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 Philippine participation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland has become the most controversial foreign trip that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has taken. It was the eighth trip abroad that Marcos has made since becoming president seven months ago. Marcos himself was at first undecided about the necessity of attending the event when he was invited in November, but he obviously changed his mind and even brought a sizeable delegation with him.

Marcos is scheduled to visit Japan in February. His subordinates and supporters believe his foreign trips are essential for strengthening the economy. But the opposition is suspicious about the frequency of the president’s travels. Perhaps Marcos is keen to reintroduce his family name on the global stage after their unceremonial ouster from power in 1986. Whatever the reason or motive, Marcos and his government should do more to convince the public that his global engagements are not a waste of taxpayer money.

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Marcos Allies Set to Approve Charter Change in Philippine Congress

Written for The Diplomat

The Philippine House of Representatives is on track to pass a resolution this month calling for a constitutional convention to amend the 1987 Constitution.

At least 11 bills and resolutions relating to charter change were filed since July of last year, the same month when Ferdinand Marcos Jr. assumed the presidency. These measures were consolidated and a consensus was reached among the proponents that the mode of changing the constitution will be through a constitutional convention.

It is not enough that charter change proponents have the numbers in Congress, because a divisive measure like this can quickly galvanize popular opposition. Previous administrations have also the support of the majority in Congress, but they failed to amend the constitution because of strong public resistance. Perhaps legislators today are encouraged by the high trust ratings of Marcos, but can the government risk losing support if people will start protesting against politicians prioritizing charter change instead of curbing hunger and joblessness?

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