Publications

23 Jun 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."

The Bilateral Consultation Mechanism: An Effective Management of Philippines-China Relations?

6 Jun 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.

Karagatan Observer: May 2022

4 May 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.

Karagatan Observer: April 2022

9 Apr 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”.

Karagatan Observer: March 2022

6 Mar 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.

Karagatan Observer: February 2022

6 Feb 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.

Karagatan Observer: December 2021 - January 2022

11 Jan 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."

Examining the Feasibility of the Philippines' Submarine Acquisition: Executive Report

19 Dec 2021

Karagatan Observer: Annual Recap 2021

The special annual recap for 2021 corroborates the yearly events from past Karagatan Observer issues and is compiled together for a single, concise, and comprehensive report.

Karagatan Observer: Annual Recap 2021

1 Dec 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."

Beyond Maritime Security: Executive Report

30 Nov 2021

Karagatan Observer: November 2021

The recent incident at Ayungin Shoal and the following reactions have shown the overwhelming dissatisfaction of world powers against China’s continued aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

Karagatan Observer: November 2021

31 Oct 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).

Karagatan Observer: October 2021

30 Sep 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.

Karagatan Observer: September 2021

31 Aug 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.

Karagatan Observer: August 2021

5 Aug 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.

Securitizing COVID-19: The Philippine Experience and Opportunities for Cooperation with East Asian Countries

31 Jul 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.

Karagatan Observer: July 2021

29 Jul 2021

Working Together To Secure Our Seas: A Primer on Philippine Maritime Zones

"Do we need “fences” around the Philippine archipelago? Is this the right way forward
as what Robert Frost, in his 1914 poem Mending Wall, suggested by sharing a relevant
message for our time that: “Good fences make good neighbors”?" opens Atty. Asuque.

Working Together To Secure Our Seas: A Primer on Philippine Maritime Zones

30 Jun 2021

Karagatan Observer: June 2021

June has seen a continuation of both positive and negative trends. In a month that celebrates the 123rd anniversary of Philippine independence, commemorates the 46th diplomatic anniversary with China, and mourns the death of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Filipinos continued to debate how the country should best defend and assert its sovereignty.

Karagatan Observer: June 2021

31 May 2021

Karagatan Observer: May 2021

In this issue, after months of China's unilateral escalation of tension, China continues to see the Indo-Pacific region turn against it. In the spotlight, China’s actions in the region prove that its actions and intentions are nowhere benign.

Karagatan Observer: May 2021

30 Apr 2021

Karagatan Observer: April 2021

Continuing its incursion in Philippines territory, China once again proclaimed its ownership over the West Philippine Sea. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said that the Philippines should stop “complicating the situation” and urged respect for China’s sovereignty. However, various sectors of the Philippines responded to China's intrusions.

Karagatan Observer: April 2021

31 Mar 2021

Karagatan Observer: March 2021

China's actions in the region have only escalated. The escalation continues since the adoption of its new Coast Guard Law earlier this year. This time around, however, is different. The international community hasn't been silent on the issue.

Karagatan Observer: March 2021