• The Philippines is a multi-party democracy with an elected president and legislature, and an active civil society sector. The government in 2012 adopted important legislation improving reproductive health and domestic workers rights and making enforced disappearances a criminal offense, as well as seeking ways to improve the criminal justice system. Extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances have decreased since President Benigno S. Aquino III took office in 2010. However, harassment and violence implicating military and police personnel against political activists and journalists continue. The country has a vibrant media, but free expression suffered a serious setback when Congress passed a law allowing stiff criminal sentences for online defamation.
  • Smoke billows from a village as fighting rages between government soldiers and the Muslim rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), in the suburbs of Zamboanga city in the southern Philippines on September 19, 2013.
    The Philippine government failed to match its rhetoric in support of human rights in 2013 with meaningful action to end impunity for extrajudicial killings, torture, and enforced disappearances.