-called ‘left.’
By Oliver Campbell, 19 December 2011
The severity of the floods, which hit residents without warning, was compounded by extensive deforestation and unplanned urbanisation.
By Joseph Santolan, 19 December 2011
President Aquino, employing sharply anti-democratic measures, has had Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached.
By Joseph Santolan, 21 November 2011
Aquino’s prosecution of Arroyo occurs in the context of rapidly mounting geopolitical tensions between the US and China, and is driven by the interests of US imperialism.
By Joseph Santolan, 29 October 2011
The ‘lawless elements’ whom President Aquino has ordered attacked, are the primary hurdle to a US-backed ‘peace’ process in the southern Philippines.
By Joseph Santolan, 25 October 2011
Behind the confrontation and escalating tensions in the South China Sea is the provocative role being played by Washington in the region.
By Joseph Santolan, 10 October 2011
Keppel, the shipyard operator, has actively suppressed the release of information regarding the accident, denying government officials, investigators and journalists access to the site.
By Dante Pastrana, 5 October 2011
The PALEA leaders betrayed a September 27 sit-down strike, continuing their protracted sell-out of 2,600 workers being replaced by contract labourers.
By Joseph Santolan, 1 October 2011
The tragedy of Typhoon Nesat was caused by staggering levels of class inequality and by the pursuit of profit in complete disregard for its effects upon human lives.
By Dante Pastrana, 27 September 2011
The job cuts are part of the ongoing restructuring of the airline that began in 1998 when the airline sacked 5,000 pilots, flight attendants and ground staff.
By Dante Pastrana, 19 September 2011
The economic slowdown will only widen the gulf between rich and poor, with the Stratbase Research Institute reporting that the Philippines was already the most unequal among Southeast Asian countries.
By Joseph Santolan, 29 July 2011
Former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been charged on five counts of plundering the economy during her tenure as president and with election fraud.
By Joseph Santolan, 7 July 2011
What hides behind the opaque language and convoluted logic of the Supreme Court decision is the final scrapping of even the most limited land reform in the Philippines.
By Joseph Santolan, 4 July 2011
The Philippine administration has, since the election of President Benigno Aquino last year, aligned its foreign policy more and more closely to the United States.
By Joseph Santolan, 30 June 2011
A US Senate resolution passed this week deploring China’s use of force and supporting continued US military operations heightens the danger of a confrontation in the South China Sea.
By Joseph Santolan, 15 June 2011
Tensions have intensified as Vietnam and the Philippines, tacitly backed by the US, assert their claims in the contested waters of the South China Sea.
By Joseph Santolan, 7 June 2011
The US Defense Secretary’s speech came amid rapidly mounting tensions between China and other claimants to the South China Sea.
By Joseph Santolan, 28 May 2011
The living conditions of wealthy prisoners in New Bilibid Prison are much better than those of the people who live on the edges of the prison grounds.
By Joseph Santolan, 21 May 2011
With US backing, the Philippines has been playing an increasingly provocative role in the South China Sea in asserting its stake in the disputed waters, especially against China.
By Joseph Santolan, 12 May 2011
Aquino’s plan aims to simultaneously clear urban land for private developers and to stem the mounting threat of a food crisis.
By Joseph Santolan, 9 May 2011
Like almost every boxing figure before him, Manny Pacquiao came from a life of grinding poverty. It is this history—the intimate shared reality of suffering and struggle—that the vast majority Filipinos identify with.
By Joseph Santolan, 3 May 2011
China, Taiwan and the Philippines have each stepped up their rhetoric regarding the contested oil-rich Spratly Islands and deployed troops to the region.
By Joseph Santolan, 22 April 2011
The spectacle is an annual celebration of gore and obscurantism, an international media circus, and a tourist bonanza.
By Joseph Santolan, 15 April 2011
The public furor over possible rice shortages has exposed the precarious position in which Aquino administration’s policies have left the country’s food supply.
By Joseph Santolan, 5 April 2011
The three prisoners became pawns in a vast geopolitical game involving the China, the Philippines, the US and the Association of South East Asian Nations.
By Joseph Santolan, 8 March 2011
US-instigated charges of corruption in the Philippine military have become a weapon in the hands of President Benigno Aquino III as he strives to consolidate his hold on power.
By Joseph Santolan, 5 March 2011
Two Philippine military planes chased Chinese patrol boats from disputed waters in the South China Sea on March 2.
By Joseph Santolan, 1 February 2011
These workers died because the enforcement of even minimal safety standards would have hampered their employers’ rapacious pursuit of profit.
