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[META]La Historia de Las Felipinas (History of the Philippines) [Excerpts In English]
The history of the Philippines is believed to have begun with the arrival of the first humans using rafts or primitive boats at least 67,000 years ago as the 2007 discovery of Callao Man suggested. Negrito tribes first inhabited the isles. Groups of Austronesians later migrated to the islands. Eventually various groups developed, separated into hunter-gatherer tribes, warrior societies, petty plutocracies and maritime-oriented harbor principalities which eventually grew into kingdoms, rajahnates, kedatuans, huangdoms and sultanates. These small nations were either greatly influenced by Hindu religions, literature and philosophy from India, Islam from Arabia or were Sinified tributary states allied to China. The nations included the Indianized Rajahnates of Butuan and Cebu, the dynasty of Tondo, the august kingdoms of Maysapan and Maynila, the Kedatuan of Madja-as, the sinified Huangdom of Ma-i, the Huangdom of Pangasinan as well as the Muslim Sultanates of Sulu, Lanao and Maguindanao. These small maritime states flourished from the 1st millennium. These kingdoms traded with what are now called China, India, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. The remainder of the settlements were independent barangays allied with one of the larger states. The first recorded visit by Europeans is the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan. He sighted Samar Island on March 16, 1521 and landed the next day on Homonhon Island, now part of Guiuan, Eastern Samar. Spanish colonization began with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi's expedition on February 13, 1565 from Mexico. He established the first permanent settlement in Cebu. Much of the archipelago came under Spanish rule, creating the first unified political structure known as the Philippines. Spanish colonial rule saw the introduction of Christianity, the code of law and the oldest modern university in Asia. The Philippines was ruled under the Mexico-based Viceroyalty of New Spain until the advent of Mexican independence. After which, the colony was directly governed by Spain. Spanish rule ended in 1898 with Spain's defeat in the Spanish–American War. The Philippines then became a colony of the United States. American rule was not uncontested. The Philippine Revolution had begun in August 1896 against Spain, and after the defeat of Spain in the Battle of Manila Bay began again in earnest, culminating in the Philippine Declaration of Independence and the establishment of the First Philippine Republic. The Philippine–American War ensued, with extensive damage and death, and ultimately resulting in the defeat of the Philippine Republic. The United States established the Insular Government to rule the Philippines. In 1907, the elected Philippine Assembly was convened as the lower house of a bicameral legislature and in 1916 the U.S. Federal Government formally promised independence in the Jones Act. The Philippine Commonwealth was established in 1935, as a 10-year interim step prior to full independence. Before independence, World War II began and Japan occupied the Philippines. After the end of the war, the Treaty of Manila established an independent Philippine Republic. In 1972, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law. Following the assassination of the Ninoy Aquino, Marcos held snap elections in 1986 and subsequently fled the country during the People Power Revolution which installed Cory Aquino as president and reestablished democracy. In the 21st Century, the Philippines is the 12th most populous country of the world, part of ASEAN, a key ally of the United States, with an economy dominated by fishing and agriculture with a growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and nearly 10% of the population abroad as overseas Filipino workers. The earliest archeological evidence for man in the archipelago is the 67,000-year-old Callao Man of Cagayan and the Angono Petroglyphs in Rizal, both of whom appear to suggest the presence of human settlement prior to the arrival of the Negritos and Austronesian speaking people. There are several opposing theories regarding the origins of ancient Filipinos. F. Landa Jocano theorizes that the ancestors of the Filipinos evolved locally. Wilhelm Solheim's Island Origin Theory postulates that the peopling of the archipelago transpired via trade networks originating in the Sundaland area around 48,000 to 5000 BC rather than by wide-scale migration. The Austronesian Expansion Theory states that Malayo-Polynesians coming from Taiwan began migrating to the Philippines around 4000 BC, displacing earlier arrivals. The Negritos were early settlers, but their appearance in the Philippines has not been reliably dated. They were followed by speakers of the Malayo-Polynesian languages, a branch of the Austronesian languages, who began to arrive in successive waves beginning about 4000 BC, displacing the earlier arrivals. Before the expansion out of Taiwan, recent archaeological, linguistic and genetic evidence has linked Austronesian speakers in Insular Southeast Asia to cultures such as the Hemudu, its successor the Liangzhu and Dapenkeng in Neolithic China. During this neolithic period, a "jade culture" is said to have existed as evidenced by tens of thousands of exquisitely crafted jade artifacts found in