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.

Written for The Diplomat

Three months after coming to power, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has failed to reassure the media community and the public that he will promote freedom of expression and reverse the impunity that worsened during the term of his predecessor. To be sure, there was little expectation that the son of a deposed dictator would be a champion of press freedom, but his election pledge of unity and healing could have been a good opportunity to affirm his commitment to protecting the public’s right to information.

Journalists continue to face violent threats, critics are slapped with harassment suits, and the public is wary about the impact of the mandatory SIM card registration law. The Marcos government should spend its next 100 days addressing the concern about the unceasing decline of freedom of expression in the country.

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UN Report Charts Human Rights Decline in the Philippines

Written for The Diplomat

The United Nations Human Rights Committee has released its concluding observations about the human rights situation in the Philippines ahead of the country’s fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The 13-page report highlighted several issues that marked the deterioration of human rights protection in the country under the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, whose six-year term ended in June.

Marcos is in Cambodia for the ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit and will then travel to Thailand for the APEC summit, where he is expected to promote the country’s economic potential. He might repeat his earlier appeal at the U.N. General Assembly for urgent climate action and global cooperation.

But equally important in defending the country’s international standing is the UPR taking place on the other side of the world. Marcos may have diplomats and government representatives to articulate the position of the Philippines, but it will be difficult to deny that since taking office in July, he has said nothing substantial or concrete about his human rights agenda.

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Philippines Assures UN that it Upholds Human Rights

Written for The Diplomat

The Philippine delegation to the fourth cycle of the country’s Universal Periodic Review in Geneva has assured United Nations member states that the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is committed to upholding human rights.

The UPR is an ongoing process and the real test for the Marcos government is whether it will back its promises with sustained action and implementation of substantial governance reforms. Marcos cannot do this without reversing the numerous repressive policies of his predecessor, who is incidentally his political ally and the father of his vice-presidential running mate. If he is serious about promoting human rights, he should be ready to antagonize Duterte and the well-entrenched officials of the previous government who are suspected of being responsible for some of the bloodiest human rights abuses in recent years.

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