Natural resources and energy
The Philippines is rich in minerals, but the mining industry accounts for only one percent of GDP. The most important ores are copper, gold, silver, nickel, chromium and iron, but there are also deposits of zinc, cobalt and manganese. In addition, there are assets of copper, nickel and gold that have not yet been exploited.
In 2004, the Supreme Court repealed a law that prohibited wholly foreign-owned companies from conducting large-scale mining projects. The following years increased investment in the mining industry, largely due to increased demand from China. Weaker economic conditions from 2008 meant that some projects were put on ice. Aquino’s government has said it wants to increase revenue from the mining industry and in 2012 all new projects were halted to review the mining industry’s tax conditions. The following year, a new excise tax of 5 percent was introduced. It is also hoped that a peace agreement on Mindanao will make it possible to exploit the many finds there (see also Muslim separatists).
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Philippines with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
The mining companies’ lack of respect for the environment has in many ways led to protests from the local population. In 2005, a mine in Rapu Rapu temporarily closed after the mining company released cyanide in a watercourse. In many places, there is resistance to allowing foreign companies to start new large-scale projects. The opposition can come from both the Catholic Church, environmental groups and the Communist NPA guerrilla.
In 2012, the government banned all mining in 78 particularly sensitive areas around the country.
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There are large assets of coal. Oil has been found in the sea off Palawan, but the deposits are difficult to extract. Gas has been extracted since 2001 in the Malampaya field in the same region. The Philippines used to be almost entirely dependent on imported oil, but now natural gas, coal, hydroelectric power, geothermal heat and power plants powered by agricultural waste account for most of the electricity generation. Investments are also made on solar power. In many places, however, there are problems with recurrent power cuts. At the same time, the Philippines has among the highest energy prices in the region.
The environmental problems are large as a result of extensive logging and the use of chemical pesticides. Many agricultural crops are destroyed by pollution from mining. Forest harvesting has led to severe landslides becoming more common in typhoons and storms. The ban on felling that has been introduced is not complied with. Deficiencies in urban planning make the problems of flooding more difficult, as well as overcrowded sewage systems.
There is also great concern that climate change will cause the country to suffer more severe storms than before. Several governments have been criticized for shortcomings in the rescue work in connection with natural disasters and for no more being done to build housing that can withstand the storms.
In 2009, at least 246 lives were claimed when the Ketsana storm pulled over the area around Manila. The material damage was estimated at over $ 100 million. Entire villages were washed away when river banks erupted and triggered landslides. An even worse disaster occurred at the end of 2013 when more than 6,000 people were killed and over one million homes were completely or partially destroyed as the typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda) advanced across the country’s middle parts (see Current Policy). The reconstruction was estimated to cost over $ 8 billion by 2018.
The Philippines has signed the Kyoto Agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the legislation guarantees the rights of indigenous peoples in the exploitation of their lands, this is usually not respected. It appears that the military is forcing people to leave their agricultural and hunting grounds. The country’s environmental movement has partly emerged from their struggle for their traditional lands.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
481 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
706 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
105 654 thousand tons (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
1.1 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
27.5 percent (2015)
Strong support for Duterte in opinion polls
As much as 85 percent of those polled in an opinion poll conducted at the beginning of the month say they support President Duterte’s drug policy. At the same time, the next 8 out of 10 Filipinos are worried that someone they know will be affected by the violence, and 7 out of 10 think Extrajudicial executions are a problem. (19/12)
Duterte admits murder
At a meeting with business leaders, President Duterte says he personally killed offenders during his time as mayor of Davao. According to media reports, at least 5,000 people have been killed by police and death patrols since Duterte’s entry. A co-worker of the president later said his statement should not be interpreted “literally”.
The Vice President leaves the Ministerial post
Vice President Leni Robredo says she will leave the post of housing minister. She justifies the decision that a coup is planned to remove her and she is urged not to attend the government meeting. She also says that there is a deep gap when it comes to values between her and the rest of the government. However, she intends to remain as vice president. Leni Robredo has openly criticized President Duterte for his view of women. She says she agreed to sit in the government because she shared the president’s desire to help poor Filipinos for a better life, but from now on she will lead the opposition and counter Duterte’s drug policy and the attempts to reintroduce the death penalty. Duterte rejects all allegations of a coup against the vice president.
