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.

Over the past few months, rising scrutiny on Chinese investments in countries ranging from the Maldives to Malaysia has intensified an ongoing conversation in the Philippines about the risks of a Chinese “debt trap” in the country as the government of President Rodrigo Duterte pursues increased engagement with Beijing. This discussion has become more pronounced, with opposition emerging among the legislature and sections of the wider public.

Written for The Diplomat magazine

The Truth About Duterte’s 2020 Budget

In August, it was disclosed that the proposed 2020 budget of the Philippine government allotted a higher percentage to police, military, and other security forces that are expected to bolster the country’s defenses and President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-crime campaign. Supporters of the president have deemed it critical to continue the journey toward a peaceful and progressive Philippines, but critics have warned that the funding boost could be abused, contributing to corruption and human rights violations.

Written for The Diplomat magazine

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