YEAR IN REVIEW: The 10 Biggest PH News Stories of 2016

Business mogul Donald Trump’s victory in the recent US presidential elections certainly dominated the headlines worldwide in 2016. In the Philippines, several personalities including politicians, alleged drug personalities, an athlete and a beauty queen garnered the most interest this year.

10 Biggest PH News Stories of 2016

As we wrap the year that was, let’s take a look at the biggest stories in the Philippines this 2016.

10. Pia Wurtzbach takes home Miss Universe crown

After a 42-year-long drought, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach took home the Miss Universe 2015 crown on December 21, 2015. Wurtzbach, a former actress and model from Cagayan de Oro, is the third Filipina to take home the highly coveted title. Although the Filipina beauty technically won last year, news about her plagued Filipinos throughout 2016.

9. Pinay weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz wins 2016 Rio Olympics silver

Two decades after Filipino boxer Mansueto "Onyok" Velasco won silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz clinched another silver medal in the 53 kilogram class of the weightlifting event at the 2016 Rio Olympic games. The 25-year-old athlete from Zamboanga City is the first Filipina to ever win an Olympic medal for the Philippines.

8. Miriam Defensor-Santiago dies

Known as the Iron lady of Asia for her strong campaign against corruption in the government, former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago passed away on September 29 at the age of 71. Finishing last in the May 9 presidential race, the three-term Senator spent her entire career in public service.

7. PH wins arbitration case vs China over West PH sea dispute

The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands ruled in favor of the Philippines in its landmark case against China over the West Philippine Sea. The ruling which “concluded that, there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources, in excess of the rights provided for by the Convention, within the sea areas falling within the '9-dash line’", came after a 3-year process pursued by Manila. While China refused to recognize the ruling, President Rodrigo Duterte renewed ties with the country months after the historic ruling.

6. Duterte calls for separation of foreign policy from the US

Following his controversial comments against the United States and US President Barack Obama, President Duterte advocated for a separation of foreign policy from the United States but emphasized that he would not sever ties with the country.

5. Duterte reveals top-tier drug lords in the Philippines

Shortly after naming five police generals allegedly involved in illegal drugs, Duterte fearlessly identified three top drug lords in the country namely Peter Lim, Peter Co and Herbert Colango in July. Duterte later released a drug matrix tagging Senator Leila De Lima and her former driver-bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan as well as other high-ranking officials as protectors of drug lords.

4. Senator Leila De Lima named by drug lords as their protector

Duterte’s accusation against the former Secretary of Justice was supported by drug lords Kerwin Espinosa, Herbert Colanggo and Jaybee Sebastian in their testimonies in Senate Hearings. Ronnie Dayan, who had a 7-year relationship with De Lima, also admitted receiving drug money from Bilibid inmates for the senator’s campaign in 2016 after he was captured by authorities in La Union. Despite numerous allegations, De Lima insists that these are part of the president’s massive demolition job against her.

3. Killing of alleged drug personalities

Based on latest police records, almost 6000 suspected drug personalities were killed across the Philippines since the President took office on June 30. About 2,841 suspects were killed during police operations, while another 3,841 were killed by unknown gunmen.

2. Marcos laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

Despite opposition from human rights groups and martial law victim, late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was given a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on November 18, 27 years after his death. His controversial burial, which triggered rallies and demonstrations in various parts of the country, was part of Duterte’s campaign promise.

1. Duterte wins Presidency

The former mayor of Davao City won the May 9 presidential election by a landslide against other four prominent and higher ranking officials. With his promise of “genuine change” and anti-drug platform, Duterte amassed over 16 million votes. Leni Roberdo, former Camarines Sur Rep. and widow of former DILG secretary Jesse Robredo, won the won the neck-and-neck race against Sen. Bongbong Marcos with over 14 million votes.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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