Military resumes city on Mindanao
An Islamist group, Maute, occupies the city of Butig, at the end of November, south of Marawi on the island of Mindanao. They are driven away by the government army after six days of fighting. According to the military, more than 60 rebels have been killed.
Weapons orders from the United States are fixed
The Philippine police are buying 26,000 automatic carbines from a US company, despite President Duterte having previously said it would be demolished by him personally. Media evidence suggests that Donald Trump’s election victory in the United States has made him change.
Hero burial for Marcos
The Supreme Court decides that former dictator Ferdinand Marco’s remnants may be relocated to the Heroes Cemetery in Manila. Nine judges voted for the decision and five voted against. President Duterte gave his sign for the funeral as early as May, triggering several months of protests.
Political thunderstorm allows fishermen to return to Scarborough Shoal
At the beginning of the month, it is reported that Filipino fishermen have been able to return to the waters near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea without Chinese Coast Guard intervening. It is seen as a sign of a thaw in the contacts between the countries after Duterte’s China visit.
Duterte travels to Japan
On a visit to Japan, President Duterte claims that the agreements with China were only about finances, but when it comes to conflicts in the South China Sea, the Philippines will stand on Japan’s side (Japan has no own interests in the South China Sea, but rather its own conflict with China about some islands in the East China Sea). He describes Japan as a close friend of the Philippines, who stands the country “closer than a brother” would do.
Duterte travels to China
Duterte travels to China for a four-day state visit, which aims to increase trade between the countries and initiate a dialogue on the conflict in the South China Sea. The hope is that new trade agreements will be worth $ 13.5 billion. Prior to the visit, the Philippine President makes new statements about limiting contacts with the United States, not only militarily but also financially.
ICC warns Duterte
In mid-October, the International Criminal Court (ICC) makes a mark against Duterte’s anti-drug policy and says it can bring charges against those guilty of extrajudicial executions. Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda expresses great concern about how people in high positions publicly expressed their support for the murders and says the ICC will follow developments in the country. The Philippines joined the ICC in November 2011, giving the court the opportunity to intervene against genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the country.
“Can Do Without the United States”
Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana says the Philippines can do well without continued military assistance from the United States. This follows several controversial statements from Duterte. Lorenzana has previously tried to adopt a conciliatory tone in contact with the United States. Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay, however, emphasizes that the Philippines does not intend to form any new alliance with China or Russia.
“US military exercises to cease”
President Duterte says the joint military exercise with the United States in October 2016 will be the last of his term, but stresses at the same time that the defense agreement with Washington is firm.
Defensor-Santiago dies in lung cancer
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago dies in lung cancer. She was a fighting politician, who was also considered very competent. She has been a presidential candidate several times, most recently in May 2016. Some describe her as “the best president the Philippines has not had”.
The value of the person falls
Duterte’s harsh rhetoric and the uncertainty created by his statements affect the economy, as foreign companies hesitate to invest in the Philippines. The exchange rate for pesos is the lowest since 2009.
Duterte wants “open alliance” with Russia and China
President Duterte says he will visit both Russia and China in the coming year to discuss closer cooperation. It will be the first time in five years that a Filipino president will visit China. A state visit to Japan is also scheduled for October 25 to 27.
The war on drugs is prolonged
President Duterte says that the drug problem in the country is much greater than he had expected, and that his “war on crime” should therefore be extended for six months. The death toll for the number of people killed has risen as the number of people killed. In mid-December, about 3,000 people are said to have been killed, about a third of whom were police, and others by unknown perpetrators.
Abu Sayyaf releases Norwegian hostage
The Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad has been held by Abu Sayyaf for over a year. Two Canadians who were taken hostage while he was previously beheaded by the kidnappers (see June 2016). According to unconfirmed information, a large ransom has been paid.
The militia testifies against Duterte
In front of a Senate committee, Edgar Matobato states that during his time as Davao mayor, Duterte ordered him and other militiamen to kill criminal and political opponents. Duterte himself denies all contact with any death patrols.
Foreign policy course change
President Duterte urges the United States to withdraw its military advisors from Mindanao in the southern Philippines, citing that they are contributing to the tensions in the region rather than counteracting them. He also announces a stop for joint marine exercises. The course change is welcomed by China.