the Philippines dated to 2000 BC. The jade is said to have originated nearby in Taiwan and is also found in many other areas in insular and mainland Southeast Asia. These artifacts are said to be evidence of long range communication between prehistoric Southeast Asian societies. By 1000 BC the inhabitants of the Philippine archipelago had developed into four distinct kinds of peoples: tribal groups, such as the Aetas, Hanunoo, Ilongots and the Mangyan who depended on hunter-gathering and were concentrated in forests; warrior societies, such as the Isneg and Kalinga who practiced social ranking and ritualized warfare and roamed the plains; the petty plutocracy of the Ifugao Cordillera Highlanders, who occupied the mountain ranges of Luzon; and the harbor principalities of the estuarine civilizations that grew along rivers and seashores while participating in trans-island maritime trade. It was also during the first millennium BC that early metallurgy was said to have reached the archipelagos of maritime Southeast Asia via trade with India Around 300–700 AD the seafaring peoples of the islands traveling in balangays began to trade with the Indianized kingdoms in the Malay Archipelago and the nearby East Asian principalities, adopting influences from both Buddhism and Hinduism. During the 19th century Spain invested heavily in education and infrastructure. Through the Education Decree of December 20, 1863, Queen Isabella II of Spain decreed the establishment of a free public school system that used Spanish as the language of instruction, leading to increasing numbers of educated Filipinos. Additionally, the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 cut travel time to Spain, which facilitated the rise of the ilustrados, an enlightened class of Filipinos that had been able to expand their studies in Spain and Europe. Puente de Claveria (Quezon Bridge) A great deal of infrastructure projects were undertaken during the 19th century that put the Philippine economy and standard of living ahead of most of its Asian neighbors and even many European countries at that time. Among them were a railway system for Luzon, a tramcar network for Manila, and the Puente Colgante (now known as the Quezon Bridge), Asia's first steel suspension bridge. On August 1, 1851 the Banco Español-Filipino de Isabel II was established to attend the needs of the rapid economic boom, that had greatly increased its pace since 1840 as a result of a new economy based on a rational exploitation of the agricultural resources of the islands. The increase in textile fiber crops such as abacá, oil products derived from the coconut, indigo, that was growing in demand, etc., generated an increase in money supply that led to the creation of the bank. Banco Español-Filipino was also granted the power to print a Philippine-specific currency (the Philippine peso) for the first time (before 1851, many currencies were used, mostly the pieces of eight). Spanish Manila was seen in the 19th century as a model of colonial governance that effectively put the interests of the original inhabitants of the islands before those of the colonial power. As John Crawfurd put it in its History of the Indian Archipelago, in all of Asia the "Philippines alone did improve in civilization, wealth, and populousness under the colonial rule" of a foreign power. John Bowring, Governor General of British Hong Kong from 1856 to 1860, wrote after his trip to Manila: "Credit is certainly due to Spain for having bettered the condition of a people who, though comparatively highly civilized, yet being continually distracted by petty wars, had sunk into a disordered and uncultivated state. The inhabitants of these beautiful Islands upon the whole, may well be considered to have lived as comfortably during the last hundred years, protected from all external enemies and governed by mild laws vis-a-vis those from any other tropical country under native or European sway, owing in some measure, to the frequently discussed peculiar (Spanish) circumstances which protect the interests of the natives." In The Inhabitants of the Philippines, Frederick Henry Sawyer wrote: "Until an inept bureaucracy was substituted for the old paternal rule, and the revenue quadrupled by increased taxation, the Filipinos were as happy a community as could be found in any colony. The population greatly multiplied; they lived in competence, if not in affluence; cultivation was extended, and the exports steadily increased. [...] Let us be just; what British, French, or Dutch colony, populated by natives can compare with the Philippines as they were until 1895?." The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1878. The colony's population as of December 31, 1877, was recorded at 5,567,685 persons. This was followed by the 1887 census that yielded a count of 6,984,727, while that of 1898 yielded 7,832,719 inhabitants. The estimated GDP per capita for the Philippines in 1900, the year Spain left, was of $1,033.00. That made it the second richest place in all of Asia, just a little behind Japan ($1,135.00), and far ahead of China ($652.00) or India ($625.00). Administration of Manuel Roxas (1946–1948) Manuel Roxas, President from 1946 until 1948. Elections were held in April 1946, with Manuel Roxas becoming the first president of the independent Republic of the Philippines. The United States ceded its sovereignty over the Philippines on July 4, 1946, as scheduled. However, the