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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

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

What position for the labour movement on the EU referendum?

Written by Andreas Bieler.

On Thursday, 23 June, a referendum will be held to decide whether Britain should leave or remain in the European Union. When Jacques Delors, then EU Commission President, announced his vision of a social dimension for European integration in the late 1980s, in the UK he won large parts of the British trade unions over into a pro-EU position. Against the background of neo-liberal restructuring by consecutive Conservative governments, social regulation at the European level offered advances, which would have been impossible in a purely domestic context. Is this situation still the case today?

In this blog, I will first assess the current state of affairs for social policies in the EU. Then I will focus on the dangers of nationalism and xenophobic reactions to migration, implied in a no-vote, before concluding in the third section that the focus of the debate should be redirected on what kind of EU we want, rather than the issue of further or less integration.   Continue reading What position for the labour movement on the EU referendum?

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

Why Libya’s collapse into chaos is not an argument against intervention

Written by Aidan Hehir.

Libya is mired in crisis – a “shit show” according to President Obama. Many have declared that the 2011 intervention shouldn’t have been launched , and that the Libya campaign is reason enough to put an end to the practice of “humanitarian intervention”.

These arguments are superficially convincing, but they presume a counterfactual history with little supporting evidence – and ultimately amount to an intellectual dead end. Continue reading Why Libya’s collapse into chaos is not an argument against intervention

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