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Ann Febel Bajo | December 1, 2016

The question on whether we actually understand policy pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte came about when I had a conversation with a member of the US Special Operations Forces. He is assigned here in Manila and leads a team of Special Forces who train soldiers of the Philippine Army.

Arunajeet Kaur | November 18, 2016 | Source: RSIS


The Philippines has a culture of politics-induced labour migration. It relies heavily on labour export and remittance money but that has resulted in many negative consequences for the country’s economic and social development. Notwithstanding President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement on changing this situation, no imminent change is expected.


Bilveer Singh and Kumar Ramakrishna | July 21, 2016 | Source: RSIS


The announcement of Wilayah Philippines in southern Philippines epitomises a new IS strategy to “pivot” to Southeast Asia. It signals a direct threat to countries in the region even as IS Central comes under pressure in the Middle East.


David Han Guo Xiong | July 14, 2016 | Source: RSIS


Malaysia-Philippines relations under the new Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte are likely to remain cordial and warm. The inherent pragmatism of the leaders of both countries would translate into stronger cooperation on shared mutual interests.


Julio S. Amador III and Edcel John A. Ibarra | July 1, 2016 | Source: CIRSS

There were arguments that the Philippine government should not have solely relied on international courts to manage the country’s most pressing national security concern: the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea. Some commentators pointed out that the Philippines depended heavily on other countries (particularly the United States), that the government seemed complacent and lax in handling the disputes, that Filipinos could never retrieve the West Philippine Sea, and that the country was lacking external security and losing in its strategy.

Julio Amador III | June 1, 2016 | Source: CIRSS

At the sidelines of the APEC Leaders Meeting in Manila on 18 November 2015, Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull signed the Joint Declaration on Australia-Philippines Comprehensive Partnership. In general, the comprehensive partnership agreement merely formalizes what has been a close and strong working bilateral relationship between the two sides.

What the comprehensive partnership is all about

Roland Simbulan | June 1, 2016

TWENTY years have passed since the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty (SEA-NWFZT) was signed, on Dec. 15, 1995 in Bangkok by all the ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN. Designated as the "Bangkok Treaty", the Southeast Asian Nuclear Weapons-Free Zone Treaty was entered into force (EIF) on March 28, 1997.

The first Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty after the Cold War, the Bangkok Treaty is considered a model for regional de-nuclearization. According to Dr. Hiro Umebayashi, Director of the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition of Nagasaki University, this is because "it applies not just to territories but includes in its coverage Exclusive Economic Zones and Continental Shelves." It also prohibits the dumping or discharge of radioactive material or nuclear waste in its area of coverage. This is why, predictably, even today, all the five Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) which include Russia, the U.S., China, U.K. and France refuse to sign its Protocols. But are the states of Southeast Asia, genuine Nuclear Weapons-Free states today?

Ricardo Roy Lopez | May 30, 2016


The role of statesmen in the conduct of foreign policy is one that has often been overlooked in IR due to the focus on systemic and material theorizing. This commentary provides insights into the views of senatorial and presidential candidates in the upcoming Philippine elections on the issue of Sabah, a territory which was the subject of a historical dispute between the Philippines and co-ASEAN member state Malaysia. It is argued that the positions Filipino leaders take on Sabah have the potential to influence future bilateral relations between the two countries.

Richard Javad Heydarian | May 24, 2016 | Source: RSIS


Contrary to his reputation as a foul-mouthed provincial statesman, the Philippines’ incoming president Rodrigo Duterte may very well end up as a sophisticated and nuanced geopolitical player over the South China Sea disputes and oversee the revival of Philippine-China relations.


Rommel Banlaoi | May 20, 2016 | Source: RSIS


The rise of Rodrigo Duterte as the Philippines’ new president promises to have an impact on the South China Sea dispute between Manila and Beijing. Will he change Manila’s stance towards China or will he be as hardline as his campaign rhetoric suggested?



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