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Philippine rebels agree to indefinite cease-fire
26 August 2016 - Philippine communist rebels on Friday agreed to an indefinite cease-fire in peace talks with government officials aimed at ending one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies. After a weeklong meeting in Norway, negotiators for the Maoist rebels and the government issued a joint statement pledging to accelerate the peace process for a conflict that has killed thousands since the late 1960s. (more)

Largest commercial rooftop photovoltaic plant in Philippines is on a shopping mall
30 May 2016 - Philippines-based property developer Robinsons Land has switched on a 2.9 MW PV plant atop its shopping mall in Pampanga province. According to Robinsons Land, the owner of the mall, this PV plant is the biggest private solar facility installed for self-consumption in Philippines. By the end of the year, the company is planning to have 12.5 MW of PV installed on its malls across the country. The company is aiming to eventually install solar power facilities in all of its 41 malls. (more)

Philippine economy grows faster than expected at 6.9 percent
19 May 2016 - The Philippine economy grew faster than expected at 6.9 percent in the first quarter from the same period a year ago, its highest quarterly growth in almost three years, officials said Thursday as the government prepares to hand over leadership to the incoming administration. Economic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra said the robust performance shows the economy's continuing high-growth trajectory. Esguerra said it is important not to miss the current wave of foreign investments in the region, where the Philippines is now a destination of choice. (more)

Listen to women more, don't be macho, Pope tells men
18 January 2015 - Pope Francis said on Sunday men should listen to women's ideas more and not be male chauvinists. 'Women have much to tell us in today's society. At times we men are too 'machista',' he said, using the Spanish term for male chauvinists. '(We) don't allow room for women but women are capable of seeing things with a different angle from us, with a different eye. Women are able to pose questions that we men are not able to understand,' he said to more applause. (more)

Papal text says man betrays God by destroying the environment
18 January 2015 - Pope Francis offered his thoughts about the environment and climate change for the second time in four days at a rally with young people at a Manila university on the last full day of a week-long Asian tour that has taken him to Sri Lanka and the Philippines. Speaking to reporters aboard the plane taking him to Manila on Thursday, Pope Francis said he believed that man was primarily responsible for climate change and that he hoped the UN climate meeting in Paris in November would take a courageous stand to protect the environment. Last month in Peru, about 190 nations agreed on the building blocks of a global deal to combat climate change amid warnings that far tougher action would be needed to limit increases in global temperatures. (more)

Philippines sees growth in second quarter, rest of the year better than first quarter
19 August 2014 - Improving exports, robust consumption, and spending related to typhoon rehabilitation will ensure growth in the second quarter and subsequent quarters will be better than in the first three months of the year, the Philippines' economic planning chief Arsenio Balisacan said. Gil Beltran, chief economist of the Finance department, said in a statement on Thursday real growth in the second quarter could hit 7 per cent, based on data showing a rise in manufacturing activity. (more)

Philippine June exports grow at fastest rate in six months
11 August 2014 - Total exports in the first half of the year rose 8.3 per cent from the same period last year to $29.8 billion, above the government's 6 per cent target for overall exports growth this year. Electronics and semiconductors, which made up 40.8 per cent of total exports for the month, grew 10.7 per cent against a decline of 2.2 per cent in the same month last year. The Southeast Asian nation provides about 10 per cent of the world's semiconductor manufacturing services. (more)

Philippines: Kalinga's small-scale gold miners now employ mercury-free methods
20 June 2014 - Small-scale gold miners in the village of Ga-ang in Kalinga are now operating 95 per cent without the use of mercury. This translates to the non-release of at least two tonnes of toxic mercury during the mining process. The activity is part of Ban Toxics (BT) Elimination of Mercury in Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASGM) Programme. BT said this provides proof that given the proper training, information, and assistance, small-scale miners will forego the use of mercury. (more)

