Mong Palatino

Blogging about the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific since 2004


@mongster is a Manila-based activist, former Philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of Asia-Pacific affairs.

Since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte came to power, there have been concerns about his administration’s distortion of online information raised by his opponents. A recent report provides further evidence of what many see as a worrying development.

According to a recent report released by non-government organization Freedom House, the Philippines is among the 30 countries in the world which deploy some form of “manipulation to distort online information.”

Perhaps Duterte can be persuaded too that the alleged continuing existence of a “keyboard army” is not helping him earn credibility among Internet users. Or that an army dedicated to the spread of fake news, hate speech, and online violence can only lead to greater disunity, cynicism, and low public confidence. Unless of course he relishes the idea of being called the Philippines’ “troll-in-chief.”

Read more at The Diplomat

Rising Outrage Over Duterte’s War on Drugs in the Philippines

Public anger is rising in the Philippines over the reported surge of extrajudicial killings that have victimized several children and teenagers.

During his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, President Rodrigo Duterte signaled the intensification of the “war on drugs,” which he defended as necessary and crucial to fight rampant criminality and corruption across the country.

Duterte’s “war on drugs” has been controversial from the very beginning, since it allegedly involved the extrajudicial killing of suspected drug peddlers and users. The anti-drug operation (Oplan Tokhang) has already killed 7,000 persons, but some human rights groups think that the number of drug-related killings could reach 12,000 if we are going to include the unreported cases.

Some believe the issue of human rights abuses involving children is aimed at distracting the attention of the public after a Senate probe implicated Duterte’s son in the shipment of illegal drugs in the country’s ports. It may be true. But it does not invalidate the urgent demands to rethink Tokhang, to probe and punish police abuse, and to make Duterte accountable for the worsening human rights violations that are taking place across the country

Read more at The Diplomat

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