Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

Over the past few weeks, we have seen a number of bold announcements from the government of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte about the state of conflicts in the country that may in fact belie their actual status and broader significance.

Last week, after five months, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared the “liberation” of Marawi City, where a local armed group with suspected ISIS-links has been holed up fighting government troops. Earlier this month, Duterte canceled the infamous Oplan Tokhang (anti-drug campaign) of the police and turned over the mandate to run after drug lords and their operators to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency. Meanwhile, Duterte’s army chief vowed to wipe out the long-running communist insurgency before the end of 2018.

But do these announcements really signify the end of Duterte’s triple wars: the war on drugs, the all-out war against communist rebels, and the war against terror in Mindanao?

But that still leaves the question: how will the government manage Duterte’s unfinished wars? Getting a clearer sense of this – beyond empty rhetoric and catchy slogans – will be significant not only to determine the course of Duterte’s presidency, but the outlook for the Philippines as a country.

Read more at The Diplomat

Will Duterte Abandon the Left in the Philippines?

It has become commonplace to refer to Rodrigo Duterte as the Philippines’ first leftist president. Duterte himself has publicly made the claim, much to the alarm of some outside observers as well as some in the Philippines.

In reality, the claim is disputable, and it is not really certain whether he is serious about advancing socialist causes.

What is clear is that Duterte, at least for now, has stopped referring to himself as a leftist and socialist as he did before.

Read more at The Diplomat

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