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Yearbook 2007

Philippines. Dozens of people were killed during the year in a series of bomb attacks in the south, where several separatist Islamist groups have long been active. According to CountryAAH, the separatist groups also continued to be responsible for kidnappings and other abuses against civilians. In July, dozens of government soldiers were found decapitated and stymied after fighting between the Philippine military and rebels in search of a kidnapped Italian priest. At the end of July/August, the government army launched an offensive against hard-line Islamist Abu Sayyaf on the islands of Jolo and Basilan. Much indicated that there was cooperation between Abu Sayyaf and members of the National Liberation Front Moro (MNLF) and Moro's Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), even though these groups were formally observing the ceasefire.

2007 Philippines

At the beginning of the year, it was confirmed that Abu Sayyaf's leader Khadaffi Janjalani had been killed in fighting with the army in 2006. In June, he was succeeded by Yasser Igasan. From several quarters, it was pointed out that the group, which was supposed to have about 300 members, seemed more interested in money than establishing a Muslim state. However, Abu Sayyaf was still believed to harbor two Indonesians involved in terror attacks in Bali in 2002.

The conflict between the government and the communist guerrilla New People's Army also claimed several lives. Communist leader Jos谷 Mar赤a Sison, who has lived in exile for many years, was arrested in the Netherlands in August on suspicion of having ordered the murders of two Filipino party mates in 2003 and 2004.

The campaign for the May 14 parliamentary elections was violent and at least 120 people were killed in the police. The opposition accused the government of cheating and other irregularities, and in 13 cities on the island of Mindanao in the south, the election had to be redone. Election results were delayed, but parties in the government-run alliance TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) won a clear victory in the House of Representatives. However, the Genuine Opposition Coalition (GO) opposition alliance got its own majority in the Senate, where the election was valid for 12 of the 24 seats. The turnout was estimated at 68 percent.

Since President Gloria Arroyo came to power in 2001, hundreds of left-wing activists, priests and journalists have been murdered. The government has claimed that most have been victims of purges within left-wing groups, but in January, a commission appointed by the president to investigate the abuses claimed that most of the deaths had been committed by the military in recent years. At the beginning of the year, the influential Catholic Episcopal Conference in the Philippines (CBCP) criticized Arroyo for doing so little to punish the perpetrators. In July, a new law against terrorism was adopted, which, according to the president, would help prevent political murders. Critics, however, claimed that there had been no error in the previous legislation but that it was more about the government's unwillingness to deal with the problems.

In July, the Supreme Court decided to release leftist politician Crispin Beltran, who is accused of conspiring with the rebel militants and communists to overthrow the government in 2006. Earlier, the court had laid down similar charges against five Batasan Party politicians.

In September, former President Joseph Estrada was sentenced to life imprisonment for plundering the Treasury of $ 80 million. The trial against him had then been going on for six years. On October 25, however, Arroyo pardoned Estrada. He in turn promised to abstain from all political activity. However, the court's decision to seize his assets - about $ 16 million - was upheld. The president described the pardon as a gesture of national reconciliation, but it was speculated if it was soon a way to win support from Estrada's supporters in Congress. The Catholic Church, former President Fidel Ramos and some of Arroyo's own followers accused her of tolerating corruption.

One consolation for Arroyo was that the economy grew by about 5 percent for the third consecutive year. Important reasons for this were that Filipinos working abroad sent home more and more money, trade with China had increased, as did tax revenues and foreign investment.

On November 29, some thirty soldiers, politicians and Catholic priests occupied a luxury hotel in Manila, demanding that the government resign and accused it of corruption and electoral fraud. They gave up after six hours since government forces stormed the building. No people were injured. Among those involved were 14 soldiers who had completely sonically marched out of a courtroom where they were charged with a similar revolt in 2003. The trial against them was resumed in December, and an investigation was launched into how they could have left the courthouse. Another 22 people were indicted for involvement in the new uprising.

In December, 14 members of Abu Sayyaf were sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the kidnapping of 20 tourists in 2001. The rebels executed three people, two Filipinos and one American, while two were killed in connection with an exemption attempt in 2002.

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