ASEAN Perspectives

Myanmar vote ban extinguishes hope for ethnic minorities

  by Su Myat MON Agence France Presse YANGON, Myanmar (AFP) — For many marginalised ethnic minority groups in conflict-plagued regions of Myanmar, next month’s national elections had at least offered a glimmer of hope for empowerment. But a decision to exclude swathes of their homelands from the vote — ostensibly over security concerns — has instead filled them with anger and despair, with nearly two million people now disenfranchised. Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling […]

What is Thailand’s ‘section 112’ royal defamation law?

BANGKOK, Thailand (AFP) — Thailand’s monarchy is protected by one of the world’s toughest defamation laws, making any criticism of the powerful King Maha Vajiralongkorn very risky inside the country. After police arrested a number of prominent political activists Thursday, a government spokesman said charges will be pressed against those who obstructed a royal motorcade a day earlier and anyone who had acted “in a way that defames the monarchy”. – What is the section […]

Singapore PM’s defamation suit against blogger begins

  SINGAPORE (AFP) — Singapore’s leader criticized “malicious and baseless” claims in an article linking him to a corruption scandal, as he testified on Tuesday at the start of his defamation suit against a blogger. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is suing Leong Sze Hian after the blogger shared an article on Facebook linking the premier to the money-laundering scandal at state fund 1MDB in neighbouring Malaysia. Leaders in the tightly controlled city-state have frequently […]

Pres. Duterte tells UN: PHL win in 2016 Arbitral Ruling “now part of int’l law”, affirms claim in South China Sea

  (Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte told the United Nations General Assembly that the Philippine government is standing firm in its “commitment in the South China Sea” including the 2016 Arbitral Award which invalidated the “nine-dash line” claim of China on the South China Sea. Speaking during the High-Level General Debate of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), President Duterte said that the Philippines is standing firm on its claim […]

Pompeo urges Southeast Asia to shun South China Sea firms

  HANOI, Vietnam (AFP) — Washington’s top diplomat urged Southeast Asia on Thursday to cut ties with Chinese companies helping build islands in the South China Sea, weeks after the US blacklisted two dozen firms working in the disputed waters. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments came at a regional Asian summit overshadowed by the US-China rivalry over a range of issues, from trade to the coronavirus. Tensions are also simmering over the South China […]

Pres. Duterte calls on int’l leaders to unite vs terror, virus threat; urges economic cooperation amid pandemic

(Eagle News) — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte called on various economies to address the twin threats of COVID-19 and terrorism amid the virus pandemic by becoming more open economically with the proper observance of health protocols, and to engage in stronger cooperation among nations. In his statement during the Aqaba Process Virtual Meeting on COVID-19 response hosted by Jordanian King Abdullah II, President Duterte called for global unity to address terrorism and COVID-19 not by […]

Pres Duterte honors hero soldiers in Jolo, vows support for troops to crush terrorists amid pandemic

(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte lauded the men in uniform fighting terrorism in the country as he honored the soldiers who were killed in the Aug. 24 terrorist bombing in Jolo, Sulu. In his talk to the troops in Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Headquarters in Jolo, Sulu, President Duterte also vowed to give all the support needed by the soldiers to fight terrorism amid the COVID-19 pandemic. “To our troops, I stand in solidarity […]

PHL defense chief says China fabricating sea claims over PHL maritime territory

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — China’s “nine-dash line” used to claim most of the South China Sea is a fabrication, the Philippine defence minister said, as he accused Beijing of illegally occupying Filipino maritime territory. The remarks late Sunday come amid a fresh row between Manila and Beijing over the disputed Scarborough shoal, which has long been a flashpoint between the two countries. The Philippine foreign ministry last week lodged a diplomatic protest over what it […]

Philippines, China in fresh row over Scarborough shoal

  MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — The Philippines accused China’s coast guard Friday of illegally seizing fishing equipment near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea, sparking a fresh spat with Beijing. Scarborough Shoal, one of several reefs controlled by China, is one of the region’s richest fishing grounds and a flash point between the two countries. The Philippine foreign ministry said it has lodged a diplomatic protest over the “illegal confiscation” by the Chinese […]

Stronger ASEAN currency swap system takes effect, enabling PHL to borrow up to $22-B from facility

(Eagle News) — A stronger currency swap among member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) took effect on Tuesday, June 23, which would enably the Philippines to borrow up to $22.76 billion from the facility as a signatory to this, the Department of Finance said. The amended Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) agreement took effect Tuesday “offering a stronger currency swap arrangement and financial safety net” among ASEAN member-states and their partner-economies […]

Reps. Marcoleta, Barzaga point out ABSCBN’s intricate corporate layering, and how its foreign PDR holders given power of control

Solons quiz ABSCBN counsel responsible for PDRs on how ABSCBN allegedly “circumvented” PHL Constitution on mass media ownership   (Eagle News) – Two lawmakers pointed out how media giant ABS CBN used an “intricate web of corporate layering” as they questioned ABS CBN and their lawyers Thursday, June 11, on how they used the so-called Philippine Depository Receipts (PDRs) to possibly “circumvent” the Constitutional limitation on media ownership to allow foreigners to have a level […]