Mong Palatino

blogging about the philippine left and southeast asian politics since 2004


@mongster is a manila-based activist, former philippine legislator, and blogger/analyst of asia-pacific affairs.

The return of the Marcoses

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

Written for New Mandala Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines like a dictator for two decades until he was ousted by the ‘People Power’ uprising in 1986. Three decades later, his wife and children hold elected positions in government. Now, his eldest son and namesake is running for vice president. Many people ask, especially international observers, […]

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Remembering ‘People Power’ in ASEAN

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

In recent years, the “Occupy” movements and “Arab Spring” came to symbolize popular actions for social change across the world. In Southeast Asia, the massive gathering of citizens against an unjust political order is more widely known as an expression and legacy of “People Power.” The idea of People Power became a potent political force […]

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Why we should celebrate Edsa Dos

Sunday, March 8th, 2015

Written for Bulatlat Was Edsa Dos a coup, power grab, or an uprising? Was it a farce? It may be all of the above but it’s a political event worth celebrating. Why should we allow the Arroyos, Estradas, Aquinos, and the Catholic bishops to dominate the discussion about what Edsa Dos meant to our country’s […]

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Written for Bulatlat What did the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan had in common in the 1950s? They all allowed the United States to build military bases in their territories. But in 1991, the Philippines kicked out the bases even if it remained an unabashed admirer of American culture. The expulsion of American troops from […]

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10 Happy things activists always love to do

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Written for Bulatlat 1. Journeying to the countryside to live with peasant and IP communities. Nature tripping, mountaineering, and political field work plus more. Tourism is fun but an activist explores the rural not just to celebrate and document geography but to study the condition of the masses. He is not there to feitishize the […]

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Written for Bulatlat According to some intellectuals and their disciples, it is foolish to join the Left or become a Leftist in the 21st century. They sarcastically remind activists that the Berlin Wall already fell in 1989 and it was followed by the disintegration of Soviet Russia in 1991. In response, we should assert that […]

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Are you dating an activist? Take the quiz

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

Written for Bulatlat He had you at “power to the people!” and then he said he wanted to “occupy” your heart, and that you are his 99 percent. Yet you find his world quite exotic, his vocabulary sometimes confusing, although he seems sincere given his passionate determination to fight for his beliefs. Indeed, it is […]

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The people’s decade

Monday, April 7th, 2014

Written for Bulatlat If the future generation will ask us about Philippine politics during the early years of the 21st century, what should we tell them? Perhaps some historians will name it as Erap’s decade. In 1998, Joseph Estrada became the most popular Philippine president in terms of number of votes. Two years later, he […]

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Inspiring stories of 2013

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Written for Bulatlat Despite the calamities that brought unprecedented devastation in the country, there were several inspiring stories in 2013 that gave much needed joy and hope to many Filipinos. They were moral boosters at a time when tragedies seem to overwhelm our islands. Hopefully, the future will not simply remember 2013 as a terribly […]

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Daang Matuwid at Mabuting Pamamahala

Friday, December 6th, 2013

Talumpating binigkas sa Escaler Auditorium, Ateneo de Manila, Nobyembre 29, 2013 Ang unang slogan ni Noynoy Aquino noong 2009 ay ‘Hindi ako Magnanakaw’. Star-studded pa ang ginawang music video na nilahukan ng maraming artista na may hawak na sulo. Patutsada ito sa pamahalaan ni Gloria Arroyo na kumaharap ng maraming kaso at iskandalo ng korupsiyon. […]

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