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…

The Challenge of Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines

The Challenge of Abu Sayyaf in the PhilippinesThe Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), which has for over two decades terrorized a wide section of the island of Mindanao and beyond from its island bases in Sulu and Basilan, has once again been in the news.  Despite the claims of the government that it has only 300-400 men, nonstop military operations against the group…

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…

Philippines Seeks to Reverse Duterte’s Foreign Policy Botch

Philippines Seeks to Reverse Duterte’s Foreign Policy BotchPhilippine Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is attempting to undo an international gaffe by President Rodrigo Duterte, moving to establish a research facility on Benham Rise, a 13 million-hectare underwater plateau 250 km. east of the island of Luzon. The United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf declared the area part of Philippine…

Imperialist Beauty Standards Rule in the Philippines

Imperialist Beauty Standards Rule in the PhilippinesOnce again Western standards of beauty are on display in Asia, with beauty contest officials inevitably picking a mestiza to be Miss Universe Philippines 2017. Rachel Peters' father is British, her mother a Filipina.  Last year's Miss Universe was Pia Wurtzbach, who had a German father. A former Miss Cebu, Raine Baljac, had a Croat…

Philippines Needs Commitment for Renewable Energy

Philippines Needs Commitment for Renewable EnergyThe Philippines took a major step towards a climate-resilient future after it ratified the Paris agreement last March. The country must fulfill its commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 70 percent relative to projected business-as-usual levels by 2030, as stated in its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Achieving this target would contribute to accomplishing…

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…