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…

A Robbery Tells the Story of Philippine Legal Ineffectiveness

A Robbery Tells the Story of Philippine Legal IneffectivenessIn mid-November of last year, a small-time gangster got drunk in the Cavite Province city of Silang, a city of 250,000 about 45 km south of Manila, and shot up a motel, which got him arrested.  Shortly after, he was visited by another member of the gang, who was overheard assuring him not to worry.…

China Slapped Down on South China Sea for Environmental Issues

China Slapped Down on South China Sea for Environmental IssuesOn July 12, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea upheld the Philippine government’s challenge to China’s sweeping claim that it had “since time immemorial” ruled the seas between Hainan and Singapore. But almost overlooked in media reportage of the tribunal’s rulings were important clarifications of provisions of the United Nations Convention on…

Thailand Expats Rattled by New Visa Form

Thailand Expats Rattled by New Visa FormMany members of Thailand’s vast expatriate community are up in arms over a three-page Immigration Bureau form introduced recently, asking for a wide range of personal information and raising fears that critics or people the military doesn’t like may be targeted. The information the government is asking for includes bank details, all social media used…

The Group Behind Canadian Execution by Philippine Militants

The Group Behind Canadian Execution by Philippine MilitantsThe discovery Monday, April 25, of the beheading of a Canadian tourist held hostage by Islamist militants in the Philippines outraged foreign leaders and locals alike as the outside world again was touched by the country's seemingly endless cycle of violence in remote parts of Mindanao. John Ridsdel, held hostage with three others since September,…

Mix of Challenges for Philippine Birth Control Law

Mix of Challenges for Philippine Birth Control LawPastor Edgardo Abraham asked the audience before him to raise their closed fists. “Look at your fists,” he boomed. “That’s how big a woman’s uterus is. But when they start to carry a child, that uterus or womb expands. That’s how amazing God is.” Abraham is part of a slowly expanding army of government workers,…

Opinion: Climate Change and Violence

Opinion: Climate Change and ViolenceOn April 1, the Philippines was shocked by violence in Kidapawan City, the capital of Cotabato Province, where police opened fire on farmers protesting and asking for rice, killing three and injuring 116. Eighty-seven were listed as missing in the incident, which erupted over frustrated farmers experiencing an intense drought brought on by the El…

Filipino Catholic Church Continues to Fight Family Planning

Filipino Catholic Church Continues to Fight Family PlanningThree years since its historic passage, the Philippines’ landmark reproductive health act – which provides for family planning and sexual education, among other features – continues to face a series of continuing obstacles put in place by allies of the Catholic Church.  Monkey wrench after monkey wrench has been thrown into the Department of Health’s…

Miss Universe: Western Mom or Dad Needed

Miss Universe: Western Mom or Dad NeededThe 2015 Miss Universe contest in Hollywood hit the headlines because of the bizarre manner in which the host, because of an apparent mix-up in the cue cards, gave the crown to the runner-up, Miss Colombia, before realizing that the winner was Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurzbach. However, Asian viewers cheering yet another victory for…