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.

Southeast Asia’s ‘Proxy’ Presidents

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Myanmar’s Htin Kyaw has received praise for being the country’s first civilian president in more than half a century. But the media has also labeled him a ‘”proxy” and even “puppet” president because his position was granted through the support of National League for Democracy (NLD) party leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Interestingly, it’s not […]

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First published by The Diplomat General Prayuth Chan-ocha may have received a royal endorsement for launching a coup in Thailand, but the junta could face serious opposition from a nascent citizen democracy movement. In the past several days, hundreds of Thais have joined anti-coup protests across the country, defying an army directive against the gathering […]

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Written for The Diplomat Southeast Asia experienced numerous disasters in 2013: oil spills, dengue outbreaks, earthquakes, bus crashes, and massive floods. But the two biggest were the trans-boundary haze pollution that affected Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia; and super typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), which wrought devastation in the central part of the Philippines. The haze was caused […]

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Thailand’s Provocative Protesters

Monday, December 9th, 2013

Written for The Diplomat News of Thai protesters occupying several government buildings in Bangkok reminded many of similar provocative rallies which shook the nation’s capital in 2008 and 2010. Indeed, one way to analyze how the current crisis will unfold is to review how various political forces reacted in the past. In 2008 the People’s […]

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Football Nationalism in Southeast Asia

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

The landslide victory of the opposition Puea Thai Party in Thailand’s general election may have been last Sunday’s top political story in Southeast Asia. But it certainly wasn’t the most talked about topic in the rest of the region. For most TV viewers and internet surfers in Laos, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Burma, it […]

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Thailand: Yingluck and Gender Politics

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Yingluck Shinawatra could become Thailand’s first female prime minister if her Pheu Thai Party performs well in next month’s general election. And her chances certainly seem strong, despite her inexperience, because so many voters are disillusioned with male-dominated Thai politics. Sensing this growing frustration, Yingluck’s handlers have been emphasizing her natural ‘feminine qualities’ to attract […]

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A Korean ‘War’ in Cambodia?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

It seems like a mini Korean War is brewing in Cambodia. But unlike the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula, which could end up involving a military clash, the ‘war’ in Cambodia is a kind of culinary conflict. In 2002, the North Korean government opened a restaurant in Siem Reap near the world famous Angkor […]

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WikiLeaks’ Thai Revelations?

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

There are some interesting WikiLeaks revelations related to Thailand. Of the estimated 3000 cables sent by the United States Embassy in Bangkok to the US State Department, the most intriguing are those tied to the case of Russian businessman and alleged arms smuggler Viktor Bout, who faced trial in Thailand before being extradited to the […]

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Flashpoints: Philippines and Thailand

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

I’ve written several articles for The Diplomat about the Philippine 2010 elections. Some of them have been reposted in this blog. In the past week, I submitted these short election updates: 1. So Far, Not so Bad 2. Disenfranchised Voters 3. Philippine Elections: The Good, the Bad, and the Funny 4. Replace or Retain Voting […]

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Thailand-Cambodia squabble embarrasses ASEAN

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Myanmar’s ruling junta may be the ultimate bad boy in Southeast Asia, but the stubborn attitude of the junta is not always the primordial cause of friction in the region. If achieving unity within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is almost impossible, Myanmar should not get all the blame. Also worthy of disgust and […]

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