ClimateWatch | The Philippines

ClimateWatch
The Philippines

The Philippine Congress recently confirmed Rodrigo Duterte as the 16th president of the Philippines, ushering in a new government fueled by populist disaffection and characterized by uncertainty. A lightning rod of controversy, the tough-talking former mayor of Davao City in the south of the country has supported vigilante justice in crime-riddled cities (including against those suffering from addiction), the reinstatement of capital punishment, and paternalistic policies on smoking, alcohol consumption, and youth curfews. His unfiltered style has been likened to U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump for both his casual misogyny and penchant for offensive jokes.

But Duterte, the Philippines’ oldest president, has also expressed support for minority representation and protections, backed by a record of gender and minority inclusiveness during his time as mayor. His election has already been celebrated for breaking political regionalism in the country: Duterte has become the first president from the historically marginalized island of Mindanao. Now having to scale his leadership from the local to the national level, he inherits a range of difficult issues impacting historically disadvantaged communities, including land and environmental rights for indigenous peoples, reproductive healthcare for women, and political autonomy for Muslim groups in the south.

With international observers and diplomats concerned by Duterte’s unpredictability, his record with and plans for vulnerable communities have been scrutinized as political analysts attempt to predict what the next era of Philippine politics will look like under his leadership. Here is an overview of recent local and international commentary on the impact of Duterte’s election:

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UAE News | People of Libyan Descent

UAE acquits Libyan-Americans and Libyan-Canadian of militancy charges
  • Two Libyan-Americans and a Libyan-Canadian have been detained in the country since their 2014 arrests carried out in the wake of the passage of the UAE’s Anti-Terrorism Law, initially accused of supporting Libyan terrorist groups.
  • The men had been held in secret for months, with reports indicating torture and deteriorating health during their more than 500 days of detention without a trial.
  • The three businessmen had reportedly traveled in and out of the UAE without incident for decades, but the UAE’s zero-tolerance policy towards extremism has made many with even tenuous connections to countries with designated terrorist groups vulnerable.

Read more:
Two American businessmen acquitted in the United Arab Emirates of supporting militants” (The Washington Post)
UAE acquits two Libyan-Americans and Canadian of militancy charges” (Reuters)
‘Nowhere close to a fair trial’: pressure to aid Americans and Canadian in UAE” (The Guardian)

(Image Credit: Family photo, via The Washington Post)