Philippine economy remained highly dependent on United States markets—more dependent, according to United States high commissioner Paul McNutt, than any single U.S. state was dependent on the rest of the country. The Philippine Trade Act, passed as a precondition for receiving war rehabilitation grants from the United States, exacerbated the dependency with provisions further tying the economies of the two countries. A military assistance pact was signed in 1947 granting the United States a 99-year lease on designated military bases in the country. Administration of Elpidio Quirino (1948–1953) Elpidio Quirino, president from 1948 until 1953. The Roxas administration granted general amnesty to those who had collaborated with the Japanese in World War II, except for those who had committed violent crimes. Roxas died suddenly of a heart attack in April 1948, and the vice president, Elpidio Quirino, was elevated to the presidency. He ran for president in his own right in 1949, defeating José P. Laurel and winning a four-year term. World War II had left the Philippines demoralized and severely damaged. The task of reconstruction was complicated by the activities of the Communist-supported Hukbalahap guerrillas (known as "Huks"), who had evolved into a violent resistance force against the new Philippine government. Government policy towards the Huks alternated between gestures of negotiation and harsh suppression. Secretary of Defense Ramon Magsaysay initiated a campaign to defeat the insurgents militarily and at the same time win popular support for the government. The Huk movement had waned in the early 1950s, finally ending with the unconditional surrender of Huk leader Luis Taruc in May 1954. Administration of Ramon Magsaysay (1953–1957) President and Mrs. Magsaysay with Eleanor Roosevelt at the Malacañan Palace. Supported by the United States, Magsaysay was elected president in 1953 on a populist platform. He promised sweeping economic reform, and made progress in land reform by promoting the resettlement of poor people in the Catholic north into traditionally Muslim areas. Though this relieved population pressure in the north, it heightened religious hostilities. Nevertheless, he was extremely popular with the common people, and his death in an airplane crash in March 1957 dealt a serious blow to national morale. Administration of Carlos P. Garcia (1957–1961) Carlos P. Garcia, president of the Philippines from 1957 until 1961. Carlos P. Garcia succeeded to the presidency after Magsaysay's death, and was elected to a four-year term in the election of November that same year. His administration emphasized the nationalist theme of "Filipino first", arguing that the Filipino people should be given the chances to improve the country's economy. Garcia successfully negotiated for the United States' relinquishment of large military land reservations. However, his administration lost popularity on issues of government corruption as his term advanced. Administration of Diosdado Macapagal (1961–1965) Diosdado Macapagal, president of the Philippines from 1961 until 1965. In the presidential elections held on November 14, 1961, Vice President Diosdado Macapagal defeated re-electionist President Carlos P. Garcia and Emmanuel Pelaez as a Vice President. President Macapagal was the President of the Philippines that changed the independence day of the Philippines from July 4 to June 12. Land Reform Code Main article: Agricultural Land Reform Code See also: Land reform in the Philippines The Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) was a major Philippine land reform law enacted in 1963 under President Diosdado Macapagal. The code declared that it was State policy To establish owner-cultivatorship and the economic family-size farm as the basis of Philippine agriculture and, as a consequence, divert landlord capital in agriculture to industrial development; To achieve a dignified existence for the small farmers free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices; To create a truly viable social and economic structure in agriculture conducive to greater productivity and higher farm incomes; To apply all labor laws equally and without discrimination to both industrial and agricultural wage earners; To provide a more vigorous and systematic land resettlement program and public land distribution; and To make the small farmers more independent, self-reliant and responsible citizens, and a source of genuine strength in our democratic society. and, in pursuance of those policies, established the following An agricultural leasehold system to replace all existing share tenancy systems in agriculture; A declaration of rights for agricultural labor; An authority for the acquisition and equitable distribution of agricultural land; An institution to finance the acquisition and distribution of agricultural land; A machinery to extend credit and similar assistance to agriculture; A machinery to provide marketing, management, and other technical services to agriculture; A unified administration for formulating and implementing projects of land reform; An expanded program of land capability survey, classification, and registration; and A judicial system to decide issues arising under this Code and other related laws and regulations. Maphilindo Main article: Maphilindo Maphilindo was a proposed nonpolitical confederation of Malaya, the Philippines, and Indonesia. It was based on concepts