Philippines

Facebook finally blocks Duterte’s army of trolls

MANILA – Similar to right-wing populists around the world, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been among the greatest beneficiaries of social media platforms, where his propagandists command huge followings at the expense of broadly liberal mainstream media. But now the Filipino strongman is turning on…

Duterte tightens grip as the Philippines falls apart

MANILA – Facing an acute economic crisis, a persistent Covid-19 outbreak and declining popularity, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has fittingly extended a state of national calamity for another year. While the move will allow the government to adopt emergency measures to stabilize food and basic…

Philippines’ Duterte Challenges China at U.N.: South China Sea Invasion Is Illegal

Speaking in a virtual speech at the 75th annual U.N. general assembly on Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that his country “firmly rejects” Beijing’s recent “attempts to undermine” international law by illegally encroaching upon other nations’ sovereign territory in the South China Sea. 0…

Don’t Make the Election About the Court

I know that Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s empty Supreme Court seat has provoked an epic, long-awaited clash between Democrats and Republicans, that the very principle of judicial independence hangs dangerously in the balance. I realize that the social-media wave cannot be stopped, that the talking heads…

There’s no such thing as a Southeast Asian ‘strongman’

A few years ago, the professor of risk management Nassim Nicholas Taleb pondered the question of what’s the opposite of “fragile.” For many readers this may seem an easy answer – perhaps “strong” or “stable,” maybe “resilient.” Interestingly enough, Taleb opted for what was staring…

No new normal for Asia’s virally unwanted migrants

The pandemic-induced economic crisis has hit Southeast Asia especially hard, with most regional economies expected to record negative growth and record recessions in 2020. But while analysts weigh which industries will be harder than others, often overlooked is the impact on the region’s migrants, the…

Gold surge stokes tribal tension in Philippines

TAMPAKAN – As gold shines through the coronavirus pandemic, touching new highs as a precious metal hedge to the dollar, the stakes for Southeast Asia’s largest undeveloped copper and gold minefield have never been higher. Nestled 1,300 meters above sea level, huge gold and copper…

Where the Pandemic Is Cover for Authoritarianism

This month, two young men stood outside a high-end Hong Kong shopping mall, clutching bouquets of white flowers as they held a memorial for a protester who had died nearby last year. The event, like any marking the milestones or memories of the prodemocracy movement,…

Minister accuses China of fabricating sea claims

China’s “nine-dash line” used to claim most of the South China Sea is a fabrication, the Philippine defense minister said, as he accused Beijing of illegally occupying Filipino maritime territory.  The remarks late Sunday come amid a fresh row between Manila and Beijing over the…

Beauty creams stoke anti-China screams in Philippines

MANILA – A seemingly comical but perceived by many as a deeply offensive incident has sparked a new wave of anti-China sentiment in the Philippines, highlighting again rising public resentment against President Rodrigo Duterte’s Beijing-friendly policies. In recent days, the hashtag “province of China” has…

Philippines, China in fresh row over disputed shoal

The Philippines accused China’s coast guard Friday of illegally seizing fishing equipment near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, sparking a fresh spat with Beijing. Scarborough Shoal, one of several reefs controlled by China, is one of the region’s richest fishing grounds and…

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