Philippines. Several millions of people gathered in the capital Manila in January when Pope Francis held an outdoor fair. The pope had previously visited the city of Tacloban, which was particularly hard hit by the typhoon Haiyan just over a year earlier. According to COUNTRYAAH, Manila is the capital of Philippines which is located in Southeastern Asia. Around one million people were still homeless after Haiyan.
At least 45 policemen were killed in fighting with the Muslim guerrilla MILF (Moro’s Islamic Liberation Front) in the south in January. The fight broke out after police entered the remote town of Mamasapano without warning, in violation of last year’s historic peace agreement between the guerrillas and the government. President Benigno Aquino attended a ceremony honoring the dead police, but stressed the importance of keeping the peace agreement. Concerns rose during the year that the settlement would go unnoticed as self-government legislation for the Muslim minority in Mindanao was delayed in Parliament. Aquino had invested much of its political capital in securing the peace agreement.
The authorities made several attacks during the year against the Communist Party CPP and the Allied Maoist guerrilla NPA. A senior leader was arrested and one shot dead in June on the island of Mindanao, and later another leader was arrested on Panay. In early August, four guerrillas and a government soldier died in a firefight near the group’s last strong hold on the island of Masbate.
The peace talks with the NPA, which is estimated to have around 4,000 members, had stopped when the government refused to yield to demands for the release of imprisoned guerrilla leaders.
In May, over 70 people died when a fire broke out at a shoe factory in Valenzuela north of Manila. It was described as one of the most serious fire accidents in the country’s history. Most of the victims were on the second floor of the factory building and could not get out.
More than 60 people were killed when a ferry capsized in severe weather outside the port of Ormoc on the island of Leyte in July. Around 150 people could be rescued. The ferry’s owner and crew, totaling 19 people, were indicted for manslaughter after the accident, which was suspected to have been caused by a combination of overcrowding and the human factor.
Nearly 2,000 children were taken to hospitals in July after suffering from food poisoning, probably caused by poor hygiene in the manufacture of sweets.
Three journalists were shot dead in just a few days in August. Journalist organizations have sharply criticized the government for failing to address the widespread violence against media representatives in the Philippines, which is described as one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.
Save the Children in September raised alarms about high levels of inhibited growth due to malnutrition among children in the Philippines. Despite several years of good economic growth in the country, the problem of inhibited growth was found to be more widespread than in several of the poorest countries in Africa. About every third child was found to be shorter than it should be.
BIFF, an outbreak group from the MILF, killed at least ten farmers in a raid on Mindanao at Christmas and caused great concern among the island’s Christian majority population. BIFF, which said to support the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group in the Middle East, continued the armed struggle for an Islamic state.
General information about the Philippines
The 1,800-kilometer-long and 1,000-kilometer-wide archipelago of the Philippines includes more than 7,000 islands, atolls, and islets — many formed by corals, anonymous and uninhabited. Seismic and volcanic activity indicate that soil formation continues. The most recent reminder of this came in 1991, when part of the summit of the half-century-dormant Pinatubo volcano exploded into the air and dusted ash to an altitude of 40 kilometers. Of the country’s fifty volcanoes, 17 are operational. The largest of the Philippine islands are the northern and mountainous Luzon, where the country’s capital Manila is located, and the southern green Mindanao. Cebu was the first permanent base of the Spanish conquerors in the mid-16th century. Between Mindanao and the northern part of Borneo in Malaysia lies the Sulu archipelago, known as one of the best diving paradises in the Philippines. Groups of Muslim separatists have made their case known by capturing tourists from these islands as hostages.
The Philippines, formed by islands, is almost the size of Finland and is home to 97 million people. The population is made up of many nationalities and tribes whose ancestors arrived in the country at different times: the original inhabitants or negritos (Aetas) still live in small groups here and there, the Malay came from Borneo and some of the newcomers are thought to have come from Taiwan or Easter Island. The Philippines ’close millennial trade links have brought Spanish, British, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and American to the islands. In total, more than 100 languages or dialects belonging to the Australian language are spoken in the Philippines. Of the two official languages, one is the Tagalog-based pilipino, the other English, which is taught in all schools and also used in agencies.
The Philippines is located in a tropical climate and thus receives heavy rainfall during the summer southwest monsoon. They are compounded by typhoons raging from April to October. The variations in the average temperature are small. Thanks to the lush soil, the Philippines ’main industry is agriculture, which, however, has been accompanied by the rapidly growing food, textile and electronics industries since the 1990s. The landscape is dominated by embanked rice fields. Undoubtedly the most beautiful are the Banaue embankments in Luzon, excavated on the mountain slopes more than 2,000 years ago and mentioned as “the eighth wonder of the world”. Some of the rice the Philippines needs is imported: here a really lot of steaming delicacy is eaten, over 100 pounds a year per citizen. Other crops include corn, sugar cane, pineapple, coconut palm and banana. The large American groups Del Monte and Dole have set up plantations in Mindanao. Manila lamp production has collapsed with the spread of man-made fibers. Since the days of Spanish colonial landlords, agriculture has been concentrated on large farms and now often also owned by foreigners. For the same time, small tenant farmers have rebelled against the situation. The Philippines ’unique rainforest and monsoon forests – more than 3,000 different tree species – produce an abundance of hardwoods, such as mahogany. However, large-scale logging and uncontrolled birch cultivation have significantly shrunk forest areas. The mining industry produces chromium, gold and copper, as well as some silver. Oil and natural gas are also found in the soil. Despite its rich fishing waters, the Philippine fishing industry has not been able to compete with, for example, Japan or Taiwan. Alongside agriculture and emerging industries, tourism is also booming. The lush landscapes and the clear waters of the reefs are attractive for hiking and diving. A significant source of income is grants sent home by nearly 11 million Filipinos working abroad.