Dec 15, 2022
Karagatan Observer: November-December 2022
As 2022 comes to an end, trends established since the Marcos administration began will continue into the new year. The most notable foreign policy of the current government is its attempt to balance relations between the United States (US) and China.
Nov 7, 2022
Karagatan Observer: October 2022
More than 100 days have passed since the new Marcos administration came to power and it claims to have adhered to the “friend to all, enemy to none” policy. Throughout the month, the Philippines has deepened defense relations while exploring ways to augment its energy production in the maritime domain.
In China, the Communist Party held its 20th National Congress with President Xi Jinping securing a third term in office. Meanwhile, North Korea ramped up its missile tests and rhetoric.
Near the end of the month, the Philippines also suffered from the wrath of Typhoon Paeng (Nalgae) which resulted in hundreds of lives lost and extensive damage to farms and fisheries.
Oct 11, 2022
Karagatan Observer: September 2022
The Philippines celebrated Maritime and Archipelagic Awareness Month (MANAMo) throughout September. President Marcos Jr. made two noteworthy state visits to Singapore and Indonesia in early September and later an official visit to the United States (US) to attend the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
Meanwhile the successful counter-offensive of Ukraine has forced Russia into calling reservists, and to depend on its relationship with China. China has relentlessly defended its position regarding Taiwan, notably complaining after US President Biden once again pledged to come to Taiwan’s defense.
The Philippines also joined the world in mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.
Sep 9, 2022
Karagatan Observer: July-August 2022
Six years have passed since the landmark Arbitration Award was granted to the Philippines in its legal case against China. The Marcos administration, now two months into its six-year term, has reaffirmed the importance of the Award. In a straightforward defense of Philippine sovereignty, President Marcos promised in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) that he would not “surrender an inch” of Philippine territory.
Half-a-year has also passed since the onset of the Russo-Ukraine War and its impacts continue to be felt in the Indo-Pacific region, specifically in China and Taiwan. Entering August, United States (US) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ignored Chinese warnings and visited Taiwan as part of her tour of the region. This caused a flurry of activity from China and a myriad of reactions from the international community.
Jul 4, 2022
Karagatan Observer: June 2022
The Indo-Pacific region witnessed a handful of notable events throughout June. From the Shangri-La Dialogue to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, from North Korean missile tests to Chinese aircraft carriers, there was much to consider and contend with.
In the Philippines, the Duterte administration reached its conclusion, paving the way for a new administration and its security framework for the country.
Jun 23, 2022
The Bilateral Consultation Mechanism: An Effective Management of Philippines-China Relations?
"The BCM... affords the parties to compartmentalize issues. Separating the contentious issues from other aspects of the bilateral relations enables the two countries to discuss and look for possible areas of cooperation. This includes the economic and the sociocultural facets of the bilateral relations and non-traditional security issues. Spaces like these allow for positive engagement necessary in maintaining peaceful relations and preventing conflicts in the future."
Jun 6, 2022
Karagatan Observer: May 2022
On the 9th of May 2022, the Philippines elected Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. as its 17th president, obtaining 58% of the vote. Later in the month, Australia had a swift change in government after its election now led by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. United States President Joe Biden made his first visit to Asia to reaffirm ties and formally unveiled the US-led economic plan aptly titled “Indo-Pacific Economic Framework”. All this occurred as China made steps to push its sphere of influence in the South Pacific.
May 4, 2022
Karagatan Observer: April 2022
The Indo-Pacific remains to be confronted by security concerns specifically on the buildup of nuclear armaments. As Russia’s invasion continues to be stalled by Ukraine’s staunch defense, Russia amped its talk of nuclear weapons to deter the international community from interfering. China and North Korea took similar stances for their respective agendas. Meanwhile, eyes turn toward the Philippines as it approaches the 2022 national elections – a potential game changer in regional dynamics. The Philippines also mourns the loss of its envoy to China, Ambassador Jose Santiago “Chito” Sta. Romana, whose tenure facilitated the flourishing of relations between the two countries.
