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Millions to remain in poverty as Philippines re-sets target

The Philippines will have to downgrade its target to reduce poverty, officials warned Tuesday, a move which would leave an additional four million people virtually destitute in 2016. Socio-economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that although economic growth had remained strong, it had failed to lift as many people out of poverty as expected. The Philippines had originally projected that 16.6 percent of its 100 million people would still be living in poverty by 2016.

Philippines, Muslim rebels to sign peace treaty on March 27

The Philippines and Muslim rebels are to sign a treaty on March 27 to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest rebellions, a senior aide to President Benigno Aquino said Friday. The terms of the deal, completed in January after drawn-out talks, would see the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) disband its 12,000-member guerrilla force and share power with Manila in the Muslim south of the mainly Catholic nation.

Philippines offers U.S. forces access to military bases

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippines has agreed to allow the United States access to its military bases under a new security deal being negotiated by the two allies, amid mounting concern over China's increasing assertiveness in the disputed waters of the South China Sea. The offer was made during a sixth round of talks held in Washington last week, Filipino officials said on Friday. The two sides hope to finalize terms before U.S. President Barack Obama embarks on a visit to Asia, including the Philippines, next month.

12 slain in communist rebel attack in Philippines

Ten members of the security forces and two communist insurgents were killed in a string of guerrilla attacks targeting Philippine police and military on Monday, officials said. At least 50 New People's Army (NPA) rebels overwhelmed a small group of policemen at the police station in Matanao on the southern island of Mindanao at dawn, said local military spokesman Captain William Rodriguez.

11 slain in communist rebel attack in Philippines

Nine members of the security forces and two communist insurgents were killed in a string of guerrilla attacks targeting Philippine police and military on Monday, officials said. At least 50 New People's Army (NPA) rebels overwhelmed a small group of policemen at the police station in Matanao on the southern island of Mindanao at dawn, said local military spokesman Captain William Rodriguez.

Philippine Muslim peace deal to be inked 'end of March'

The Philippine government and Muslim rebels will sign a peace deal to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest insurgencies "by the end of March", Malaysia's prime minister said Friday after meeting his Filipino counterpart. Prime Minister Najib Razak said President Benigno Aquino invited him to witness the ceremony when "the comprehensive agreement is due to be signed by the end of March". An official in the office of Aquino's adviser on the peace negotiations confirmed the signing was targeted for the end of next month though no exact date has been set.

Danger ahead for planned Philippine Muslim peace deal

Philippine President Benigno Aquino is on the brink of an accord to end one of Asia's longest and deadliest rebellions, but renegade guerrillas, hostile politicians and the nation's highest court lie in potential ambush. After completing negotiations last month, Aquino is expected to sign within weeks a final peace deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for a power-sharing arrangement with the nation's Muslim minority in the south.

Philippines frees top Muslim rebel

The Philippine government has freed a top Muslim rebel whose recent arrest had threatened to jeopardise a peace deal to end one of Asia's longest running insurgencies, both sides said Wednesday. Wahid Tundok and his armed bodyguards were detained at a government checkpoint near the southern city of Cotabato on Sunday ahead of a peace deal with the 12,000-member Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) expected within weeks.

Philippines asks China to explain 'water cannon' incident

Philippine President Benigno Aquino demanded an explanation from China Tuesday over a report its coast guard had fired water cannon at Filipino fishermen at a disputed shoal. Aquino said the foreign department had been asked to file a "diplomatic message", a day after the Philippines' military chief told reporters of the incident at Scarborough Shoal -- the subject of a bitter territorial row in the South China Sea.

Philippines looks to reopen peace talks with communist rebels

The Philippines is working with the Norwegian government on the possibility of reopening peace talks with communist insurgents, barely a year after negotiations collapsed, officials said Friday. The administration has been engaged in on-and-off peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) since the 1980s but the talks have repeatedly stalled due to what the government says are conditions imposed by the rebels.
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