How a little ocean optimism is helping clear up the blue planet
8 June 2014 - World Oceans Day, 8 June, is a day where we can take a few moments to discover some of the amazing things that are happening to make our blue planet a better place for all of us, fish and people alike. And as it turns out, there's plenty to smile about. A recent study published in Nature concluded that marine reserves must be large, isolated, old, well-enforced, and -- crucially -- completely protected from all forms of fishing and other extraction if they are to be effective. Thankfully, several leading NGOs are now campaigning for marine reserves that fit these criteria. (more)

Philippines turns on first large-scale solar power plant
15 May 2014 - The first large-scale, commercially-financed and -commissioned solar power plant in the Philippines was turned on by President Benigno Aquino III in Negros Occidental on Thursday amid a tight supply situation that continues to plague the country. Aquino was in San Carlos City where he led a ceremonial switch-on of the 22-megawatt (MW), $45-million San Carlos Solar Energy Inc (SACASOL). Only the 13 MW first phase of the project was inaugurated Thursday. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Philippines: Transcendental Meditation enhances school's Quiet Time Programme
3 January 2010 - Transcendental Meditation has been added to the already existing Quiet Time Programme at a school in Manila, Philippines. All 144 students at the school, aged 10-16, are now practising Transcendental Meditation twice a day as part of their school routine. (more)

Transcendental Meditation increasingly popular in Philippines, centre opens in Makati City
2 January 2010 - In the Philippines, many more people learnt the Transcendental Meditation Programme in 2009 than in previous years, including 144 students at one school. In addition, a new Maharishi Invincibility Centre opened in Makati City, teaching the technique and offering many other programmes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the nation's financial, commercial, and economic hub. (more)

Philippines: Plans for schools to offer Consciousness-Based Education
12 October 2009 - In the past year, interest in Consciousness-Based Education has been rising in the Philippines. In other news, a new Maharishi Invincibility Centre is offering the programmes of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the financial district of the Philippines. (more)

Philippines promotes ideal education and Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture
28 March 2008 - Raja Bob LoPinto, Raja (Administrator) of the Philippines for the Global Country of World Peace, speaks about a new Maharishi School and land for a Maharishi Vedic Organic Agriculture project in that nation. (more)

Philippines: Maharishi offers invincibility to the nations of the world
4 September 2007 - Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is inviting the citizens of the Philippines, and every nation, to participate in building a Tower of Invincibility, a historic monument that will mark the dawn of invincibility in the nation. The 12-storey tower will have at its base an Invincibility School whose students will create invincibility for their country. (more)

Philippines leader highlights breakthroughs in establishing Consciousness-Based Education for ladies
21 July 2007 - Dr Josephine Castillo, Director of Consciousness-Based Education for Ladies in the Philippines, reported on successes in her nation on 19 July 2007 during the 'Global Celebration of Consciousness-Based Education for Mothers in Every Generation'. (more)

Founders of Invincibility in the Philippines report on the rise of the Philippine stock market to an all-time high
18 June 2007 - As part of a recent Global Family Chat, a news programme of the Global Country of World Peace broadcast daily by satellite and over the Internet, Founders of Invincibility in the Philippines, Drs Poli and Josephine Castillo, reported on the growth of invincibility in the Philippines as reflected in the rising national economy. (more)

Rising invincibility in the Philippines
25 May 2007 - In the Global Family Chat, Dr Peter Swan presented a report from the National Leaders and Founders of Invincibility for the Philippines, Dr Pauli and Dr Jospehine Castillo, on the progress and expansion of Transcendental Meditation in the areas of education and business. (more)


Flops
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to extend drug war as 'cannot kill them all'
19 September 2016 - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked for a six-month extension for his war on drugs, saying there are too many people involved in the narcotics trade and he 'cannot kill them all'. Some 3,000 people have been killed since Duterte won May elections in a landslide on a vow to kill tens of thousands of criminals in an unprecedented blitz to rid the country of illegal drugs in six months. (more)

