Philippines. According to
countryaah, about 20 people were killed during the
run-up to the presidential election in May, including seven
in ambush on election day itself. Five candidates ran in the
election, but the result was a clear victory for Rodrigo Duterte, candidate for the PDP-Laban party. Duterte got 39%
of the vote against 23% for Mar Roxas who came in second
place. Roxas was a candidate for outgoing President Benigno
Aquino's Liberal Party; Aquino himself was hindered by the
constitution to set up. In the separate vice presidential
election, Leni Robredo, candidate for the Liberal Party, who
also became the largest in the congressional election, won.
However, a majority of the Liberals in Congress went to
Duterte's party months after the election.
Duterte was contentious even before the election. As
mayor of Davao in the south, he had made himself known for
rough language and hard nips. But he was also popular when
crime in the city decreased significantly and prosperity
increased. Duterte advocated a federal state law and wanted
to reinstate the death penalty, which was abolished in 2006.
He also promised a tough campaign against drug trafficking -
including murders of suspected drug dealers and other
It turned out that the new president was serious about
his threats. As early as four months after his entry at the
turn of the year, 1,800 people were reported to have been
shot dead by police and 2,600 killed by unidentified
perpetrators, according to official statistics. Duterte
triggered a flood of criticism in the outside world for
indiscriminate violence and violations of human rights.
Duterte also aroused dismay with threatening statements and
vulgar language; He called, among other things, the Pope and
US President Barack Obama "horns" and stated that he
personally killed the suspected criminal and abused a
drug-classed drug for pain relief. Despite this, his
popularity figures remained high.
Many Filipinos were upset when Duterte advocated burial
at a national "heroes" cemetery for the ex-dictator
Ferdinand Marcos, who was toppled in a popular uprising in
1986 and died three years later. The decision was appealed,
but when the Supreme Court in November gave the go-ahead,
the family acted quickly and flew the remains to Manila,
where Marcos was buried with military honors. Duterte had
received campaign funding from the Marcos family.
In July, the Permanent Arbitration Court (PCA) in The
Hague gave the Philippines the right to conflict with China
over the border demarcation in the South China Sea, where
the countries ended up in a confrontation in 2012. China
categorically rejected the arbitration, but with the change
of government in the Philippines, the dispute still appeared
to be settled. Duterte visited China in October to discuss
increased trade and better dialogue, and shortly thereafter,
Filipino fishermen were allowed to return to the Scarborough
Reef, which the conflict arose around. Duterte spoke openly
about "separation" from the Philippines' traditionally close
ally of the United States and instead advocated new
alliances with China, among others.
Peace talks started in Oslo in August between the
government and the Maoist guerrilla NPA. Both parties
announced a ceasefire in connection with the talks that
constituted the first formal contact in five years. The
almost half-century-old conflict, mainly in the eastern and
southern Philippines, was estimated to have claimed more
than 40,000 lives.