developed during the Commonwealth government in the Philippines by Wenceslao Vinzons and by Eduardo L. Martelino in his 1959 book Someday, Malaysia". In July 1963, President Diosdado Macapagal of the Philippines convened a summit meeting in Manila. Maphilindo was proposed as a realization of José Rizal's dream of bringing together the Malay peoples. However, this was perceived as a tactic on the parts of Jakarta and Manila to delay or prevent the formation of the Federation of Malaysia. The plan failed when Indonesian President Sukarno adopted his plan of Konfrontasi with Malaysia. Macapagal ran for re-election in 1965, but was defeated by his former party-mate, Senate President Ferdinand Marcos, who had switched to the Nacionalista Party. Early in his presidency, Marcos initiated ambitious public works projects and intensified tax collection which brought the country economic prosperity throughout the 1970s. His administration built more roads (including a substantial portion of the Pan-Philippine Highway) than all his predecessors combined, and more schools than any previous administration. Marcos was re-elected president in 1969, becoming the first president of the Philippines to achieve a second term. Opponents of Marcos, however, blocked the necessary legislation to further implement his expansive agenda. Because of this, optimism faded early in his second term and economic growth slowed. Crime and civil disobedience increased. The Communist Party of the Philippines formed the New People's Army in response to his shaky hold over the nation and the Moro National Liberation Front continued to fight for an independent Muslim nation in Mindanao. An explosion during the proclamation rally of the senatorial slate of the Liberal Party on August 21, 1971 prompted Marcos to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which he restored on January 11, 1972 after public protests. Martial law Amidst the rising wave of lawlessness and the conveniently timed threat of a looming Communist insurgency, Marcos declared martial law on September 21, 1972 by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081. The Nacionalista president, ruling by decree, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties, abolished Congress, closed down major media establishments, ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including his staunchest critics: senators Benigno Aquino, Jr., Jovito Salonga and Jose Diokno. The declaration of martial law was initially well received, given the social turmoil the Philippines was experiencing. Crime rates plunged dramatically after a curfew was implemented. Many political opponents were forced to go into exile. A constitutional convention, which had been called for in 1970 to replace the colonial 1935 Constitution, continued the work of framing a new constitution after the declaration of martial law. The new constitution went into effect in early 1973, changing the form of government from presidential to parliamentary and allowing Marcos to stay in power beyond 1973. Marcos claimed that martial law was the prelude to creating a "New Society" based on new social and political values. The economy during the 1970s was robust, with budgetary and trade surpluses. The Gross National Product rose from P55 billion in 1972 to P193 billion in 1980. Tourism rose, contributing to the economy's growth. However, Marcos, his cronies, and his wife, Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, willfully engaged in rampant corruption. Fourth Republic Marcos officially lifted martial law on January 17, 1981. However, he retained much of the government's power for arrest and detention. Corruption and nepotism as well as civil unrest contributed to a serious decline in economic growth and development under Marcos, whose own health faced obstacles due to lupus. The political opposition decided to boycotted the 1981 presidential elections, which pitted Marcos against retired general Alejo Santos, in protest over his control over the results. Marcos won by a margin of over 16 million votes, which constitutionally allowed him to have another six-year term. Finance Minister Cesar Virata was evetually appointed to succeed Marcos as Prime Minister. In 1983, opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport upon his return to the Philippines after a long period of exile. This coalesced popular dissatisfaction with Marcos and began a succession of events, including pressure from the United States, that culminated in a snap presidential election in February 1986. The opposition united under Aquino's widow, Corazon Aquino. The official election canvasser, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), declared Marcos the winner of the election. However, there was a large discrepancy between the Comelec results and that of Namfrel, an accredited poll watcher. The allegedly fraudulent result was rejected by Corazon Aquino and her supporters. International observers, including a U.S. delegation, denounced the official results. General Fidel Ramos and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile withdrew their support for Marcos. A peaceful civilian-military uprising, now popularly called the People Power Revolution, forced Marcos into exile and installed Corazon Aquino as president on February 25, 1986. Administration of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino (1986–1992) Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991. Corazon