Obama cancels meeting with Duterte
In a speech, Philippine President criticizes the US and Barack Obama for, as he says, interfering in the internal affairs of the Philippines. After that, the US president cancels a scheduled meeting with Duterte in connection with the Asean summit in Laos.
14 dead in explosion in Davao City
An explosion at night in a Davao market in Mindanao kills 14 people, and even more are injured. Later, Abu Sayyaf is said to have carried out the bombing. Davao is President Duterte’s hometown. After the attack, the president announces what he calls the “state of lawlessness”, which would allow him to directly control the military and the police. He emphasizes that this is not a state of emergency and it is uncertain what it means in practice.
Peace negotiations in progress with NDF
An agreement on peace talks between the government and the political branch of the Communist Party NDF is concluded in Oslo. Prior to this, the Communist guerrilla NPA has announced a ceasefire for seven days, and it is now being extended. The next round of talks is scheduled for October 8-12.
Over 1,900 dead in “war on drugs”
According to police reports, 1,900 people suspected of drug trafficking have been killed since Duterte’s entry into power. Of those, 756 have been killed by police. The methods used by the new government were challenged in the Senate, where several witnesses report the abuses that have been committed. 700,000 people themselves must have surrendered to the authorities for fear that they would otherwise be killed.
600 suspected drug addicts have been killed
Since Duterte was elected president, at least 600 suspected drug dealers have been shot dead by police or unknown perpetrators. He has also begun to name and name police, high-ranking military, judges who are suspected of being involved in the drug trade and asked them to leave their posts and then be investigated for possible crimes. This policy has been criticized by the Catholic Church and human rights organizations but is popular with many ordinary Filipinos. Criticism also comes from the US, but dismissed by Duterte. In social media, images of murdered people are spread, with a cardboard piece attached to the corpse with the text “drug addict”.
Discharge from the Liberal Party
At the end of the month, it is clear that a majority of the Liberal Party’s congressmen have resigned to the ruling coalition. Duterte’s party PDP-Laban has grown from 3 members to 93, according to Philippine media.
Arroyo is released from corruption charges
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is cleared of corruption charges (see November 2011 and March 2012) by the Supreme Court, citing the lack of evidence. The decision is criticized by her successor Aquino, while Duterte has previously said he wants to pardon her.
UN ruling goes on the Philippines line in the conflict over the South China Sea
After four years of work, the UN Permanent Arbitration Court in The Hague announces its verdict in the conflict between the Philippines and China on China’s territorial claims in the area. The Court goes on the Philippines’ line and states that the Chinese claims “have no legal basis”. Chinese President Xi Jinping announces that China rejects the verdict and will not accept any documents based on this decision. China also claims to have the right to set up an air defense zone in the conflict zone and announces that it is now launching regular air surveillance there.
Duterte takes over as president
Duterte swears presidential oath at a ceremony in Manila that is broadcast live over the Internet. Only state media may otherwise monitor the access. On the same day, but in another place, Vice President Leni Robredo, a human rights activist, also comes from a party other than the president.
Police brutality is increasing
Media reports a clear increase in cases where police or militia groups, so-called vigilantes, have killed suspected drug addicts. On average, one person has been killed every day since Duterte was elected president in May.
Abu Sayyaf kills Canadian hostage
Robert Hall was kidnapped by the militant group in September 2015. Abu Sayyaf had threatened to kill him unless a multi-million dollar ransom was paid by June 13 (see also April 2016)
Only two women in the new government
Duterte has started to form his government, almost all of whom are men. Perfecto Yasay, to become new Foreign Minister. Carlos Dominguez, a schoolmate of Duterte becomes new finance minister, and economics professor Benjamin Diokno is given responsibility for financial planning. Customs issues will be handled by a former military, Nicanor Faeldon, who led a coup attempt in 2003.
“Some journalists deserved to die”
The incoming President Duterte continues to make startling statements, saying that many of the Filipino journalists murdered had “done something wrong”. At least 79 journalists and media workers have been murdered in the country since 1992 (see Mass Media).
Duterte wants to reintroduce the death penalty
The prospective president also says he wants to give security forces the right to “shoot to death” if anyone opposes an arrest or is involved in organized crime.