By Joseph Santolan, 26 January 2011
The plight of the Filipino contract workers demonstrating outside Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Riyadh is typical of the plight of thousands of migrant workers from numerous countries who are trapped in Saudi Arabia.
By Dante Pastrana, 3 January 2011
Philippine President Aquino has by-passed his labor secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz, and assumed jurisdiction over a long-running industrial dispute at Philippine Airlines.
By Dante Pastrana, 30 October 2010
President Benigno Noynoy Aquino’s administration has issued a labor department order barring Philippine Airlines employees from striking in support of a pay agreement.
By Joseph Santolan, 20 October 2010
The budget for the National Food Authority, the agency responsible for the purchase and sale of rice at subsidized prices, has been slashed to meet IMF demands for budget cuts.
By Dante Pastrana, 29 September 2010
President Aquino’s pro-poor posturing is a sham. Like government leaders worldwide, he is under pressure from global financial capital to rein in public expenditure at the expense of working people.
By Joseph Santolan, 23 September 2010
Like other countries throughout Asia, Aquino is faced with balancing between his country’s growing economic dependence on China and its longstanding ties with the US, the former colonial power.
By Dante Pastrana, 7 September 2010
July’s week-long rationing of water highlighted the reality: millions of people are denied the basic right to potable water and sanitation while private firms rake in profits at their expense.
By Joseph Santolan, 27 August 2010
These events simultaneously exposed the rot at the core of the new Philippine government, the empty bluster of the news-as-entertainment media, and the taut and tenuous nature of relations between the Philippines and China.
By Joseph Santolan, 1 July 2010
Lurking behind Aquino’s insipid rhetoric of change and an end to corruption is a continuation of the anti-working class policies of his predecessor.
By Joseph Santolan, 12 May 2010
The one-term senator and scion of the Cojuangco dynasty is set to enter office facing a 4.358 trillion peso national debt.
By Joseph Santolan, 8 May 2010
From the disputes in ruling circles and the press, it is clear that the bourgeoisie is terrified of an election that fails to give the stamp of legitimacy to the victor.
By Dante Pastrana, 7 May 2010
With the Philippine elections taking place next Monday, leading candidate Senator Benigno Aquino III continues to be plagued by controversy over his family’s huge sugar plantation.
By John Braddock, 28 April 2010
The Philippine government has dropped charges against two members of a prominent political family accused of conspiracy in last year’s massacre of 57 people in southern Mindanao.
By Dante Pastrana, 14 April 2010
The trade unions paved the way for the privatisation of Manila North Harbour by signing a sell-out agreement with the new port operator on March 30 that will lead to major cutbacks in jobs and conditions.
By Dante Pastrana, 30 March 2010
While all the presidential candidates in the May elections are making empty promises to help working people, the next administration will quickly launch a further assault on living standards.
By Joseph Santolan, 26 March 2010
A worsening economic crisis is fuelling sharp rivalry between the various factions of the ruling elite, which also reflect the international tensions between Beijing and Washington.
By Peter Symonds, 14 December 2009
The resort to martial law in the Philippines is directed against the working class and highlights the political consequences of the deepening global economic crisis and rising class tensions internationally.
By Peter Symonds, 12 December 2009
In a further erosion of democratic rights in the Philippines, President Arroyo has imposed martial law over most of Maguindanao province on the southern island of Mindanao.
By Joseph Santolan, 1 December 2009
The 57 people killed were victims of the violence of the electoral process that is wielded with impunity by powerful political families throughout the Philippines.
By John Roberts, 30 September 2009
A major storm struck the Philippines last Saturday killing at least 250 people and causing over 435,000 to flee their flooded homes.
By Joseph Santolan, 5 August 2009
Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines, died of colon cancer on August 1. She had scarcely been dead for thirty minutes when eulogies and encomia began to flood the mainstream media.
By Joseph Santolan, 4 August 2009
Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines, died of colon cancer on August 1. She had scarcely been dead for thirty minutes when eulogies and encomia began to flood the mainstream media.
By Dante Pastrana, 21 April 2009
The number of extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals in Davao city has risen to 888 since 1998. The consensus of human rights organisations is that the murders are the work of a death squad acting in collusion with local government officials.
By Dante Pastrana, 6 April 2009
Under the impact of the global recession, Philippine growth rates slowed from 7.3 percent in 2007 to 4.6 percent in 2008 and a further steep decline is expected this year.
By John Chan, 5 March 2009
The annual summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok last weekend followed what is becoming a familiar pattern at top-level international gatherings. Amid a sharp downturn in all 10 member states, ASEAN leaders pledged themselves to economic cooperation and free trade, even as they resort to protectionist measures.