Apr 9, 2022
Karagatan Observer: March 2022
The region continues to grapple with the shockwaves of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Its implications are considered, and its lessons analyzed by all states in the region. Atop all these concerns, it is imperative for states in Europe and the Indo-Pacific, particularly the Philippines, to abide by the maxim “plan for the worst while hoping for the best”.
Mar 6, 2022
Karagatan Observer: February 2022
The Indo-Pacific region continues to grapple with a myriad of issues amid the actions of great powers. After months of military buildup and prolonged negotiation, Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. Australia suffered a laser attack from China. The Philippines continues to scrutinize its presidential candidates and their platforms for long-term national security.
Feb 6, 2022
Karagatan Observer: December 2021 - January 2022
The Philippines was struck by Typhoon Odette on 16 December 2021. In the aftermath of the storm, Philippine allies and partners demonstrated their capacity to speedily respond to the country’s needs. It is this exact interconnectedness that the Philippines must continue to foster and build upon. As 2022 began in earnest, the international community welcomed a report from the United States (U.S.) definitively refuting China’s maritime claims in the South China Sea.
Jan 11, 2022
Examining the Feasibility of the Philippines' Submarine Acquisition: Executive Report
"In recent years, the Philippines has developed a keener sense of its national security and has endeavored to augment its defense posture. The final Kwentong Mandaragat webinar of 2021, held on 16 December, brought together experts from the Philippines and abroad to discuss the feasibility and potential impacts of submarine acquisition... Whether the Philippines pursues submarine acquisition or not, these decisions must be made after extensive consultation and cooperation with allies and partners, and after careful consideration of the recommendations provided by international experts."
Dec 1, 2021
Beyond Maritime Security: Executive Report
"Beyond territorial discrepancies and national security interests, questions arise about rights and obligations of states in relation to environmental protection, fisheries and food security, protection of indigenous peoples, climate change, disaster relief and biodiversity which altogether has economic and sustainable development impacts to states concerned."
Oct 31, 2021
Karagatan Observer: October 2021
In the month of October, we witnessed several escalations in the Indo-Pacific. This month also marks the beginning of the Philippines’ 2022 Election (unofficial) campaign period, as the aspirants file their Certificates of Candidacy to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
Sep 30, 2021
Karagatan Observer: September 2021
The month of September saw the birth of an enhanced trilateral security partnership between Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US) – called “AUKUS”. The announcement sent shockwaves around the world and around the Indo-Pacific region, eliciting positive and negative reactions. Simultaneously, the Philippines celebrated Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (MANAMO) and continued the trend of fortifying its maritime sovereignty.
Aug 31, 2021
Karagatan Observer: August 2021
August bore witness to the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, rippling throughout the Indo-Pacific and the Philippines. The event risks eroding confidence in the US in other parts of the world and has stoked concerns of emboldening its enemies around the world. In the same month, the Philippines and the United States also celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty, a bedrock of national and regional security.
Aug 5, 2021
Securitizing COVID-19: The Philippine Experience and Opportunities for Cooperation with East Asian Countries
This report looks at the Philippine experience of securitizing the COVID-19 pandemic which led to policies and problems that undermine human security. To show contrast, this report will also look at the three East Asian countries that have fared relatively well in dealing with the health crisis and examine the ways these
countries responded through institutions and policies centered on welfare. The paper extrapolates lessons from East Asian countries that allow for cooperation within the Philippines and ASEAN.
Jul 31, 2021
Karagatan Observer: July 2021
July has been filled with big events affecting Philippine defense, security, and foreign policy such as the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, the 75th anniversary of ties between the Philippines and the United States (U.S.)., the 5th anniversary of the 2016 Arbitration Award, the last State of the Nation Address by President Duterte, and the restoration of the Visiting Forces Agreement.