Rodrigo Duterte wins the presidential election
The presidential election is won by Rodrigo Duterte, who receives almost 39 percent of the vote. Two, Manuel Roxas comes with just over 23 percent. The Vice Presidential election is won by Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party, who defeats Ferdinand Marcos Jr. by a slight margin. The main issues in the election campaign have mainly concerned the economy, the fight against crime and corruption and the conflict with China over the right to a number of islands in the South China Sea. When it is clear that Duterte is heading for a clear victory in the presidential election, the four other candidates admit to being defeated. In the election to the House of Representatives, the Aquinos Liberal Party receives the most votes. According to police, 22 people have been killed in election-related violence, including a mayoral candidate being murdered. On Election Day, seven people were shot dead in an assault.
Abu Sayyaf kills Canadian hostage
The man, John Ridsdel, had been kidnapped the year before, along with three others, by the Islamist group when they were in a tourist resort near the city of Davao. Abu Sayyaf has requested a ransom for Ridsdel, but the Canadian government says it will not give in to such demands. Just a few hours after the deadline expires Ridsdel is executed. The group still holds three people hostage.
Presidential candidate in windy weather
Rodrigo Duterte jokes during a rally against an Australian missionary in 1989 (she was taken hostage and murdered along with four other missionaries during a prison riot). He has also made statements in which he pleaded for mass executions of suspected criminals. Duterte is criticized by several of his counter-candidates who say he is not suitable for the presidency. He later apologizes for his statement. In late March, Duterte led the opinion polls before the presidential election.
Hacking attack against election database
Election Commission Comelec’s website that has been hacked. Personal information for 70 million citizens, including fingerprints and passport information. The hacking network Anonymous’s Philippine branch says it is behind the intrusion, which should have happened by the end of March, and that the purpose is to show how vulnerable the system is, especially as the Philippines will use voting machines in the elections in early May.
The military hires aircraft from Japan
President Aquino announces that the Philippine defense will hire five Japanese reconnaissance planes. They will be used to monitor the disputed areas of the South China Sea. During the year, the defense will also receive two transport plans from the US and South Korea will provide the country with two light combat plans. The country will receive another ten plans by 2017.
Poe is allowed to run for office in the presidential election
The Supreme Court gives Poe the go-ahead to stand in the presidential election (see December 2015). But the court does not agree, nine judges vote for Poe to be candidate, six votes against.
Imelda Marcos jewelry is sold
At a mid-month auction, a jewelery collection that was seized in connection with the loss of power in Ferdinand Marcos in 1986. They are said to be worth over $ 21 million. The auction is now being explained in the media that her son, Ferdinand Marcos Junior, may be elected Vice President in the May elections, which would probably mean that the sale would be stopped.
Presidential election – fight between five candidates
The presidential campaign begins at the beginning of the month. It is now clear that the fight for the presidential post will mainly consist of five candidates: former Vice President Jejomar Binay, Liberal Party leader Manuel Roxas, Senator Grace Poe, Rodrigo Duterte, mayor of Davao City and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago (who is ill with lung cancer, but firmly claims that she is healthy enough to become president). Roxas is the only one who has some major financial knowledge and is the one who Aquino recommends as a successor. But he is considered devoid of charisma and has not got the push in opinion polls he probably needs. Binay, who left the Vice President post in 2015 (see June 2015), describes himself as a man of the people, but is drawn with corruption charges from his time as mayor of Makati City. He leads a populist line and opposes, among other things, the peace agreement with Milf on Mindanao. He also wants to hold direct talks with China on the conflict in the South China Sea. Binay has also founded his own party United National Alliance(UNA). It is not yet clear whether Grace Poe will stand (the decision is with the Supreme Court), but she has refused to become the vice presidential candidate for Roxas. She is considered to have her strongest support among big business owners and intellectuals. Fighting corruption is an important part of her election message. Rodrigo Duterte sets up for PDP-Laban and promises tougher deals to combat crime. Under his rule, Davao City has been transformed into one of the most economically prosperous parts of the Philippines with low crime rates. Human rights organizations have accused Duterte of reaching there with harsh methods and a lack of respect for human rights. He has defended publicly when criminals were shot dead by militia, so-called vigilantes. Duterte wants to transform the Philippines into a federation. Miriam Defensor Santiago,The People’s Reform Party (PRP) was close to winning the 1992 presidential election.
No new autonomous Muslim region under Aquino’s rule
The congress will be updated before the May elections. This means that the law that would pave the way for a new autonomous Muslim region in Minadanao will not be adopted under Aquino’s rule.