By Dante Pastrana, 9 December 2008
Three months after the eruption of the global financial crisis, the Philippines confronts a rapidly worsening economic outlook.
By Dante Pastrana, 15 November 2008
Several articles published last month in the Philippine media confirm that the privatisation of the country’s electricity grid is proceeding with the complicity of the employee association MINTREA. The drawn-out process, which is now being finalised in the Senate, threatens the jobs and conditions of more than 3,600 workers currently employed by the government-owned National Transmission Corporation (TRANSCO).
The US role
By Dante Pastrana, 29 September 2008
An offensive by the Philippine military to seize areas of southern Mindanao island controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is now in its seventh week.
By Dante Pastrana, 9 September 2008
The Philippine House of Representatives has approved a bill granting the private National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) a franchise to run the country’s electricity transmission grid. The counterpart bill in the upper house is still pending but there is little doubt that the proposed franchise will be approved.
By Dante Pastrana, 17 October 2006
The death toll of political activists has continued to mount in the Philippines. On September 20, eleven gunmen, wearing bonnets, black shirts and combat boots, barged into the backyard of Christopher Lunar, and shot and killed the peasant leader in broad daylight.
By Dante Pastrana, 15 August 2006
An estimated 30,000 Filipino workers, mostly women employed as domestic helpers, have been trapped in Lebanon during Israel’s month-long offensive. According to the Philippine department of foreign affairs, at least 2,000 were in southern Lebanon, which has borne the brunt of the bombardment.
By Dante Pastrana, 19 July 2006
Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in a bid to whip up anti-communist hysteria and shore up the narrow social base underpinning her tottering regime, has ordered the military to launch an offensive against the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New Peoples Army (NPA).
By John Roberts, 14 July 2006
Late last month, the first of several petitions to restart impeachment procedures against Philippines president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was filed in the lower house of the national parliament. While the latest impeachment moves appear to have little chance of success, the issue is being fuelled by an acrimonious debate in ruling circles over a package of constitutional changes being vigorously pushed by Arroyo.
By John Roberts, 13 March 2006
Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has ended the country’s state of emergency one week after she imposed it. The decree was lifted on March 3, but still without any credible evidence of any alleged coup attempt involving, allegedly, a combination of Communists and right-wing army officers.
By Peter Symonds, 27 February 2006
In a sign of considerable political crisis, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last Friday declared a state of emergency and began a crackdown on political opponents in response to what she alleged was a foiled military coup.
By John Roberts, 20 February 2006
An entire village in the Philippines was engulfed by a massive mudslide when the side of a mountain suddenly gave way last Friday. After three days of rescue efforts, most of the nearly 2,000 inhabitants of Guinsaugon in the province of Southern Leyte are still missing, feared dead.
By John Roberts, 1 September 2005
After months of political turmoil, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has staved off efforts to impeach her but remains deeply unpopular and faces a continuing opposition campaign to have her removed from office.
By John Roberts, 2 August 2005
The political opponents of Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had hoped to make July 25 the culmination of their two-month campaign to drive her from office. They boycotted the President’s annual State of the Nation address to the Congress, organised a large demonstration outside demanding her resignation and began impeachment proceedings. A week later, however, Arroyo is still clinging to power and the opposition has made little immediate headway.
By John Roberts, 22 July 2005
Embattled Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is clinging to office amid continuing calls for her to resign over allegations that she was involved in rigging last year’s presidential elections. She has been compelled to reorganise her administration after the resignation of senior cabinet members and advisors, including her entire economic team, earlier this month.
By Dante Pastrana, 7 July 2005
The administration of Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is sinking into deeper political trouble.
By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 22 June 2005
Less than a year after being sworn in for a second term of office, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is confronting a mounting political crisis. The most obvious signs are two ongoing scandals that have provoked a series of protests and calls for her to resign. Underlying her falling popularity, however, is a growing hostility to the impact of her regressive economic policies, including increased taxes, amid continuing levels of high unemployment and widespread poverty.
By Dragan Stankovic and Peter Symonds, 30 March 2005
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reacted with undisguised triumph on March 15 to the news that police paramilitary units had stormed the Camp Bagong Diwa prison and killed 22 prisoners involved in a jail uprising. Among the dead were three jailed leaders of the Islamist militia group Abu Sayyaf, who were awaiting trial on charges of terrorist bombings and kidnappings.
By Terry Cook, 24 December 2004
The Philippine government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is facing a public outcry over violence meted out to farmers, plantation workers and their representatives in the ongoing labour dispute at the Hacienda Luisita Inc near Tarlac City. The plantation and associated sugar mill are owned and run by the Conjuangcos-Aquino family, relatives of former president Cory Aquino.
