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

In February, residents of Sibuyan Island in the Philippines’ Romblon province protested against a mining exploration activity by forming a “people’s barricade.” This was followed by another barricade in Brooke’s Point in the southern part of Palawan province, which was also organized by community-based groups to protest an ongoing mining operation.

The month of February ended with the sinking of a ship carrying 800,000 liters of industrial fuel that caused a devastating oil spill in Mindoro Island and parts of Western Visayas.

President Marcos called for climate justice when he addressed global leaders in November last year in Cairo. His appeal should embolden his government to pursue policies and programs that will reverse the deterioration of the environment. The first quarter of the year has provided us with a glimpse of key environmental issues and challenges that could potentially spark a broader people’s movement for the protection of the country’s patrimony and precious resources.

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Local Leaders Question Expanded US Military Presence in the Philippines

Written for The Diplomat

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s decision to expand the coverage of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) is being opposed by some local leaders. They led prayer rallies against the building of new U.S. military facilities in the country.

Under the original EDCA, signed in 2014, the U.S. military can access five locations in the Philippines where it can store equipment, transport supplies, and undertake other logistics for war exercises and disaster response.

The Marcos government should carefully explain the extent of EDCA and convince the public that it favors the country’s long-term interest. The anti-dictatorship movement that ousted the president’s father in 1986 sustained the clamor for the rejection of the U.S. bases treaty in 1991. There could be a revival of the nationalist campaign against foreign military bases as Marcos pivots closer to the United States through the expanded EDCA.

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