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Category archive for: Asia

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

Written by Erwin S. Fernandez.

Grace Poe’s citizenship and ten-year residency were legitimated in the heat of judicial bias. As a Pangasinan, I do not consider her a daughter ofPangasinan as her spindoctors would like to project her to Pangasinan voters. Mar Roxas will only continue a standard of incompetence that is the trademark of the current administration while Jejomar Binay will surpassMarcos thievery if given the chance. Miriam Defensor Santiago knows her time time has passed for the presidency and her choice of Bongbong Marcos is suspect of her political color. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, the lone candidate from Mindanao whose roots can be traced to Samar Province in a contest dominated by Ilonggos with the exception of Binay who is a Tagalog-Ibanag, seems to be the dark horse. Continue reading The Federal Alternative: Will Rodrigo Duterte clinch the presidency? Part I

A Family Business: The Rise & Fall of the Roxas Dynasty

Written by Elliot Newbold

With little under a week to go until the Philippine presidential elections, the stage is set for something of a political upset. Currently, the outlandish mayor of Davao City, Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, holds the lead as the candidate most likely to succeed Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III at Malacañang Palace. Despite brazenly deleterious comments that have drawn international condemnation, Duterte still looks set to upturn the established political order.

It is no secret that Filipino politics is driven by personality over political platforms. Indeed, one of the most discernible reasons for Duterte’s meteoric rise is his anti-establishment tone; he’s promised to fight crime, tackle corruption, and challenge inequality, all whilst providing a fresh-faced alternative to the dynastic political elite that dominate Filipino politics. Clearly, Duterte’s populism has captivated the electorate. Yet, the question remains: what happens to the old-guard if, and when they’re driven out of power? Continue reading A Family Business: The Rise & Fall of the Roxas Dynasty

Murder of LGBTQ+ editor highlights danger facing all rational voices in Bangladesh

Written by Ibtisam Ahmed. 

The murder of Xulhaz Mannan, the founder and editor of Bangladesh’s first and only LGBTQ+ magazine, Roopban, has drawn the world’s attention to the violence directed against the country’s outspoken supporters of equal rights. His death at the hands of six assailants sent a wave of fear through the community, and has prompted others to go into hiding.

This situation speaks to two closely connected crises. On the most obvious level, it highlights the stigma and danger faced by the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters – and at the same time, it’s part of a larger threat to rational thought and speech that has been mounting for several years. Continue reading Murder of LGBTQ+ editor highlights danger facing all rational voices in Bangladesh

Hardman Rodrigo Duterte closes in on the Philippine presidency

Written by Pauline Eadie.

As the Philippines careers towards the May 2016 presidential elections, it looks as if one of the country’s toughest politicians may be about to sweep to power. Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte is currently leading in the polls despite a series of outlandish and outrageous remarks – most recently, a vow to kill his children if they take drugs – and it seems as if it may be too late for any of his challengers to pull off an upset. Continue reading Hardman Rodrigo Duterte closes in on the Philippine presidency

Philippines 2016: Election Day is All Souls Day

Written by Kevin H.R. Villanueva.

Politics is performance and the Philippine presidential election is a stage. Binay, Duterte, Roxas, Poe and Defensor-Santiago will each play many parts: they will tap into our deepest desires, draw out our dissatisfactions and lay bare our discords as a people. They will have their exits and their entrances. And in three overlapping character scripts – throughout the last stretch of this campaign – they will keep us mesmerized. Continue reading Philippines 2016: Election Day is All Souls Day

Philippine Elections 2016: Much Ado About Nothing?

Written by Vladimir Guevarra.

Well that’s awkward. Some of my friends on Facebook have started attacking each other in defence of their preferred candidate for President of the Philippines. Some of the arguments are rather formal and more measured (“I choose X because of his achievements, including…”), some are moralistic (“I’m surprised some ‘Christians’ would condone a foulmouthed candidate”) while some are downright personal (“I should not be defending him from hypocrites like you!”). Note: Those brickbats are not against me.

So. Like wow. Chill. I found myself having to broker peace between two friends because it would be such a shame if their camaraderie sours on account of the elections. But so far, no peace yet.

Continue reading Philippine Elections 2016: Much Ado About Nothing?

Should America be focusing on ISIS when North Korea poses an existential threat?

Written by Simon Reich

It is understandable that Americans focus their attention on the Middle East. The media supplies a daily stream of news about America’s continued war with the Islamic State, or ISIS. And the recent attacks in Europe and San Bernardino, have made terrorism a major issue in this year’s election, whether initiated by Jihadists recruited from at home or abroad.

Poll numbers at the end of last year suggested that a majority of Americans think that President Obama is not taking the threat from ISIS seriously enough. They believe that an overwhelming use of force would end the threat. Indeed, a more recent poll suggested that a plurality of those questioned believe the U.S. is losing the war on terrorism. Continue reading Should America be focusing on ISIS when North Korea poses an existential threat?

Philippines 2016: The Bangsamoro Peace Process Beyond May

Written by Julia Palmiano Federer.

The current peace process between the Government of the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was dealt a large blow in late January 2016 with the non-passage of a diluted version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). The BBL is a bill slated to transform central elements of theComprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) into law and thereby establishing a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. The passing of the BBL was envisioned as a mid-way point in the implementation of the CAB, jumpstarting processes of popular ratification and election of a governing body by 2016. However, it became fraught with questions regarding its constitutionality and eventually failed to pass in the House of Representatives of the 16th Congress. It remains pending in the 16th Congress until 30 June, as the Senate cannot support it without the approval of the House of Representatives. The enormity of the bill’s non-passage is compounded by the upcoming general elections on 9 May 2016 and accompanying change in administration. Once Congress reconvenes after the election, the bill will have to be re-filed, rendering the future of the peace process uncertain. Continue reading Philippines 2016: The Bangsamoro Peace Process Beyond May

The Philippines, Environmental Politics and the Challenges Ahead

Written by Pauline Eadie.

On 9 May 2016 Philippine voters go to the polls. They will elect leaders that range from the national presidency down to the local barangay (village). Election campaigns in the Philippines enjoy a carnival type atmosphere that intensifies as polling day draws near. Motorcades cruise around the streets conveying politicians at all levels adorned in their political colours, music blares and electoral paraphernalia is dispensed to the masses. Promises of meaningful change that favours the impoverished masses are made and, for a while at least, the vast majority of the population engage with the merits of the various political aspirants. Filipinos fought hard for their democracy and they value it. Continue reading The Philippines, Environmental Politics and the Challenges Ahead

Missiles Not Rifles: The Significance of Military Modernization for the Next President

Written by Francis Domingo.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is gradually regaining its prestige after decades of incapacity. However, these efforts may be diminished if the next president is unable to provide a clear direction and follow through in terms of military capability management. So far, it seems that only two presidential candidates have explicitly articulated plans for continued military modernization: Jejomar Binay and Grace Poe. The other candidates –Rodrigo Duterte, Mar Roxas, and Miriam Santiago – have not outlined definite plans for the military but are prioritising diplomatic initiatives such as bilateral engagements and international organizations as strategies to address external threats. While diplomacy and military strength are equally important, the next president should not forget the colourful history of the AFP’s involvement in Philippine politics. Continue reading Missiles Not Rifles: The Significance of Military Modernization for the Next President