By Dragan Stankovic and Peter Symonds, 4 December 2004
Two tropical storms that caused flash floods and landslides have devastated large areas in the northern Philippines this week. The death toll could reach more than 1,000 as rescue workers continue to dig through the wreckage and reach villages that are more isolated. As of Friday, 753 bodies had been recovered and at least another 345 people were still missing.
By Laura Tiernan, 16 July 2004
In another blow to the Bush administration and its occupation of Iraq, the Philippines government, one of the staunchest US allies in the “war on terror”, has begun withdrawing its military contingent. The pullout from Iraq—one month ahead of a mandated August 20 exit date—came despite top-level appeals from US officials that the troops remain.
By Peter Symonds, 2 July 2004
Nearly two months after the Philippine elections, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was sworn in for a second term as president on Wednesday. While she used the occasion to make a series of populist promises, her economic agenda will ensure that the burden of the country’s slump will fall most heavily on those who can least afford it—the working class and poor.
By John Roberts and Peter Symonds, 10 May 2004
Filipinos go to the polls today to vote for the next president as well as more than 17,000 positions at the local, provincial and national level, including the House of Representatives and half of the Senate posts. The election takes place amid acute social and political tensions, produced by deteriorating economic conditions and attacks on basic democratic rights.
By John Roberts, 29 October 2003
In the course of his address to the Philippines Congress on October 18, George Bush invoked the Philippines as an example of US-sponsored “liberation” and democracy.
By John Roberts, 31 July 2003
A mutiny by 300 junior officers and soldiers of the Philippine Armed Forces rapidly came to an end on Sunday after failing to attract broader support either within the military or the population as a whole. The short-lived revolt is nevertheless an indication of disquiet within the ruling elite with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo over the country’s continuing economic stagnation and the ongoing civil war in southern Mindanao.
By Dante Pastrana, 6 June 2003
Mounting evidence has emerged in the Philippine media that the military was directly involved in the brutal murder of two human rights activists—Eden Marcellana, secretary-general of Karapatan (Rights)-Southern Tagalog, and Eddie Gumanoy, a peasant leader—on April 21 on the island of Mindoro about 150 km southeast of the capital Manila.
By John Roberts, 28 May 2003
In the nineteenth century, at the height of the British Empire, a stream of potentates, maharajas and other assorted dignitaries made their way to London to pledge fealty to their colonial masters, to be awed by British power and to take home a handful of trinkets and the stamp of British approval.
By Dante Pastrana, 14 March 2003
Washington’s plans to deploy more than 1,700 US troops in a joint operation on the southern Philippine island of Jolo suffered a setback earlier this month when Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Defence Secretary Angelo Reyes ruled out any active combat role in the country.
By Peter Symonds, 22 February 2003
In a major escalation of the US military presence in the Philippines, the Pentagon plans to send up to 3,000 personnel to take part in a joint operation next month with the Philippine army against the Islamic fundamentalist militia Abu Sayyaf on the southern island of Jolo. Unlike last year’s operation on neighbouring Basilan Island, which was disguised as a limited six-month training exercise, US Special Forces will be directly involved in combat alongside local soldiers. There will be no cutoff date.
By John Roberts, 27 December 2002
When 1,300 US troops started arriving on Basilan Island in the southern Philippines in February, both Washington and Manila were at pains to declare that their presence was part of a limited training operation designed to enhance the capability of Filipino forces to defeat Abu Sayyaf—a group of armed Islamic separatists.
By John Roberts, 25 November 2002
In the wake of the Bali bombings on October 12, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo is aligning her administration even more closely with Washington and pressing ahead with “anti-terrorist” legislation to give the police and military far-reaching powers to crack down on all forms of opposition.
By Keith Morgan, 5 August 2002
In her second State of the Nation speech on July 23, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo laid out a prescription for tougher economic austerity measures, further inroads into democratic rights under the banner of fighting “corruption,” “crime” and “terrorism” and closer relations with Washington.
By Keith Morgan, 2 July 2002
When the US dispatched more than 1,000 troops to the Philippines earlier this year, both Washington and Manila claimed that the Balikatan (Shoulder-to-Shoulder) “training exercise” would last only six months and be completed by July 31. As the deadline approaches, the signs are growing that US soldiers will remain in the country, under one pretext or another, well into the future.
