Philippines. During the year, the government negotiated
with the Muslim guerrilla Moro Islamic Liberation Front
(MILF). According to
Countryaah, the outbreak group MILF had not signed the Mindanao
Agreement, which was signed in September 1996 between the
government and the other Muslim liberation movement on the
island of Mindanao, the parent organization Moro National
Liberation Front (MNLF).
At the end of June, the MILF demanded that the
negotiations with the government be postponed in the future,
as fighting between the guerrillas and government soldiers
had again erupted. On July 30, a cease-fire agreement was
concluded between the parties and negotiations resumed.
In an armed attack on the largest army base in southern
Mindanao on October 14, three soldiers and the two
perpetrators, who were found to have Egyptian and Saudi
passports respectively, were killed. The Philippine
intelligence service claimed that the two assailants had
relations with the MILF. However, spokesmen for MILF denied
any involvement in the attack.
In May, tensions rose between the Philippines and China
as Chinese warships reached the waters near the disputed
Sprat Islands in the South China Sea. The Philippines filed
a formal protest with the Chinese authorities, and at the
end of the month, both countries had contacts to start
negotiations on the disputed archipelago. In addition, it
was agreed that the countries should inform each other
before any activities in the waters around the islands,
which are believed to be rich in oil and minerals.
1996 Peace Agreement with MNLF
Despite protests from the country's Christian majority,
the government continued negotiations with the Islamic
guerrillas offered to get representatives in Congress, the
Supreme Court and the government, as well as allowing its
partisans to be included in the police and military. The
government's purpose was to secure peace in the country so
that economic reforms could be implemented that would enable
it to compete with its neighboring countries organized in
ASEAN. On September 30, 1996, the government and the Islamic
guerrilla signed a peace agreement. The leader of the MNLF,
Nur Misuari, became governor of the island of Mindanao,
which makes up about a quarter of the country's land. The
Christian opposition to the agreement planned the
implementation of a referendum in 98 against autonomy.
President Ramos also entered into agreements with the CPP
and the NPA, which continued to operate in several cities
and rural areas.
In January 1998, thousands of children marched through
the streets of Manila in protest of child slavery in the
country. The demonstration launched a worldwide campaign to
improve the situation of the 250 million children working,
despite the fact that it is. international treaties are
prohibited. About 63% of the exploited children live in
Asia. Following a formal protest by the Chinese government,
President Ramos denied having had talks with Taiwan's Prime
Minister. The same month, the Supreme Court reached an
agreement on the transfer of most of Marcos' assets to
Philippine banks. In May, Vice President Joseph Estrada was
elected new president with 37% of the vote. The country was
severely affected by the financial crisis in Southeast Asia
and the government declared it would continue the structural
adjustment, as the previous governments had initiated
following pressure from the World Bank and the IMF. At the
same time, the government refused to introduce currency
controls and foreign trade controls.
At the end of the year, the Philippines found itself in
the group of countries the US was "concerned about" due to
their alleged drug production. Acc. a North American report
is the Philippines major exporter of cannabis.
In 1999, East Asia was hit by severe flooding. Although
the damage was not as severe as in China, a significant
portion of the harvest was affected in the Philippines and
thousands were driven to flight.
In October 2000, thousands in the streets of Manila
demonstrated for President Estrada to resign, and the
opposition tabled a mistrust proposal in Congress after a
former ally of Estrada revealed that the president had
received several millions in bribery from the illegal
gambling syndicates. The protests continued, in January
2001, Estrada had to step down and his Vice President Gloria
Macapagal Arroyo took over the post.
In April 2001, Estrada was accused by the State Attorney
of having accumulated a fortune of over $ 80 million. US $
by corruption through its 2˝ year son president. The total
of 8 charges were: looting, robbery, bribery, fraud with
public funds, perjury, unlawful use of a tire name, illegal
gambling and violation of the Code of Ethical Standards. His
son Jinggoy, his wife Luisa Ejército as well as a number of
his business associates received similar charges. This
happened after the Supreme Court had deprived Estrada of his
political immunity, and rejected his claim to be declared
the country's rightful president.
The charges of corruption also reached the new president
when her husband in October 2001 was charged with receiving
a bribe. A former presidential palace accused Attorney José
Miguel Arroyo of having received over US $ 900,000 from a
telecommunications company against raising a presidential
veto on frequency distribution. Both the president and the
accused ordered an investigation conducted.