Philippines

 

Walden Bello*
[Published on Sunday, October 15, 2006, by The Nation. ]
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus, regarded as the father of microcredit, comes at a time when microcredit has become something like a religion to many of the powerful, rich and famous. Hillary Clinton regularly speaks about going to Bangladesh, Yunus's homeland, and being "inspired by the power of these loans to enable even the poorest of women to start businesses, lifting their families--and their communities--out of poverty."
thumb_drts1The ASEAN has traditionally avoided thorny intra-region foreign policy and security issues, and the official agenda outlined by the Philippine government for its year-long chairmanship is no exception. However, as these internal issues-such as human rights violations in Myanmar and southern Thailand, political killings in the Philippines, brutal repression of secessionist movements in Indonesia, and the resurgence of authoritarianism throughout the region-take on an increasingly international import, the rigidity of the ASEAN is becoming more and more apparent, even as the need to resolve these issues become more and more urgent.
By Herbert Docena
MANILA - Political activist Cathy Alcantara was gunned down by unidentified assailants last December 5, outside the resort where she had helped to organize a conference on farmers' rights.
Two months later, the lifeless body of her activist friend, 19-year-old Audie Lucero, was found in a remote rice field. Lucero was last seen surrounded by police officers and soldiers in a hospital lobby, inexplicably crying.

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