Philippine politics in 2002 was characterized by early maneuvering for the presidential election of 2004, which President Arroyo will be eligible to contest, and by continuing violence in the country's troubled South. Economic indicators looked promising in the first half of the year. But the second half brought signs of a downturn on several fronts. Crippling revenue shortfalls contributed to a mounting fiscal deficit. As part of Washington's international war on terror, Manila welcomed American troops to the southern Philippines early in 2002. Renewed Philippine-American military ties seemed to reflect long-term U.S. priorities in the region. Three issues shaped Philippine affairs in 2002: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's eligibility to contest the 2004 election, ever-greater government revenue shortfalls, and American determination to use the country as a venue for strategic posturing in Southeast Asia. The persistent problems of the Philippine South and continued economic sluggishness framed the ways in which these issues played out over the course of the year.
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Errata: In the September/October 2016 issue (volume 56 number 5, pages 836 and 849), there was a technical printing error in Figures 1b and 2 of the article by Ajay Raina that resulted in a loss of data on the graphs. This online article contains the restored figures in their original, correct state. The error is regretted.