Aquino immediately formed a revolutionary government to normalize the situation, and provided for a transitional "Freedom Constitution". A new permanent constitution was ratified and enacted in February 1987. The constitution crippled presidential power to declare martial law, proposed the creation of autonomous regions in the Cordilleras and Muslim Mindanao, and restored the presidential form of government and the bicameral Congress. Progress was made in revitalizing democratic institutions and respect for civil liberties, but Aquino's administration was also viewed as weak and fractious, and a return to full political stability and economic development was hampered by several attempted coups staged by disaffected members of the Philippine military. Economic growth was additionally hampered by a series of natural disasters, including the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo that left 700 dead and 200,000 homeless. During the Aquino presidency, Manila witnessed six unsuccessful coup attempts, the most serious occurring in December 1989. In 1991, the Philippine Senate rejected a treaty that would have allowed a 10-year extension of the U.S. military bases in the country. The United States turned over Clark Air Base in Pampanga to the government in November, and Subic Bay Naval Base in Zambales in December 1992, ending almost a century of U.S. military presence in the Philippines. Administration of Fidel Valdez Ramos (1992–1998) In the 1992 elections, Defense Secretary Fidel V. Ramos (a.k.a. Eddie), endorsed by Aquino, won the presidency with just 23.6% of the vote in a field of seven candidates. Early in his administration, Ramos declared "national reconciliation" his highest priority and worked at building a coalition to overcome the divisiveness of the Aquino years. He legalized the Communist Party and laid the groundwork for talks with communist insurgents, Muslim separatists, and military rebels, attempting to convince them to cease their armed activities against the government. In June 1994, Ramos signed into law a general conditional amnesty covering all rebel groups, and Philippine military and police personnel accused of crimes committed while fighting the insurgents. In October 1995, the government signed an agreement bringing the military insurgency to an end. A peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a major separatist group fighting for an independent homeland in Mindanao, was signed in 1996, ending the 24-year old struggle. However, an MNLF splinter group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front continued the armed struggle for an Islamic state. Efforts by Ramos supporters to gain passage of an amendment that would allow him to run for a second term were met with large-scale protests, leading Ramos to declare he would not seek re-election. On his Presidency the death penalty was revived in the light of the Rape-slay case of Eileen Sarmienta and Allan Gomez in 1993 and the first person to be executed was Leo Echegaray in 1999. Administration of Joseph Ejercito Estrada (1998–2001) Joseph Estrada, a former movie actor who had served as Ramos' vice president, was elected president by a landslide victory in 1998. His election campaign pledged to help the poor and develop the country's agricultural sector. He enjoyed widespread popularity, particularly among the poor. Estrada assumed office amid the Asian Financial Crisis. The economy did, however, recover from a low −0.6% growth in 1998 to a moderate growth of 3.4% by 1999. Like his predecessor there was a similar attempt to change the 1987 constitution. The process is termed as CONCORD or Constitutional Correction for Development. Unlike Charter change under Ramos and Arroyo the CONCORD proposal, according to its proponents, would only amend the 'restrictive' economic provisions of the constitution that is considered as impeding the entry of more foreign investments in the Philippines. However it was not successful in amending the constitution. On March 21, 2000 President Estrada declared an "all-out-war" against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) after the worsening secessionist movement in Midanao The government later captured 46 MILF camps including the MILF's headquarters', Camp Abubakar. In October 2000, however, Estrada was accused of having accepted millions of pesos in payoffs from illegal gambling businesses. He was impeached by the House of Representatives, but his impeachment trial in the Senate broke down when the senate voted to block examination of the president's bank records. In response, massive street protests erupted demanding Estrada's resignation. Faced with street protests, cabinet resignations, and a withdrawal of support from the armed forces, Estrada was forced from office on January 20, 2001. Administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2001–2010) Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (the daughter of President Diosdado Macapagal) was sworn in as Estrada's successor on the day of his departure. Her accession to power was further legitimized by the mid-term congressional and local elections held four months later, when her coalition won an overwhelming victory. Arroyo's initial term in office was marked by fractious coalition politics as well as a military mutiny in Manila in July 2003 that led her to declare a month-long nationwide state of rebellion. Later on in December 2002 she said