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.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has gained global notoriety for launching a bloody “war on drugs” that has already killed more than two thousand Filipinos in less than a year. But the number of killings since Duterte assumed power could be higher if we include the victims of the government’s “all-out war” against communist rebels.

The spate of killings terrorizing communities in both urban and rural areas today is a reminder to review and reject government policies that lead to rampant human rights abuses. It must be emphasized that even before Duterte launched his ill-conceived “war on drugs”, the state is already accused of committing extrajudicial crimes. Aside from endorsing the bloody anti-drug campaign, Duterte has to be made accountable too for failing to stop the extrajudicial killings that have victimized activists, farmers, and human rights defenders.

Read more at The Diplomat

Philippine Plan to Lift Open Pit Mining Ban Can Spark Local Wars

No less than Philippine Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu announced in public that the open pit mining ban will be lifted before the end of 2017.

He made this statement after the Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC) voted to reverse the ban which was imposed by Cimatu’s predecessor last April. The MICC is a government body mandated to review the country’s mining policies.

This policy shift proved once more the influential voice of the Chamber of Mines in the government of President Rodrigo Duterte. Earlier, the mining group has successfully lobbied for the removal of Gina Lopez as secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Duterte is aware that mining plunder in the past has sparked an armed resistance among various tribal groups. This has boosted the strength of communist rebels in remote villages. After defeating an ISIS-backed group in Marawi, can the Duterte government afford another conflict triggered by the expansion of open pit mines?

Read more at The Diplomat

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