Philippines: Major sea lane becoming target of Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf rebels
17 August 2016 - An Indonesian tugboat crewman escaped from his Islamist militant captors in the Philippines on Thursday by swimming out to sea after the militants threatened to cut his head off, a Philippine army spokesman said. Members of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf group captured Indonesian Mohammad Safyan and six other Indonesian seamen from their boat as it was passing through waters off southern Philippine islands on June 23. Abu Sayyaf rebels operating in Muslim areas of the largely Christian Philippines have developed a reputation as ruthless kidnappers. They have increasingly been turning their attention to vessels passing through busy shipping lanes in the Sulu Sea as security along coasts has been tightened. In recent weeks, the rebels, who have vowed allegiance to Islamic State, beheaded two Canadians they kidnapped from a beach resort after a ransom deadline passed. Indonesian authorities have said piracy in the area could reach levels previously seen in Somalia. Analysts say $40 billion worth of cargo passes through the waters a year. (more)

Urgent need for shelter six months after clashes displace thousands in southern Philippines - UN
4 April 2014 - The United Nations has sounded the alarm on behalf of some 64,600 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in southern Philippines still living in evacuation centres, transition sites, and with host communities, six months after deadly fighting broke out between the rebel Moro National Liberation Front and Government forces in Zamboanga City. 'There is an urgent need to find shelter solutions for these IDPs,' said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), at a press briefing in Geneva, recalling that in September 2013, over 100,000 people were displaced by the fighting. At that time, OCHA estimated that, in addition to the tens of thousands displaced, some 132 people died as a result of the standoff between the Government forces and non-State actors. More than 10,000 homes were destroyed in and around Zamboanga City and, additionally, nearly 19,000 were displaced in Basilan province. In the immediate aftermath of the fighting, OCHA announced that the UN emergency relief fund (CERF) would allocate $3 million to assist the population. (more)

Smuggling, fraud cost Philippines $25.8 billion in 2011, study says
4 February 2014 - More than $410 billion in illicit money crossed the borders of the Philippines from 1960 to 2011, with customs fraud related to imported goods surging in recent years, according to a study by a US-based anti-graft watchdog group released on Monday. Global Financial Integrity (GFI) said a record high of $25.8 billion came into the Southeast Asian, archipelago nation illegally in 2011, the most recent year for which data was available. That was up from $22.9 billion in 2010, marking back-to-back years of record illicit inflows. About $14.2 billion of illicit inflows was reported for 2009, the study said. These illicit inflows are typically the result of under-reported merchandise that is shipped into the country, said GFI economist Brian LeBlanc, one of the report's authors. 'This is mostly importers trying to avoid VAT taxes or import tariffs,' LeBlanc said. 'Customs corruption is a huge issue in the Philippines,' he said. Over the 42-year period, about $277.6 billion was illegally transferred into the country, and $132.9 billion in illicit funds went out of the country from crime, corruption, and tax evasion, the report said. The Philippine Treasury has lost at least $19.3 billion in tax revenue since 1990 due to customs duties evasion. (more)

In Philippines, workers toil among hazards in compressor mining
29 December 2013 - Compressor mining originated as far back as the mid-1990s in Camarines Norte, an impoverished coastal province about 200 miles southeast of Manila. Divers dig down as much as 60 feet while breathing through a tube connected to a makeshift compressor, which often is made from a San Miguel beer keg. They dig in rice paddies, rivers, and bays, and stay underground for hours at a time. Their job is to fill bucket after bucket with soil for a fellow miner to haul to the surface. Some wear a snorkel mask, but many don't; they just keep their eyes shut. The job is hazardous, the returns are paltry, and they say their work is illegal. But that doesn't stop the miners -- mostly adults and some children -- from diving into the mud to find gold. (more)

Rice looted in Philippines amid aid shortage
13 November 2013 - Thousands of people stormed a rice warehouse on an island devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, authorities said Wednesday, highlighting the urgent need to get water, food and medical supplies into an increasingly desperate region. Five days after one of the strongest tropical storms on record leveled tens of thousands of houses in the central Philippines, relief operations were only starting to pick up pace, with two more airports in the region reopening, allowing for more aid flights. Since the storm, people have broken into homes, malls and garages, where they have stripped the shelves of food, water, and other goods. Authorities have struggled to stop the looting. There have been unconfirmed reports of armed gangs involved in some instances. At the damaged airport in Tacloban, makeshift clinics have been set up and thousands of people were looking for a flight out. A doctor here said supplies of antibiotics and anesthetics arrived Tuesday for the first time. 'Until then, patients had to endure the pain,' said Dr. Victoriano Sambale. At least 580,000 people have been displaced by the disaster. In some places, tsunami-like storm surges swept up to one-kilometre (mile) inland, causing more destruction and loss of life. Most of the death and destruction appears concentrated on the islands of Samar and Leyte. (more)

