The Philippines’ Marawi: Next Islamic State Nucleus

The Philippines’ Marawi: Next Islamic State NucleusForeign nationals from Yemen, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia have been killed in the month-long struggle for the Mindanao island city of Marawi, an unsettling signal that IS, thwarted by overwhelming military pressure in the Middle East, is seeking to establish a new base in Mindanao. That came home in terrifying fashion for 11-year-old Jasper Samiahan,11,…

Luster Starts to Wear off Philippines’ Duterte

Luster Starts to Wear off Philippines’ DuterteThe declaration of martial law on May 23 by Filipino President Rodrigo R. Duterte, while only for 60 days and on the southernmost island of Mindanao, has begun to crystalize growing doubts about Duterte’s commitment to democracy and started to remind his constituents of unsettling resemblances to Ferdinand Marcos, who pretty much wrecked the country…

Duterte’s Martial Law Edict Surprises Philippine Army

Duterte’s Martial Law Edict Surprises Philippine ArmyWhat made President Rodrigo Duterte’s first salvo of martial law in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao unusual was that it caught the military by surprise.  Time and again since he was elected a year ago, Duterte has spewed the dreaded words “martial law” as casually as he would chew gum. As the country’s commander-in-chief,…

The Harm Before The South China Sea Storm

The Harm Before The South China Sea StormJames Borton is the editor of the recently-published Islands and Rocks in the South China Sea: Post-Hague Ruling., published in April by Xlibris. He supplied this portion of the preface to the book to Asia Sentinel. Ocean governance remains a critical issue in the contested South China Sea attributed to the continued territorial disputes, fishing…

Philippines’ Duterte Raises Concerns with Martial Law Edict

Philippines’ Duterte Raises Concerns with Martial Law EdictIn a move that to critics called up the bad old days of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, Philippine President Rodrigo has placed the southern island of Mindanao under martial law, which allows the president to call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. Duterte made the decision on…

An Irrelevant ASEAN Limps to a Filipino Gala

An Irrelevant ASEAN Limps to a Filipino GalaAnybody wondering what useful came out of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations leaders’ summit in Manila over the weekend may read this brief communique. The answer is clear: very little besides what appears to have been quite a party. We, the Heads of State/Government of ASEAN Member States, gathered for the 30th ASEAN Summit…

Impeachment Mania in Manila

Impeachment Mania in ManilaFor the first time, the Philippines’ two highest officials face the threat of impeachment in the House of Representatives. President Rodrigo Duterte faces an impeachment complaint filed on March 16 by a bemedaled former putschist-turned-congressman, Gary Lejano, while Vice-President Leni Robredo faces one filed on March 20 by a perennial candidate, Marcos loyalist and political…

Philippines’ Duterte Buckles to China

Philippines’ Duterte Buckles to ChinaA submerged extinct volcanic ridge at least 3,000 meters underwater that is 350 km. east of the Philippines’ coast appears likely to be the next flashpoint between Manila and Beijing, at least partly because the Duterte administration is at sea over strategy. On March 9, Delfin Lorenzana, the Philippines Defense Secretary, told reporters that satellite…

No Conclusive End to Filipino Demonstrations

No Conclusive End to Filipino DemonstrationsAround this time of the year, a date that coincides with a massive revolt that ended the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, Filipinos tend to try to take stock of their country. On Sunday Feb. 25, there were demonstrations on either side of the capital Manila – one that wanted to hold steadfast to the gains…

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel Case

Philippines’ de Lima Arrest may Signal Wreckage of Pork Barrel CaseThere is rising concern in Manila that President Rodrigo Duterte is about to wreck the prosecution of one of the biggest scandals in the history of the Philippines, a country replete with huge scandals. On Feb. 15, the country’s solicitor general, Jose Calida, in effect nullified a guilty verdict by a local court in a…