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.” …

Philippine President Duterte Sows Chaos Internationally

Philippine President Duterte Sows Chaos InternationallyWhat kind of drugs – or to be polite, medicines – is President Duterte taking? This is a serious question. It is hard to remember any Asian leader in the past half century whose behavior has been so erratic, whose pronouncements so damaging to the position and image of his country. Meanwhile his actions appear…

Can a Hero’s Burial for Marcos be Legally Stopped?

Can a Hero’s Burial for Marcos be Legally Stopped?The Philippine Supreme Court tackles this week three petitions which aim to stop the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in a cemetery for heroes. The petitions, filed by victims of martial law, argue that giving the deposed strongman a hero’s burial is a dishonor to those who suffered under his 20-year regime. The…

Philippines’ President Duterte Earns his Cowboy Spurs

Philippines’ President Duterte Earns his Cowboy SpursJust six weeks into the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, the world is discovering with a good deal of horror that the Philippines is getting what he promised: hundreds of deaths of people who may or not be connected to the drug world, at the hands of death squads who are killing, often with little evidence.…

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.…

The Duterte in the Eye of the Beholder

The Duterte in the Eye of the BeholderThe true sign of a successful demagogue is when leaders from various points of the political and social compass believe that he represents them. Thus with President Duterte – so far, at least.  Of course it is early days and many of the above may find that after a few months in office he was…

China May Try Cash to Buy Off Philippines

China May Try Cash to Buy Off PhilippinesThe Philippines may have handsomely won its case over the South China Sea at the Court of Arbitration, but the battle between the power of Chinese money and the Philippines' national interests has a long way to run. Politicians everywhere are susceptible to the prospect of short-term gains for themselves or their voters, and no…

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…