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A ‘shadow pandemic’: How domestic violence rose amid COVID-19

From March to December 2020, as lockdown restrictions remained in place across the country, the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) received 521 requests for assistance on domestic violence incidents. The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, recorded 15,553 cases of violence against women (VAW) last year. While there was an observed drop in reports compared to the…

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Five years later, the Duterte admin’s approach to the WPS dispute remains unclear

Over the past few months, tensions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) have escalated between the Philippines and China. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has since lodged a series of diplomatic protests calling out China’s encroachment in the area, which stemmed from the sighting of around 220 Chinese fishing vessels at the Julian Felipe…

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As the pandemic drags on, vaccines became a political tool

Realpolitik does not stop in the middle of a pandemic. International affairs continue to influence local courses of action—the most evident at present being vaccine distribution. Launching into a global market for COVID-19 vaccines, the Philippines faces not just the challenge of vaccine supply inequity but also the need to keep an eye on the…

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Three nominees decline as 1Sambayan unveils president, vice president bets for 2022 elections

Opposition coalition 1Sambayan announced its nominees for president and vice president in the 2022 national elections in a webinar titled Isang Boto, 1Sambayan via Zoom and Facebook live last June 12 in commemoration of the Philippines’ 123rd Independence Day celebration. Vice President Leni Robredo, Sen. Grace Poe, Atty. Chel Diokno, former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV,…

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Portraits of resistance: The ongoing indigenous struggle in the PH

Indigenous people (IP) remain victims of injustices despite the existence of laws that supposedly protect them. Even before the pandemic started, the Lumad have faced numerous military harassment, even extrajudicial killings, which forcefully displaced them from their ancestral lands for the benefit of private businesses. Such attacks made the Lumad abandon their homes and seek…

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Slowly uphill: PH’s ongoing struggle with addressing teenage pregnancy

The Philippines has long grappled with addressing teenage pregnancy, whether by expanding education on reproductive health or by providing better access to birth control options. Yet, as a Social Weather Stations survey found last November, the issue remains the “most important problem of women today.”  For nine consecutive years, the country has reported a rise…

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‘Tayo ang EDSA’: 35 years on, student leaders, faculty revisit significance of historic revolt in online forum

To commemorate the 35th anniversary of the 1986 People Power Revolution, speakers from different generations shared their insights on the historic movement in Rekindling People Power: A Kapihan ng Malalayang Lasalyano Forum, an online seminar hosted by the Office of the Vice President for Lasallian Mission last February 26 on Facebook live. Information gap As…

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In bad faith: Reconciling SOGIE with religious freedom

The fight for gender equality in the Philippines has been a particularly long one. As early as 2000, an early version of a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) bill had already been filed in Congress, drafted by then-Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales and late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. Since then, at least 16 different versions…

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PH social media in the age of digital disinformation

President Rodrigo Duterte, in his weekly late-night address last September 28, launched into a sudden tirade against Facebook. “Facebook, listen to me. We allow you to operate here hoping that you could help us also. Now, if [the] government cannot espouse or advocate something which is for the good of the people, then what is…

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Against the odds: Voter registration continues amid health crisis

Despite calls for a postponement of voter registration due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has resumed accepting applications after a five-month delay last September 1 in areas not under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) or Modified ECQ.  Comelec, however, has implemented extensive safety procedures to comply with public health measures. Face…