Philippines

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Yaphet Kotto, James Bond villain and Alien actor, dead at 81
Yaphet Kotto in 1995
Yaphet Kotto in 1995 Credit: Kingkongphoto (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Actor Yaphet Kotto, best known for playing a villain in the James Bond movie 'Live and Let Die' and a crew member in the sci-fi movie 'Alien', has died at the age of 81 in the Philippines

Kotto's wife Sinahon Thessa wrote on Facebook: "You played a villain on some of your movies but for me you're a real hero and to a lot of people also."

Health
WHO: Measles cases and deaths are soaring worldwide

The World Health Organization has reported that measles cases and deaths have soared globally since 2016, with the global death tally of 2019 reaching 207,500 - 50 percent higher than just three years earlier.

Ethiopia set up a vaccination campaign in June which reached 14.5 million children. Alarmingly, the numbers of "zero-dose" children - those who had received no vaccines whatsoever - are beginning to rise again, with middle-income countries, including Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines, accounting for 9.5 million, or 69 percent.

Law
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Credit: Ramon FVelasquez / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Manila's mayor Francisco Domagoso signs a decree making discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation a criminal offence. In addition, the capital of the Philippines is working to establish gender-neutral toilets and will soon decide on same-sex marriages. The Philippines is the largest Catholic-influenced region in Asia, so these decisions are expected to have a pulling effect.

Climate & Environment
The Philippines stops accepting proposals for coal-based power plants
The Philippines stops accepting proposals for coal-based power plants
Credit: Lawrence Ruiz (Epi Fabonan III) / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Filipino Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has announced a moratorium on endorsements for greenfield coal-powered plants.

Instead, the government will pursue natural gas as a major source of energy, not just for power generation but also for industrial, commercial and household sectors.

However, with the coal-based projects that are already in the works and proposals already submitted to the government not covered by the moratorium, coal is set to remain the dominant power source for years to come.

Cusi stated that "We see that we have enough supply for baseload power and we're looking at a more flexible source like gas, geothermal, hydro and others,".

Regional News • Asia
Zara Alvarez, human rights leader, killed in Philippine
Zara Alvarez, human rights leader, killed in Philippine
Credit: Twitter Reproduction

The human rights leader Zara Alvarez was killed Monday evening after being shot six times as she was heading home after buying food for dinner. Alvarez is the 13th member of the Karapatan organisation to be killed since President Rodrigo Duterte election in 2016.

Zara Alvarez, former education director of the human rights alliance Karapatan, was a well-known human rights defender who received repeated threats and was subjected to harassment as a result of her human rights work.

In a statement, the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD), strongly condemned the killing of Alvarez. “The death of even one human rights defender is way too many...We demand justice for Zara along with other human rights defenders who have been victims of extrajudicial killings,” APWLD stated.

Regional News • Asia
President of the Philippines signs anti-terrorism bill
President Rodrigo Duterte addressing Filipino community in Brunei
President Rodrigo Duterte addressing Filipino community in Brunei Credit: KING RODRIGUEZ/Presidential Photo (Public Domain)

The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new anti-terrorism law. The new law the Republic Act No. 11479 provides the government with more rights for surveillance and repeals the Human Security Act of 2007. Suspected terrorists can be detained and arrested without a warrant and without charges for up to 24 days.

Regional News • Asia
Philippines' ABS-CBN ordered to cease operations
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Centre
ABS-CBN Broadcasting Centre Credit: wikimedia/PinoyExplorer/CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Philippines broadcaster ABS-CBN was forced by order from the National Telecommunications Commission to cease operations on Tuesday. ABS-CBN's broadcasting license expired on Monday and the parliament dominated by President Rodrigo Duterte loyalists wouldn't renew their license. Duterte has been threatening to block ABS-CBN's renewal after the channel has angered him in the past. NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said that the network could appeal through court.

Regional News • Asia
President of the Philippines orders people to be shot if protests continue

In a televised address the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte has announced that he ordered the police, military and officials of villages to shoot citizens dead if "there's violence and your lives are in danger". This order follows the protests against the lack of supplies since the lockdown started two weeks ago. Protestors argue that they haven't received any food packages, while the government refutes these claims.