Confusion, disarray, as Philippine storm survivors beg for help and supplies
11 November 2013 - Desperate survivors of one of the most powerful storms ever recorded begged for help and scavenged for food, water, and medicine in the central Philippines four days after an estimated 10,000 people were killed by a Typhoon Haiyan. Thousands of people were believed to be missing in the ruins of towns and villages in the southeast Asian island country hit by the typhoon on Friday. By the early hours of Tuesday morning, some areas had not yet been reached by relief workers, according to humanitarian group CARE. Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared a state of national calamity and deployed hundreds of soldiers in Tacloban to quell looting. Tacloban's administration appeared to be in disarray as city and hospital workers focused on saving their own families and securing food. The Philippine delegate at United Nations climate talks in Warsaw began a fast on Monday in protest at a lack of action on global warming that he blamed for fuelling the super typhoon. (more)

Experts: Man, nature share typhoon tragedy blame
11 November 2013 - Nature and man together cooked up the disaster in the Philippines. Geography, meteorology, poverty, shoddy construction, a booming population, and, to a much lesser degree, climate change, combine to make the Philippines the nation most vulnerable to killer typhoons, according to several scientific studies. The 7,000 islands of the Philippines sit in the middle of the world's most storm-prone region, which gets some of the biggest typhoons because of vast expanses of warm water that act as fuel and few pieces of land to slow storms down. Storms often hit after they've peaked in strength or before they get a chance to, but Haiyan struck when it was at its most powerful, based on US satellite observations. Humans played a big role in this disaster, too -- probably bigger than nature's, meteorologists said. University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy figures that 75 to 80 per cent of the devastation can be blamed on the human factor. Meteorologists point to extreme poverty and huge growth in population -- much of it in vulnerable coastal areas with poor construction, including storm shelters that didn't hold up against Haiyan. (more)

Genetically modified rice to be produced in the Philippines despite opposition
5 November 2013 - The first genetically-modified rice to be commercially available could be approved for production in the Philippines in two to three years, researchers said Tuesday, despite strong opposition from environmental groups. Many environmental groups oppose GMOs, saying they will have harmful side effects which will irreversibly spread even to non-GMO crops. The Southeast Asia office of environmental group Greenpeace condemned the efforts to promote golden rice. 'There are already existing solutions and programmes being implemented by the Philippine government to address vitamin A deficiency in the country and these have been in place and are continuing to be effective,' Greenpeace campaigner Daniel Ocampo said in a statement. (more)

Twenty-two killed ahead of Philippine village elections
27 October 2013 - At least 22 candidates and supporters have been killed in election-related violence over the past month ahead of this week's village polls across the Philippines, police said Sunday, underscoring the violent downside of one of Asia's most rambunctious democracies. Twenty-seven other people have been wounded in violence linked to election rivalries, mostly in shootouts, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac said. At least 588 people have been arrested for violating an elections gun ban, with police confiscating nearly 500 firearms, 4,000 rounds of ammunition, 191 knives, and 68 grenades. Fifteen people were killed in village election violence in 2010, Sindac said. Government troops and police have gone on full alert for Monday's daylong balloting, especially in about 6,000 of 42,028 villages nationwide considered security hotspots due to a history of electoral violence or past attacks by Muslim and communist insurgents or al-Qaida-linked militants. More than 800,000 candidates are vying for chairmanships and other posts in urban and rural villages, locally called barangays -- the Philippines' smallest political units, where violence and fraud are as much a concern as they are in elections for higher office. (more)

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