My friend and correspondent there, Rev Shay Cullen, is a member of Columban Missionary Society and has served there for some thirty years or more. He has done remarkable work in rescuing and rehabilitating children and young people, from brothels, sex-bars, prisons and various addictions. He publishes regular bulletins in the media of Philippines, Hong Kong and Ireland; these are available on www.preda.org
A recent issue, dated 6 September 2017, claims that the islands make up a corrupt society. Wealth is highly concentrated in the hands of 100 or more families. Worse still, power is abused at all levels for personal gain. Corruption exists in business, in politics, even in the judiciary, but also down to quite low levels among the police and local officials. In 2016 the Philippines were placed at 101 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s corruption index.
Despite some successful prosecutions and good legislations, underage children are still sexually exploited, both within families and by sex-tourists, and also for the making of pornographic videos etc. Crimes of this kind are often corruptly concealed.
Father Shay writes: “Saying no to corruption can cost you your life. Over a hundred journalists and human rights defenders have been killed in recent years”. The murderers are seldom tried and convicted.
All this occurs at a time when the current President has declared war on drug traffickers and users. He has encouraged the killing of suspects without any legal process whatever. Police and vigilantes seem to have a free hand. Despite some opposition by a brave woman Senator and by the Roman Catholic bishops, the death squads continue. The victims reached some 4000 by the end of last year, and their number is still rising.
If you have visited the Philippines or are at all concerned by the blog, please contact your MP and express your view on social media. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch can supply more details and evidence.