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Philippine Maritime Matters

Newsletter Issue 1, sr. 2021

The fourth edition of Philippine Maritime Matters focuses on the pandemic's persistence and how it impacts the domestic and geopolitical developments in and around the Philippines. We opened the year with the fifth installment of the Kwentong Mandaragat webinar series examining what experts have to say about the blue economy in the context of the Philippines.

Newsletter Issue 1, sr. 2022

Happy New Year!

As promised, we are back! Elections are fast approaching and the public is spectating the candidates' positions and stances on issues. Besides the looming election fever, much maritime development has been boiling in the past few weeks and we're back to keep you all abreast of them.

Newsletter Issue 10, sr. 2021

This month marks the 1st year anniversary of the Philippine Maritime Matters newsletter!

As we celebrate the newsletter's year-long run, let's feast on some news of equal worth. Recently, AUKUS has been stirring the Indo-Pacific region as countries react variously to the new security arrangement, top among them France (from abroad) and China. On the other hand, China is still stubborn as ever and continues to encroach not just on the Philippines' side of the backyard but also on Malaysia's, prompting a diplomatic summons. Relatedly, escalations are also being noted in the Cross-Straits region as Taipei comes to terms with Beijing's increased intrusions in its defense zone: A record total of more than 200 flight incursions!

Newsletter Issue 11, sr. 2021

China is at it again!

Chinese aggression and harassment are not new to Filipinos, especially to those on the grassroots, i.e., fisherfolks, coastal communities, coast guards and patrols, and scientists. But it hits different when grey zone activities are brought out in the open and becomes more physical, more than just being barred entry.

Newsletter Issue 12, sr. 2021

We’re now ending 2021 with a variety of challenges at the front: China in the Indo-Pacific, the US' presence in the region, and the Philippines at a crossroads.

Newsletter Issue 2, sr. 2021

The fifth edition of Philippine Maritime Matters reflects on recent geopolitical developments on top of the pandemic's persistence particularly China's enactment of its new Coast Guard Law.

This has reverberating consequences within the Philippines and across the ASEAN region. In the face of this development, the Philippines must advance its bilateral relations with China with greater care as it is now caught between the advent of a newfound Chinese maritime coercion and China's vaccine diplomacy. This also means regional upsets in China's relationship with the ASEAN and Western powers such as the U.S. ASEAN must negotiate the code of conduct with China the soonest as the new law heightens tensions abroad. These can only mean heightened major power struggles as the U.S. enters the fray, reinforcing and shoring up its Indo-Pacific alliances. All these as the Philippines is embroiled once more in a spike of COVID-19 cases unseen since 2020.

Newsletter Issue 2, sr. 2022

Uncertainties persist!

The world is asunder by big power rivalry and the rippling effects is being felt more and more by Filipinos. Late February, the world was taken aback by a new development in Europe: Russia's invasion of Ukraine - the largest ground war in Europe and the fastest growing refugee crisis, both since the Second World War. Up north, outside and beyond ASEAN and the vast Indo-Pacific region, Europe is embroiled in a geopolitical turmoil with Russia over Ukraine.

Newsletter Issue 3, sr. 2021

The third edition of the Philippine Maritime Matters builds on developing stories from the past two months.

China recently passed its Coast Guard Law, flaring already-heightened tensions in the contested region. Recent events, however, marked a significantly new low for regional stability. According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Chinese fishing vessels were seen in Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef), allegedly taking shelter from inclement weather at the time. These were initially accepted by the Philippine Government as vessels are allowed to take temporary shelter from natural calamities under international law. But these vessels have not moved despite clearer skies and calmer seas. The positioning of these fishing vessels also seem unorthodox. According to Chinese authorities, it seems that this is their exercise of sovereign rights over the maritime features - a mark off from the initial weather concern. This has sparked a series of exchange between the Philippine Government and Chinese embassy officials. This is on top of the issue that the Philippines is facing as it grapples with China's 'vaccine diplomacy'.

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Newsletter Issue 3, sr. 2022

Pandemic, war, and looming instability - the world remains at a standstill.

As the Ukraine-Russia war enters the seventh week early April, the world continues to find itself in a gridlock with neither side budging - Russia remains hell-bent on its incursion of Ukraine; the besieged country continues on the defensive; and the world continues to shift its strategies and policies around the situation. China remains embroiled in a diplomatic debacle following its decision to remain neutral, hypocritical of its desire to be an upstanding member of the international community.

Newsletter Issue 4, sr. 2021

The fourth edition of the Philippine Maritime Matters builds on developing stories from the past three months.

Heat on China persists as it continues its presence within the Philippines' exclusive economic zones for the entirety of April. Various actors - domestic and international - are now unanimous in expressing discontent with China's behavior in the disputed regions. Just last month, it has increased its presence over Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef).

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Newsletter Issue 4, sr. 2022

Tense development grips the Philippines and the world over; dangerous threats - viral and nuclear - are making an eerie comeback. Up north, word of nuclear weaponry is taking hold. If the war between Ukraine and Russia does not de-escalate in the foreseeable future, an escalation towards more dangerous arms could result in scorched earths. Russia tested its nuclear capable intercontinental ballistic missiles, preparing for a retaliatory offensive following weeks of effective Ukrainian defense.

Newsletter Issue 5, sr. 2021

So many issues, so little time!

The fifth edition of the Philippine Maritime Matters builds on developing stories from the past few months.

The political theatre of the South China Sea (SCS) continues to evolve as China's maritime militia takes center-stage, after being exposed more than a month ago. This gives relevant stakeholders sufficient data on how to strategically deal with China's gray zone tactics in the region. But it does not end there, and it shouldn't. The Philippines will have much more to do in terms of clarifying its commitment to its SCS claims and its China policy, but our servicemen and servicewomen from law enforcement are now taking strides in securing the country's national interests.


This archive contains past editions of the Philippine Maritime Matters newsletter.

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