FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (C) poses for a picture with female soldiers during his visit at Bangolo town in Marawi city, southern Philippines October 17, 2017.  Malacanang Presidential Photo/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES
Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte (C) poses for a picture with female soldiers during his visit at Bangolo town in Marawi city, southern Philippines on October 17, 2017. Reuters

Philippines' Duterte seeks martial law extension for south



Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte asked Congress on Monday to extend martial law across the southern third of the country until the end of next year to combat Islamist militants and communists.

In a letter to lawmakers released by his office, Mr Duterte said extending martial law was necessary in the southern region of Mindanao to contain an ongoing rebellion by ISIL supporters as well as a rising threat from communist guerrillas.

"I ask the Congress of the Philippines to further extend the proclamation of Martial Law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in the whole of Mindanao for a period of one year from 01 January 2018," the letter said.

Mr Duterte initially imposed military rule across Mindanao, which covers the southern third of the country and is home to about 20 million people, in May to quell an uprising by ISIL supporters in Marawi city.

Hundreds of gunmen rampaged through Marawi, the mainly Catholic Philippines' Islamic capital, in what authorities said was part of a campaign to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate for ISIL.

A US and Chinese-backed military campaign took five months to defeat the militants, with the conflict claiming more than 1,100 lives and leaving large parts of Marawi in ruins.

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Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed speaks with Duterte

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Although Mr Duterte declared in October that Marawi had been "liberated" and military chiefs said most militant leaders had been killed, authorities have continued to warn that others who escaped are regrouping and recruiting in Mindanao.

The initial period of martial law was limited by the constitution to 60 days. But lawmakers in July endorsed an extension until the end of this year.

Martial law is an extremely sensitive issue in the Philippines, after dictator Ferdinand Marcos used military rule as a key weapon in holding onto power a generation ago.

Mr Duterte, who has praised Marcos, has repeatedly said he may impose martial law across the entire nation.

Rights groups and other critics warn Mr Duterte is destroying democracy in the Philippines with strongman rule and a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives.

But many Filipinos continue to support Mr Duterte, believing tough tactics are needed to solve deep-rooted problems such as the decades-long conflicts with Islamist militants and communists.

Mr Duterte enjoys overwhelming support in both houses of Congress.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on Mr Duterte's martial law extension request this week, lower house majority leader Rodolfo Farinas told AFP.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

Formula 4 Italian Championship 2023 calendar

April 21-23: Imola
May 5-7: Misano
May 26-28: SPA-Francorchamps
June 23-25: Monza
July 21-23: Paul Ricard
Sept 29-Oct 1: Mugello
Oct 13-15: Vallelunga

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Tightening the screw on rogue recruiters

The UAE overhauled the procedure to recruit housemaids and domestic workers with a law in 2017 to protect low-income labour from being exploited.

 Only recruitment companies authorised by the government are permitted as part of Tadbeer, a network of labour ministry-regulated centres.

A contract must be drawn up for domestic workers, the wages and job offer clearly stating the nature of work.

The contract stating the wages, work entailed and accommodation must be sent to the employee in their home country before they depart for the UAE.

The contract will be signed by the employer and employee when the domestic worker arrives in the UAE.

Only recruitment agencies registered with the ministry can undertake recruitment and employment applications for domestic workers.

Penalties for illegal recruitment in the UAE include fines of up to Dh100,000 and imprisonment

But agents not authorised by the government sidestep the law by illegally getting women into the country on visit visas.

Retirement funds heavily invested in equities at a risky time

Pension funds in growing economies in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East have a sharply higher percentage of assets parked in stocks, just at a time when trade tensions threaten to derail markets.

Retirement money managers in 14 geographies now allocate 40 per cent of their assets to equities, an 8 percentage-point climb over the past five years, according to a Mercer survey released last week that canvassed government, corporate and mandatory pension funds with almost $5 trillion in assets under management. That compares with about 25 per cent for pension funds in Europe.

The escalating trade spat between the US and China has heightened fears that stocks are ripe for a downturn. With tensions mounting and outcomes driven more by politics than economics, the S&P 500 Index will be on course for a “full-scale bear market” without Federal Reserve interest-rate cuts, Citigroup’s global macro strategy team said earlier this week.

The increased allocation to equities by growth-market pension funds has come at the expense of fixed-income investments, which declined 11 percentage points over the five years, according to the survey.

Hong Kong funds have the highest exposure to equities at 66 per cent, although that’s been relatively stable over the period. Japan’s equity allocation jumped 13 percentage points while South Korea’s increased 8 percentage points.

The money managers are also directing a higher portion of their funds to assets outside of their home countries. On average, foreign stocks now account for 49 per cent of respondents’ equity investments, 4 percentage points higher than five years ago, while foreign fixed-income exposure climbed 7 percentage points to 23 per cent. Funds in Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan are among those seeking greater diversification in stocks and fixed income.

• Bloomberg