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Category archive for: Asia

New Administration, New Future: Reducing Disaster and Risk in the Philippines

Written by Maria Ela L. Atienza

When Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte officially assumed office last week, disaster preparedness was the one of the issues he addressed during the first official Cabinet meeting of his administration. The President talked about his experience when he brought a rescue team from Davao to Tacloban in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Based on this experience, the President cited the need to pre-position equipment in disaster-prone areas to enable the government to provide aid to affected residents.

This development is a promising sign that the new administration will look closely into improving disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) in a country that is prone to natural and human-made disasters. The new government will definitely consult experts and practitioners in the field of DRRM to improve the existing framework and to prevent high loss of lives and property and minimize vulnerabilities of people and communities in future calamities. These experts and practitioners will probably advise the administration to focus not just on relief and rehabilitation but more importantly, on disaster risk reduction. However, the Duterte administration could also spend some time listening to what young people think about DRRM and other issues facing the country. After all, the Philippines has a large young population. The overall youth literacy rate is about 97% and the country’s median age is 24.4 years.      Continue reading New Administration, New Future: Reducing Disaster and Risk in the Philippines

Enforcing the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty

Written by Roland G. Simbulan

All ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) signed the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEA-NWFZT) on 15 December1995 in Bangkok. The ‘Bangkok Treaty’, as it became known, entered into force on 28 March 1997.

The NWFZT is considered a model for regional de-nuclearization.  The treaty covers not just state territory but also Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) and Continental Shelves. It prohibits the dumping or discharge of radioactive material or nuclear waste. This is why, predictably, even today, all five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS), Russia, the US, China, the UK and France, refuse to sign its Protocols. But are the states of Southeast Asia, genuinely Nuclear Weapons-Free today? Continue reading Enforcing the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty

Survey Fatigue and the Search for ‘Good’ Data: post-disaster strategies

Written by Claire L. Berja.

Leyte in the Eastern Visayas of the Philippines was one of the areas hardest hit by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Tacloban, the city that became the ‘poster town’ of the disaster, is located in Leyte facing the Pacific Ocean at the head of the Leyte Gulf. Leyte is one of the poorest provinces in the Philippines. There is a high incidence of poverty and many people also move in and out of poverty (transient poverty) due to a high degree of vulnerability to shocks.

Typhoon Yolanda left many people devastated. It did not discriminate by class. In the aftermath of disasters the wealthy tend to be able to rehabilitate themselves more quickly, as they may have savings or extended family support to fall back on. However in the immediate aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda the devastation was total in many areas. In the longer term the disaster increased poverty overall. Continue reading Survey Fatigue and the Search for ‘Good’ Data: post-disaster strategies

Philippine Election Blog 2016 – The End

Written by Francis Domingo and Pauline Eadie.

In late 2015 we started musing over the idea of running a series of articles about the Philippine Elections in 2016 for Ballots and Bullets, a blog run by the School of Politics and International Relations at The University of Nottingham. We knew that the official campaign would be three months long and that this task would be a big commitment. After canvassing a number of friends and colleagues on whether they would write for us we decided to go ahead. When the election campaign started on 9 February so did our blog.

Continue reading Philippine Election Blog 2016 – The End

Philippines 2016: How ‘Dutertismo’ can make a difference

Written by Roland G. Simbulan.

The clear mandate given by the Filipino electorate for Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte as the next president of the Philippines in the 2016 elections is a clear signal that the nation urgently seeks meaningful social change. The Commission on Elections estimates that 84% of voters participated in the 2016 elections, making it the largest turnout in Philippine electoral history. It was an election that gave a landslide victory to a provincial mayor from Davao, a city that was once the bloody battleground between New People’s Army guerrillas and government security forces. The military and police forces then also organized the Alsa Masa, a dreaded paramilitary group that assassinated even sympathizers of the armed and unarmed Left. It is to the credit of Duterte that Davao is now considered one of the safest places in the country to live in. The mayor from Davao is also known to be on speaking terms with the outlawed New People’s Army (NPA) who have occasionally turned over policemen and soldiers to him who had been captured as prisoners of war (POW). He is also known to be a supporter of indigenous peoples’ rights, Moro people’s rights, in general for the poor and underserved in Mindanao, though in a controversial speech during the campaign he threatened labour unions with annihilation should they disturb industrial peace under his administration. Continue reading Philippines 2016: How ‘Dutertismo’ can make a difference

Top 5 Things to Expect of a Duterte Presidency

Written by Vladimir Guevarra.

Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency is upon us. The stance of the tough-talking mayor of Davao city on crime and corruption is pretty clear, but his policies on the economy are less so. Here’s the outlook for the Philippines under Duterte over the next six years:

#1 On Society – Expect more discipline

Right after Duterte’s mammoth miting de avance at the Quirino Grandstand, social media was gushing over how hundreds of thousands of supporters picked up their trash and left the park clean and orderly – something nearly unheard of in the Philippines. You can call it the “Davao effect”– in which people became more conscious about their conduct in public. Already, Duterte is proposing restrictions on the sale of liquor as well as a curfew past 10p.m. for minors. Continue reading Top 5 Things to Expect of a Duterte Presidency

How the Philippines’ new strongman romped into office despite a shocking campaign

Written by Pauline Eadie.

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City in Mindanao is now president elect of the Philippines. His path to the presidency was controversial, riddled with expletives and reduced his detractors to mud slinging and comparisons with Hitler. But the mud failed to stick: with almost all precincts reporting, he looked to have won the race to the presidency with more than 15m votes and nearly 40% of the vote. His nearest rivals have conceded defeat. Continue reading How the Philippines’ new strongman romped into office despite a shocking campaign

The Coming Uncertainty: Philippine Elections

Written by Richard J. Heydarian.

In coming days, the Philippines is set to elect a new roster of leaders. This is, arguably, the Southeast Asian country’s most important presidential election in recent memory, with potentially far-reaching implications in both domestic and foreign policy realms.

In what has turned out as one of the most unpredictable elections in recent memory, the Philippines’ presidential race has finally produced a clear frontrunner. Rodrigo Duterte, Davao’s firebrand mayor, who has a penchant for pugnacious rhetoric and often-controversial remarks, is now clearly the man to beat. Continue reading The Coming Uncertainty: Philippine Elections

Electioneering in the Promised Land: Payatas Dumpsite 2016

Written by Carmilita Morante.

I am a community organizer in Lupang Pangako (literal translation ‘Land of Promise’) a scavenging community in Barangay Payatas, Quezon City (part of Metro Manila), host to the biggest open dumpsite in the Philippines.  For five years now I have worked in the community and been exposed to the struggle against its continued operations despite the law that prohibits its existence. I have long wanted to write my one-cent worth of opinion about how this issue is playing in the current electoral campaign. But it’s a tough assignment to fulfill amidst the plethora of political posters and deafening mobile propaganda teams proclaiming the credentials of politicos. Lupang Pangako brings the frenzy to another level as 9 May approaches. Continue reading Electioneering in the Promised Land: Payatas Dumpsite 2016

The Federal Alternative: Will Rodrigo Duterte clinch the presidency? Part II

Written by Erwin S. Fernandez.

How can one explain the Duterte phenomenon? Firstly Duterte provides an option in which security of persons and property is guaranteed in an environment where they are taken for granted and the rule of law is followed only at the whims and caprices of authorities. Second, Duterte managed to ride on the popularization of federalism federalism , which is the result of the awakening of various ethnicities in the country to the possibilities of representation absent in unitarist system. Consciousness of economic underdevelopment and emasculation of cultural diversity found in the countryside enabled these ethnic nations – neither tribes nor ethnolinguistic groups – to assert their cultural pride and strive for economic independence from the metropolis. The next step to this equation is quasi-political independence by way of federalism. Continue reading The Federal Alternative: Will Rodrigo Duterte clinch the presidency? Part II