As stated previously, I don't read my newsfeeds often. I have an interest in what's going on in the Philippines, however, because I know quite a few people there.
Some news stories from the Philippines which caught my eye...
The Russian foreign minister wants his country and the Philippines to work together more - http://www.itar-tass.com/c154/365297.html
A Filipino producer of educational materials is working with Microsoft to bring classrooms in the Philippines into the digital age - http://www.asianewsnet.net/home/news.php?id=28664. As an advocate of open source solutions, I take this as largely good news which could have been better. There are a few Filipino Linux distributions, and the Philippines is still a relatively poor country, with its own language and culture. My concern is that Microsoft has an agenda of creating a dependence on Microsoft technologies, which is clearly not in the interests of a country like the Philippines, or any country on Earth, to be honest. There are better solutions, but Microsoft has the power to implement this scheme and maybe it will not close the door to other solutions being investigated later.
A Japanese firm has been contracted to finish the third terminal at NAIA airport - http://www.chinapost.com.tw/business/asia/philippines/2012/03/15/334652/Philippine-airport.htm. There is a touch of irony to this, as KLM (one of the largest European airways) has recently withdrawn its flights to Manila.
There is ongoing debate about the RH (Reproductive Health) Bill. Supporters of the bill point to the high rate of teenage pregnancy in the Philippines - http://www.irinnews.org/Report/95076/PHILIPPINES-Lack-of-services-fuels-teen-pregnancy and say that it does not go against the teachings of the Catholic church or the state constitution - http://www.philnews.com/2012/17a.htm. As I am not native to the Philippines, I shouldn't really step into this particular battle, but I will say that the RH Bill, as I understand it, has the sole intention of educating young people about their sexual health.
By blocking the bill, the church is effectively saying that its congregation can not be trusted with their own free will, so any information which contradicts the teachings of the church must be withheld from them. Whether knowledge of, and access to, contraception will create an environment within which promiscuity is the norm is clearly not the point. The high rate of teen pregnancy shows that teenagers are already sexually active, and the population of the Philippines continues to grow at an exponential rate. While sexually transmitted infections are still comparatively rare, they are on the rise. Is the Catholic church being irresponsible in its opposition to the RH Bill? I'll leave that question open.
On a more positive note, it has been suggested that the country's economy is poised to improve immensely - http://www.asianewsnet.net/home/news.php?id=29109 and that it may become a popular destination for those facing retirement - http://globalnation.inquirer.net/30927/dot-it%E2%80%99s-more-fun-to-be-a-senior-in-philippines.
So, those are the stories about the Philippines that caught my eye. I'm not sure if this will be a regular feature, but I do love the country.