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Ladylyn Lim Mangada and Yvonne Su

Abstract

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on November 8, 2013, it took the lives of over 6,300 people. Many of those who died were men who did not evacuate in order to protect their homes. As a result, widowhood was a significant and devastating consequence of Haiyan, but widowed women were also one of the most neglected and underserved vulnerable populations in the aftermath of the disaster. The data used in this study were drawn from 15 semi-structured interviews and three focus group discussions with widowed women in three areas in the province of Leyte that were heavily affected by Haiyan: Tacloban City, Palo, and Tanauan. Our fieldwork uncovered that while the delivery of humanitarian assistance provided a modicum of human security to the survivors, the ability for widows to achieve human security was severely reduced and constrained. Thus, the main research question of this paper is: “What undermined the widows from attaining human security after Haiyan?” and we argue that there were four main factors: (1) the lack of equal access to economic opportunities; (2) the occurrence of new risks in the resettlement sites; (3) the inability of institutions to respond and adapt to change; and (4) the absence of survivor-centered decision making venues. To overcome these barriers to human security in the future, we make two key policy recommendations on how local government units, being the primary organizations that deliver prevention and response services, need to do. These are: (1) prioritize the elimination of existing economic and social vulnerabilities in the relocation sites, and (2) prepare the widows and their families for future climate shocks.

Epistemological Borders and Crossings in the War against ISIS in the Philippines

The Impact of ‘Ungrievable Lives’ on National Political Discourse

Eduardo T. Gonzalez

Abstract

Following the approach of Judith Butler in Frames of war: When is life grievable? and similar theoretical perspectives, the paper examines how the war against ISIS in Southern Philippines discursively represents the “other” – the victims of war – as dispensable “collateral damage”. There is no disputing that the siege of Marawi City by an ISIS- inspired group has taken a terrible toll on human life and has exposed the increasing vulnerability of the country to terrorism. Yet, the relation between the state and the displaced victims that emerged, brought forth in and through media reporting and political commentaries, constitutes an epistemological border that casts the military (as the state’s instrument) as the uncontested heroic entity, yet at the same time keeps the dislocated inhabitants – mostly Muslim minorities – out of sight, inaccessible, and in due course ungrievable. Media texts and commentaries, privileging state perspectives and sources, implicitly establish what counts as “grievable” lives. A privileged hegemonic perspective has kept the war victims de-subjectified, rendering their suffering and the grave humanitarian conditions on the ground unproblematic. The paper then looks into how a “desensitized” political discourse is structured by this new cognitive orientation. While some Marawi voices still surface, the focus is on gaining direct public empathy and identification toward a particular side and engendering moral indifference toward the victims. Lastly, the paper looks at epistemological crossings in the form of alternative (and potentially disruptive) discourses that have emerged, despite the narrowed liminal space. It argues that war victims, in a context of new meanings, retain some form of agency that might engender change, and could reemerge as recognizable voices who can participate as full partners in the collective restoration of Marawi and the Muslim community.

Cielo Magno and Ricardo Rafael S. Guzman

Abstract

Economies that derive substantial government revenues from natural resources face the unique challenge of implementing fiscal regimes that deliver a fair share of rents without discouraging private investment in extractive sectors. However, designing progressive and non-distortionary fiscal tools requires an evaluation of the current fiscal regime and the extent to which it captures the resource rent – the surplus return above the value of capital, labor, and opportunity costs incurred to exploit the resource. To evaluate the efficiency of the Philippines’ fiscal regime, we compare the resource rent to government revenues from mining activity. Then, we estimate the effective tax rates under the current fiscal regime and other combinations of fiscal tools. First, we look at aggregated tax payments of all large-scale mining companies over a ten-year period and compare them with the estimated resource rent. Second, we model the different tax regimes using firm-level data from a nickel mine. We propose a fiscal regime for the mining sector in the Philippines that is least distortionary while appropriate given the country’s regulatory context and administrative capacity.

Maria Ela L. Atienza

Noel Christian A. Moratilla

Abstract

The uprising alternately called EDSA Revolution or People Power Revolution or EDSA People Power Revolt, which led to the downfall of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986, supposedly ushered in the formal restoration of civil freedoms that had been snatched away by Marcos’ martial law. In the aftermath of the uprising, formal democratic institutions and civil rights were returned, including the right to free elections and the right to peaceful assembly. But as this article seeks to show, the administrations after EDSA have been marred by the neglect of workers’ welfare and the failure to address old labor concerns such as inadequate wages, job precarity, and contractualization. Given the shortage of employment opportunities in the Philippines, the administrations after EDSA have also promoted migration as its de facto job-generating mechanism. But the export of human resources is not without its ugly consequences, such as making overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) susceptible to abuse and exploitation. Deploying the notion of counter-history and using various materials from both government and non-government organizations, this article undertakes to critically assess the labor conditions during the historical period after the fabled EDSA People Power Revolt, and concludes that no notable changes have taken place.

Arjan Aguirre

Abstract

2018 is a year of so much uneasiness and tension in Philippine politics. It saw one of the greatest crises in the Supreme Court, the bloodiest period in local politics of late, and successive attempts to silence critics of the president and the government. This year also witnessed major political alignments in the Duterte administration: a change in the leadership of the Senate, the election of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Speaker of the House, the rivalry between Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan, and the eventual termination of the alliance with the radical left. This review aims to understand these developments in Philippine politics. It seeks to know why are there so many rifts and shifts in the political rule of Duterte. These changes can be interpreted as part of an ongoing transition toward democratic regression under the Duterte regime. The disruptive events that ensued throughout the year should be understood as the offshoot of the extant efforts to alter the political status quo since the election of Duterte in 2016. The administration uses these events to consolidate its power by rallying its supporters for the 2019 midterm elections and reconfiguring the alignments within the Duterte bloc.