Reining in the Philippine Mining Industry

Reining in the Philippine Mining IndustryJustina Yu, the mayor of an obscure town in Davao Oriental Province, has had a passion for the environment since she moved to a rural town in Mindanao on her wedding day five decades ago. In her new home she had a view of a mountain that she felt was calling her, watching it shrouded…

Death in the Philippines

Death in the PhilippinesIt was still dark when, at 5:30 in the morning of February 5, 1999, Prisoner N94P-2347 was taken out of his cell. Four escort guards pushed a handcuffed Leo Echegaray through a scrum of photographers to get him out of the building. Light bulbs flashing, their lenses aimed at the lone tangerine shirt that marked…

Duterte’s Drug War and Abuse of Power

Duterte’s Drug War and Abuse of PowerTrue to his style, President Rodrigo Duterte held a late-night press conference on Jan. 30 at the presidential palace, wearing a denim jacket and flanked by his men, among whom was his chief of police Roland de la Rosa, who subsequently announced the infamous drug war will be put on hold after “internal cleansing” in…

Unprepared Philippines Faces AIDS Scourge

Unprepared Philippines Faces AIDS ScourgeBilly Santo recently spent two sleepless nights looking after a friend who had just found out that he’s reactive to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). HIV antibodies have been found in the friend’s blood and he must take another set of tests to confirm if he is HIV positive. Santo is HIV-positive himself. A peer…

The Dangerous Philosophy Behind Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’

The Dangerous Philosophy Behind Duterte’s ‘War on Drugs’Six months after the election of Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte as President of the Philippines, the country remains divided as to whether this represents a new era in Philippine politics or the country's tragic downfall. Regardless of where one stands on the political spectrum, the tragic loss of life caused by his "war on drugs" cannot…

Journalist Deaths Down Globally

Journalist Deaths Down GloballyOn Dec. 19, Larry Que, the publisher of Catanduanes News Now, became the fourth journalist to die in the Philippines in 2016 when he was shot in the head by a lone gunman as he was about to enter the building that houses his office. While any journalist’s murder is ominous, Que’s murder is doubly so…

As ASEAN Turns 50, Rights Lag

As ASEAN Turns 50, Rights LagAs the international backlash continues over Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, the lack of due process and the consequent deaths of “suspects” in his campaign, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with its individual member states, has been characteristically silent. For instance, ASEAN’s leaders and ministers met at their summit in…

The disgrace of Filipino Cleanup Efforts Post-Haiyan

The disgrace of Filipino Cleanup Efforts Post-HaiyanWhen Typhoon Haiyan smashed into Tacloban in the central Philippines almost three years ago, Arsenio was one of the lucky ones – he survived by swimming a kilometer to safety. “Every time there is a storm, I get scared, even after three years,” he said. “I don’t want to go through the same thing again.” …

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug Problems

A Sensible Answer to Southeast Asia’s Drug ProblemsIn February of 2003, then-Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra launched a bloody “war on drugs” that lasted for three months and resulted in police killings of 2,800 suspects, only half of whom were later found to have anything to do with drugs. The rest may simply have been in the wrong place at the wrong…

Contradictions in Philippine President Duterte’s War on Drugs

Contradictions in Philippine President Duterte’s War on Drugs“It’s not a lie, Drugs will make your Mama cry” was painted on a board by the gate of a primary school in a fishing village tucked away in the Visayan islands. It was a fading sign left over from an anti-drug campaign a couple of years ago, which apparently didn’t work.  The menace had…
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