Philippines. According to
Countryaah, nine years after the death of President
Ferdinand Marcos, the over $ 500 million that he spent over
20 years in Swiss bank accounts could finally be transferred
to the Philippines. This happened since the Supreme Court of
Switzerland in April rejected a final attempt by Marco's
survivors to halt the transfer. The money was deposited with
the Philippine Riksbank in Manila, pending the determination
of who is the rightful owner.
In other ways, too, the Marcoseran 1965-86 was reminded.
The president's widow Imelda Marcos, sentenced to twelve
years in prison for corruption but free from bail after
appeal, announced at the beginning of the year that she
would stand in the presidential election in May. In April,
however, she withdrew her candidacy "to save the people a
bloody choice". Several opinion polls had then shown very
weak voter support for her. In October, she was surprisingly
and definitively acquitted of the corruption charges by the
After Imelda Marco's resignation, ten presidential
candidates remained in the May election. The 61-year-old
Vice President and Opposition candidate Joseph Estrada,
former movie actor and idol of millions of poor, quickly
emerged as the favorite to succeed President Fidel Ramos.
The election was also a major victory for Estrada, who
received close to 40% of the vote and took office as head of
state on June 30.
A severe blow to Philippine self-esteem came in the fall
when it was announced that Philippine Airlines (PAL), Asia's
oldest airline with its 57 years, would be shut down.
Billions of debts and labor conflicts had forced the company
to its knees, and since the staff rejected a bid for peace
in exchange for co-ownership, all flights were canceled on
23 September. However, the bid was later adopted, and in
October PAL resumed its domestic flight to a limited extent.
Foreign traffic to the US and Japan was also resumed.
In April 2012, the Philippines signed the Supplementary
Protocol to the UN Convention on Torture, but without the
implementation of any legislation in the country where
torture continues to be widespread.
In October, the government and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front signed a framework declaration to pave the
way for a peace process ending the armed struggle for
independence in Mindanao. That same month, Congress passed
the so-called Cybercrime Prevention Act, which provides up
to 12 years in prison for commenting on the Internet that is
considered backward. The law triggered a popular outcry and
the Supreme Court subsequently suspended the law, citing it
to undergo a legal assessment.
Aquino continues to enjoy considerable popular and
political support, as the economy is doing better than under
his predecessor in the presidential office. The number of
disappearances and political murders has also decreased, but
the level of threats against journalists and members of
popular organizations remains unchanged, and no one has been
convicted of political murders under the Aquino
administration. The EU and the Philippines strengthened
relations in July 2012 when they signed a Partnership and
Cooperation Agreement. But the United States remains the
country's most important ally and arms supplier.
In January 2013, Aquino signed a law to protect the
country's $ 1.9 million. servants. The same month, the
country ratified the ILO Domestic Workers Convention No.
189, which will help the country's $ 1.5 million. servants
working abroad. Among other things. in Denmark where they
are referred to as "Au-Pair girls", to justify the low pay
and humiliating working conditions.
In May, the president signed the K-12 law that would
strengthen the level of education in the country. The law
must ensure the right to kindergarten and 12 years of
There are still more armed riots in the country. In
February 2013, an attempt to initiate peace talks between
the government and the NPA collapsed. In September, similar
fighting broke out between the country's military, police
and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Zamboanga.
161 civilians, partisans and soldiers were reported killed
in the 3-week fighting that also spread to Basilan. Further
south was the Islamist Abu Sayyaf group and was reported in
September to have abducted 2 people for demanding ransom.
Aquino was also unable to put up with the impunity for
soldiers and police, and human rights violations continued.
In 2013, 7 journalists were murdered and a further 3 were
tried and convicted of defamation. They had written articles
about the authorities' criminal activities.