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

The Philippines recently marked the first 100 days in office of both President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Duterte. Global news reports highlighted the key issues that Marcos has tackled since July but the work of Duterte has usually not been mentioned.

In the Philippines, the vice president is elected separately by the citizenry. The vice president has no official role in the government other than to wait and prepare to lead if the president is unable to fulfill his or her duty. It is important, therefore, to review Duterte’s first 100 days as it can provide a glimpse of her priorities and even the prospect of her becoming the country’s next president in 2028.

As education czar, Duterte faces a tough battle ahead since the country is still reeling from the devastating impact of the decision of the previous government to extend school closures during the pandemic. And despite her long list of activities as VP, it is inevitable that many will compare this to the impressive work of her predecessor, who overcame numerous challenges and succeeded in delivering public service and leadership through innovation and transparency.

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Philippines Confirms New Envoy to China

Written for The Diplomat

The appointment of Jaime Florcruz as the Philippines’ new ambassador to China was confirmed on December 7 by the country’s Commission on Appointments.

Who is Florcruz and what will be his role in building closer relations with China under the government of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.? His response to legislators during the public hearing of his confirmation provided a glimpse of his thoughts on China and the country’s foreign policy directions.

Florcruz was a student activist who went to China in 1971 to witness the impact of the “cultural revolution.” He was forced to remain in China after President Ferdinand E. Marcos, the father of the incumbent president, banned him from returning for alleged subversion. He continued his studies in China and became a journalist who led TIME Magazine and CNN in Beijing until his retirement. His CNN profile described him as the dean of the foreign press corps in Beijing and the longest-serving foreign correspondent in China.

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