Jul 032020
 

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act, which critics have denounced as likely to set the stage for abuses including torture and crackdowns on peaceful dissent. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque justified the move, saying it was in line with the administration’s goal of ridding the country of terrorism. “The signing of …Read more

Jul 022020
 

United States justice officials have announced their efforts to recover another U.S. $96 million in assets, including paintings by Claude Monet and Andy Warhol as well as high-end Parisian properties, purchased allegedly with money misappropriated from Malaysian fund 1MDB. This comes as questions surround the new government in Putrajaya over whether it is serious about …Read more

Jul 022020
 

The Philippines and Vietnam on Thursday separately denounced Beijing’s decision to stage naval exercises this week in contested waters of the South China Sea, saying this could deepen international tensions in the strategic waterway. China’s launching on Wednesday of five days of drills in waters around the Paracel Islands was “highly provocative,” Philippine Defense Secretary …Read more

Jul 022020
 

Jeoffrey Maitem Cotabato, Philippines2020-07-02 Philippine security forces killed four suspected pro-Islamic State militants during a clash in the southern province of Maguindanao, an army spokesman said Thursday. The suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) group were riding in a pickup truck on Wednesday when they ignored a military checkpoint on a highway …Read more

Jul 012020
 

Human Rights Watch called on Bangladesh’s government Wednesday to repeal the Digital Security Act as the watchdog group joined media members and activists in demanding the abolition of the controversial law, under which dozens of journalists have been charged. Bangladesh authorities were using the “abusive” law to harass and indefinitely detain activists, journalists, and other …Read more

Jul 012020
 

Six Indonesian Islamic militants went on trial Wednesday for allegedly planning and instigating a prison riot in West Java province that left a half-dozen people dead, including five police officers, in May 2018. Prosecutors at the East Jakarta District Court indicted the six defendants on charges of criminal conspiracy and use of violence that caused …Read more

Jul 012020
 

Myanmar’s military said Tuesday that it tried and convicted three soldiers in a secret court-martial for the massacre of hundreds of Rohingya villagers during an army-led crackdown in Rakhine state in 2017, only the second case in which troops have been held accountable for atrocities against the Muslim minority. The verdict on the massacre near …Read more

Jun 302020
 

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo announced on Tuesday that seven multinational companies, including LG Electronics and Panasonic, plan to move manufacturing facilities valued at $850 million to Central Java from Japan, South Korea and China, creating thousands of jobs. Jokowi also said other foreign companies planned to relocate factories to Indonesia, as he urged officials …Read more

Jun 302020
 

A year-long investigation has found “near-total impunity” for perpetrators of killings under the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign as  Philippine national security laws are being used to undermine human rights, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday. Michelle Bachelet, the high commissioner, made the assertions during a speech in Geneva, where she presented …Read more

Jun 302020
 

Jojo Rinoza and Nonoy EspinaManila and Bacolod, Philippines2020-06-30 A Hong Kong-flagged ship that collided with a Filipino boat, leaving 14 people missing at sea off Mindoro Island, did not deploy rescue boats and delayed its distress call about the incident to Philippine authorities, the coast guard said Tuesday. Rescuers carried on throughout the day with …Read more

Jun 302020
 

Jeoffrey Maitem and Mark Navales Cotabato, Philippines2020-06-30 Four soldiers were “murdered” by rogue policemen while on a mission to track down Islamic State-linked militants on southern Jolo Island, the Philippine Army chief said Tuesday, rejecting reports that they were killed in a friendly fire incident. The army intelligence specialists – two officers and two enlisted …Read more

Jun 292020
 

A court in southern Thailand will hold hearings in November and December into the cause of death of a suspected insurgent who fell into a coma and died after being taken into military custody last year, his relatives and their lawyer said Monday. They said as many as 30 witnesses would be called to testify …Read more

Jun 292020
 

BenarNews staffZamboanga, Philippines2020-06-29 Philippine authorities late Monday said they were investigating the killing of four army intelligence personnel by police officers in an apparent friendly fire incident in southern Sulu province, a hotbed of activity involving Abu Sayyaf militants linked with Islamic State. In a statement released late Monday night, the military’s regional command confirmed …Read more

Jun 292020
 
China Puts Huge Warship at Woody Island Ahead of Naval Exercise

Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET on 2020-06-29 China has docked what looks to be a Type 071 warship in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy at Woody Island, China’s main administrative center and military base in the South China Sea’s Paracel Islands. The ship will likely be used in in a large-scale naval exercise …Read more

Jun 292020
 

Philippine officials said Monday they disagreed with a World Health Organization assessment that the country saw the fastest rise of COVID-19 infections among 20 countries and territories in WHO’s Western Pacific region. While conceding that the number of cases rose, presidential spokesman Harry Roque pointed out that the number of deaths had been limited. His …Read more

Jun 292020
 

Jojo Rinoza and Nonoy Espina Manila and Bacolod, Philippines2020-06-29 The Philippine Coast Guard still searching for 14 people missing from a Filipino fishing boat that capsized off Mindoro Island near the South China Sea after a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship collided with it the night before, officials said Monday. The MV Vienna Wood ship struck …Read more

Jun 262020
 

China is dredging in a bay at Woody Island, its biggest settlement in the South China Sea, a likely effort to expand the artificial island’s northwest corner, satellite imagery shows. This development in the disputed Paracel island chain, in the northern part of the sea, comes amid mounting concern in Southeast Asia over China’s assertion …Read more

Jun 262020
 

The Philippine presidential palace lashed out at United Nations experts on Friday for what Manila said was a lack of impartiality in calling out alleged human rights abuses in the country. Thirty-one U.N. special rapporteurs and other experts, in a joint statement issued from Geneva, renewed a call for an independent, impartial and “on the …Read more

Jun 262020
 

Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET on 2020-06-26 Southeast Asian leaders on Friday called for maintaining free airspace over the South China Sea in response to reports that Beijing plans to establish an air defense zone as part of its territorial expansion efforts in the contested maritime region. As they participated in a virtual summit hosted …Read more

Jun 262020
 
Philippines Forces Kill 4 Abu Sayyaf Suspects in Raid Near Manila

Updated at 12:03 p.m. ET on 2020-06-26 Philippine security forces killed four suspected militants during a pre-dawn raid in Metro Manila on Friday, the first time in recent years that Muslim extremists were believed to have launched an operation in the capital region, the police and military said. The four suspects who died during a …Read more