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…

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…

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…

Book Review: A Swiss Myth’s Pinoy incarnation

Book Review: A Swiss Myth’s Pinoy incarnationIt is an unfamiliar bond, but the largely hidden one between the Philippines and Switzerland is being celebrated anew. The Philippine national hero paid a compliment to the, albeit mythical, Swiss one. Now the compliment has been returned with a prize-winning novel by a Swiss about the Philippine hero. Jose Rizal is primarily remembered as…

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…