By Keith Morgan, 13 June 2002
A botched rescue attempt by Philippine soldiers on June 7 has resulted in the deaths of two of the three hostages held by an Abu Sayyaf group in southern Mindanao for more than a year. American missionary Martin Burnham and Philippine nurse Ediborah Yap were killed in the shootout. Martin Burnham’s wife Gracia received a gunshot wound to the leg and was ferried to hospital by helicopter. Four guerrillas were killed and seven Philippine soldiers wounded, four seriously.
By John Roberts, 13 May 2002
A series of bomb blasts last month in the southern Philippine city of General Santos has been used to argue for greater US military involvement in the country. Most of the casualties were caused by a single blast on April 21 from a bomb placed under a tricycle taxi in front of the Fitmart-Gensan shopping mall. The 14 dead and 60 injured were shoppers, passers-by, tricycle drivers and their passengers.
By John Roberts, 16 April 2002
When US troops started to arrive in the Philippines in February to extend the Bush administration’s “war against terror” into South East Asia the publicly announced terms of the “training exercise” forbade active US involvement in combat missions. The 660 US personnel were to train local troops and leave after six months.
By John Roberts, 15 March 2002
According to the US and Filipino governments, the 660 American troops that began to arrive in the Philippines in January, are involved in a six-month “training exercise”. Two months on, however, a different picture has begun to emerge with the US military playing a leading operational role in search and destroy missions, directed, initially at least, against Abu Sayyaf rebels on the southern island of Basilan.
By Peter Symonds, 21 January 2002
Under the guise of conducting a joint training exercise with the Philippines Armed Forces, more than 650 US troops, including 160 elite special forces soldiers, have begun landing on the southern island of Basilan where the separatist Abu Sayyaf guerrilla group is based. The deployment marks a significant extension of the Bush administration’s so-called global war against terrorism and an aggressive reassertion of US interests in its former colony and more broadly in South East Asia.
By Keith Morgan and Peter Symonds, 13 December 2001
In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has exploited the opportunity to establish a closer relationship with the US. She immediately condemned the attacks and gave full support to the Bush administration’s “global war on terrorism,” offering the use of the former US military bases—the Clark airfield and the Subic Bay naval facility.
By John Roberts, 23 August 2001
More than 70 people are dead and 100 injured, over half of them seriously, after a devastating fire broke out in the Manor Hotel in the Philippine capital of Manila early on Saturday morning. The flames spread rapidly through the third and fourth floors of the budget hotel, which is located in the Quezon City area of suburban Manila.
By Keith Morgan and Peter Symonds, 22 June 2001
The hardline stance taken by Philippine President Gloria Arroyo over the current hostage crisis on the southern island of Basilan has once again confirmed the rightwing and anti-democratic orientation of her administration. With the backing of the United States, she has repeatedly ruled out any negotiations with the hostage takers, dispatched 5,000 troops including special forces to the area, imposed a media blackout and threatened to prosecute anyone found assisting the Abu Sayyaf rebels.
By Keith Morgan and Peter Symonds, 19 May 2001
Vote counting in the May 14 national elections in the Philippines will probably not be finalised for more than a week. But it is already clear that President Gloria Arroyo has failed to register the ringing electoral victory she needed to legitimise her ouster of former president Joseph Estrada earlier in the year. At stake in the poll are 13 out of 24 Senate seats, all 208 seats in the House of Representatives and over 17,000 posts at the regional and municipal level, including governors and mayors.
By Keith Morgan and Peter Symonds, 7 May 2001
Large protests by supporters of ousted Philippine president Joseph Estrada culminating in running street battles with police and the military on May 1, have rocked the newly installed administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. At least four people were killed, 113 injured and more than 100 arrested in what commentators describe as the worst riots since the overthrow of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos 15 years ago.
By Richard Phillips, 23 April 2001
Two months after her installation as Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has prohibited screenings of Live Show, an internationally acclaimed documentary film, and forced the resignation of the country's chief censor because he opposed the ban. Arroyo moved against the film after Manila Archbishop Cardinal Jaime Sin and other Catholic Church leaders called on the government to do so.
Political payoffs to supporters and opponents alike
By Keith Morgan and Peter Symonds, 2 March 2001
Just over a month ago, with the backing of the military, the Catholic hierarchy, significant sections of big business and the political establishment, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo forced Philippine president Joseph Estrada from office and, blessed by the Supreme Court, took charge herself. Her installation was portrayed in the national and international press, with a few misgivings, as a triumph for democracy and People Power that would end Estrada's alleged corruption, incompetence and abuse of power.
Behind the façade of People Power
By Peter Symonds, 31 January 2001
The ousting of Philippine President Joseph Estrada on January 20 has been widely presented in the media as the outcome of People Power II—a re-run of the protest movement headed by Cory Aquino that brought down the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.