At Asian Correspondent, Carloes Conde questions Filipino President Benigno S. Aquino III’s commitment to human rights by recounting how the military has used counterinsurgency operations to target journalists and left-wing activists. Aquino has allowed the current operational plan to stay in place until the military designs a new one. Conde writes:
It used to be that the Philippine government knew exactly how to deal with insurgents and dissidents: arrest and jail them. Yet with the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992, the military lost a key weapon … the state had to resort to what has been described as a “dirty war.”
Today, the “military seems to swallow its own propaganda that it has been successful,” which makes Conde question the military’s ability to behave differently than before.
A tsunami and volcanic eruption struck Indonesia within a 24-hour period this week. Since it hit Monday, the tsunami has killed nearly 350 people, and about that many are still missing. The first relief supplies arrived Wednesday after a break in the weather. The volcano eruption occurred in central Java on Tuesday, killing more than 30, including the mountain’s 83-year old spiritual caretaker.
Floods have spread to a third of Thailand since October 10, killing over 50 and destroying a predicted 6.5 percent of the country’s rice crop. The Thai government has announced that each household hit by floods will be eligible for 5,000 baht in emergency assistance. Satellite imagery will be used to prevent abuse of the relief system. Bangkok has escaped the flooding and engineers are working to reinforce the city’s flood-protection systems.