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International Relations Security

New Displacements as Philippines Nears Final Peace Deal

Philippine Marines Corporal. Photo: Lcpl Cory Yenter/Wikimedia Commons.

More than 10,000 people fled their homes this week in Mindanao, southern Philippines, as government forces launched a major offensive against Muslim splinter groups opposed to a final peace deal to end decades of insurgency in the island. The country’s capacity to respond to emergencies has been stretched by a series of deadly disasters.

President Benigno Aquino said the offensive was a calculated response against members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), who had been harassing civilians and troops in the towns of Datu Piang and Pikit, in Maguindanao Province.

Gun battles and heavy exchanges of mortar fire have left at least 37 rebels and one soldier dead since 27 January, and the military said at least three civilians were hurt by an improvised bomb attack near a market, in which seven troops were also injured.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the capital, Manila, said it had requested assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to provide tents for some 4,200 people in 10 evacuation centres. Another 4,565 people are staying with friends and relatives.

Categories
International Relations Government Foreign policy

The Sabah Issue and its Impact on Philippine-Malaysian Relations

Map of Sabah, Malaysia
Map of Sabah, Malaysia. Photo: Yodod/flickr.

Despite playing second string to the South China Sea disputes in recent years, the state of Sabah (also known as North Borneo) has long been a major irritant in bilateral relations between the Philippines and Malaysia. However, a lasting resolution of this longstanding issue would help cement bilateral ties between the two countries, enhance maritime security and help regulate seaborne trade. Finally, a resolution may help determine the fate of thousands of Filipino refugees, migrants and their descendants in Sabah, many of whom remain stateless to this day.

Categories
Business and Finance

Labor Unions Learning to Globalize

Swiss newspaper reports the Triumph story / www.tagesanzeiger.ch
Swiss newspaper reports the Triumph story www.tagesanzeiger.ch

On Friday 24 July, lingerie maker Triumph confirmed that it will lay off 3,700 workers in Thailand and the Philippines. Triumph International is headquartered in Switzerland and employs 40,000 people worldwide.

Firing staff is not remarkable, you may think, especially during a global economic downturn. However, if it was not for the Swiss labor union Unia, the Triumph story would probably not have made news at all.

Unia, together with the NGO Berne Declaration (BD), helped to organize protests in Bangkok and Manila. Hundreds of people demonstrated in front of the Swiss embassies and voiced complaints against Triumph.

Decades after companies started to spread their activities across national borders, trade unions have learned the business of globalization. Unions have fought globalization long enough. It seems that they are now employing its forces.