Philippines alert ahead of holiday

By Sarah Toms 
BBC News, Manila

The Philippine military has gone on high alert ahead of the country's Independence Day celebrations at the weekend. 

There are intelligence reports of anti-government demonstrations over the national holiday. 

The heightened security comes as the government warns of a plot against the President, Gloria Arroyo. 

After two popular revolts and at least a dozen coup attempts in 20 years, the military is taking no chances. 

The ratings of President Arroyo are at record lows amid accusations that members of her family have taken pay-offs from illegal gambling syndicates. The accused all deny any involvement. 

The opposition has also renewed its claims that President Arroyo cheated her closest rival of victory in last year's election. 

Public anger has been mounting about rising prices and persistent corruption. The political turbulence has sent the peso plunging against the dollar, and Manila's stock index has lost about 7% since Monday. 

In a radio interview, President Arroyo appealed to Filipinos to be patient as she made painful but necessary economic reforms. 

She said: "I am saddened that while I am doing my job there are people who want to bring me down or undermine my capability to govern the country." 

Analysts see little chance of an imminent coup attempt, but say the corruption allegations could prove to be a major distraction for the government.

06/09/2005

Bron : BBC News

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