would not run in the July 30, 1996 presidential election, but she reversed herself in October 2003 and decided to join the race anyways. She was re-elected and sworn in for her own six-year term as president on June 30, 2004. In 2005, a tape of a wiretapped conversation surfaced bearing the voice of Arroyo apparently asking an election official if her margin of victory could be maintained. The tape sparked protests calling for Arroyo's resignation. Arroyo admitted to inappropriately speaking to an election official, but denied allegations of fraud and refused to step down. Attempts to impeach the president failed later that year. Halfway through her second term, Arroyo unsuccessfully attempted TP PUSH for an overhaul of the constitution to transform the present presidential-bicameral republic into a federal parliamentary-unicameral form of government, which critics describe would be a move that would allow her to stay in power as Prime Minister. Numerous other scandals (such as the Maguindanao massacre, wherein 58 people were killed, and the unsuccessful NBN-ZTE Broadband Deal) took place in the dawn of her administration. She formally ended her term as president in 2010 (wherein she was succeeded by Senator Benigno Aquino III) and ran for a seat in congress the same year (becoming the second president after Jose P. Laurel to run for lower office following the presidency). Administration of Benigno Simeon Aquino III Main article: Presidency of Benigno Aquino III Benigno Aquino III began his presidency on June 30, 2010, the fifteenth President of the Philippines. He is a bachelor and the son of former Philippines president Corazon C. Aquino. His administration claimed to be focused on major reforms that would bring greater transparency, reduced poverty, reduced corruption, and a booming market which will give birth to a newly industrialized nation. However, just as with his predecessor, Aquino's administration has been marked with a mix of success and scandal since his inauguration, beginning with the 2010 Manila hostage crisis that caused deeply strained relations between Manila and Hong Kong for a time (affecting major events such as Wikimania 2013). The Sultanate of Panay, founded in 2011, was recognized by the Lanao Advisory Council in 2012. Tensions regarding Sabah due to the Sultanate of Sulu's claim gradually rose during the early years of his administration. Standoffs in Sabah between The Sultanate of Sulu's Royal Army and the Malaysian forces struck in 2013. In 2012 the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro was signed to create the Bangsamoro Government in Mindanao. In response, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was assembled by religious extremists with the goal of seceding from the Philippines. In 2013, the Zamboanga City was attacked by a faction of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under Prof. Nur Misuari, and in the same year, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the country, leading to massive rehabilitation efforts by foreign world powers sending aid, inevitably devolving into chaos following the revelations that the administration and that the government had not been properly handing out the aid packages and preference for political maneuvering over the safety of the people, leading to mass deterioration of food and medical supplies. In 2014, the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was finally signed after 17 years of negotiation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a move that is expected to bring peace in Mindanao and the Sulu. On April 28, 2014, when United States President Barack Obama visited the Philippines, the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), between the United States of America and the Philippines, was signed. From January 15 to 19, 2015, Pope Francis stayed in the Philippines for a series of publicity tours and paid visits to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). On January 25, 2015, 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) were killed during an encounter between MILF and BIFF in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Under his presidency, the Philippines has had controversial clashes with the People's Republic of China on a number of issues (such as the standoff in Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and the dispute over the Spratly islands). This resulted in the proceedings of the Philippines to file a sovereignty case against China in an global arbitration tribunal. Later on in 2014, the Aquino Administration then filed a memorial to the Arbitration Tribunal in The Hague which challenged Beijing's claim in the South China Sea after Chinese ships were accused of harassing a small Philippine vessel carrying goods for stationed military personnel in the South Thomas Shoal where an old Philippine ship had been stationed for many years. Under his presidency, for aiming to enhance the educational system in the country, Aquino III signed the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, commonly known as K–12 program on May 15, 2013. In 2013, Aquino ruled out the possibility of getting his allies to change the constitution so that he could run for the presidency a second time, leading some to believe he would eventually endorse DILG Secretary Mar Roxas as the Liberal Party nominee in spite of damaged approval ratings.
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