Alan Robles

Alan Robles

Alan Robles has been a journalist for more than 30 years and has written for the SCMP since 2002. A freelance foreign correspondent specialising in politics, development, foreign affairs, science, environment and IT, he has a humour column at abs-cbnnews.com and runs the political satire site hotmanila.ph. He lectured for 12 years on digital media at the Internationales Institut fuer Journalismus in Berlin.

Latest from Alan Robles

Back Hitler, bash Mao: the tweets of Philippine foreign secretary Teddy Locsin make Trump look diplomatic

Foreign secretary Teodoro ‘Teddy Boy’ Locsin Jr is a key figure in Duterte’s ‘pivot’ from the US to China. But as his Twitter feed shows, this top diplomat is not one for diplomacy.

23 Jan 2020 - 11:19PM

Foreign secretary Teodoro ‘Teddy Boy’ Locsin Jr is a key figure in Duterte’s ‘pivot’ from the US to China. But as his Twitter feed shows, this top diplomat is not one for diplomacy.

Back Hitler, bash Mao: the tweets of Philippine foreign secretary Teddy Locsin make Trump look diplomatic
‘Erupt already so we can get it over with’: Taal Volcano evacuees want to return home

Residents of towns near Taal Volcano in the Philippines want life to return to normal, venting their frustrations against scientists for maintaining the Level 4 alert.

22 Jan 2020 - 8:39AM

Residents of towns near Taal Volcano in the Philippines want life to return to normal, venting their frustrations against scientists for maintaining the Level 4 alert.

‘Erupt already so we can get it over with’: Taal Volcano evacuees want to return home
Taal Volcano: as Philippines races to evacuate residents, some decide to stay home

With an eruption imminent, Philippine officials are racing against time to evacuate people living near the volcano, but some residents are staying put.

15 Jan 2020 - 3:26PM

With an eruption imminent, Philippine officials are racing against time to evacuate people living near the volcano, but some residents are staying put.

Taal Volcano: as Philippines races to evacuate residents, some decide to stay home
Taal volcano eruption: lava, lightning and a ‘hazardous explosion within hours’, but for some Filipinos, an eerie calm

Lava, lightning and a smell of sulphur amid apocalyptic scenes in the Philippines, but for some an eerie calm has descended.

14 Jan 2020 - 3:10PM

Lava, lightning and a smell of sulphur amid apocalyptic scenes in the Philippines, but for some an eerie calm has descended.

Taal volcano eruption: lava, lightning and a ‘hazardous explosion within hours’, but for some Filipinos, an eerie calm
Explainer | Taal Volcano is the most deadly in the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 in its history. How big is its latest eruption?

Sunday’s explosion could develop into a more violent, destructive blast, a frightening prospect given Taal has claimed 6,000 lives before.

14 Jan 2020 - 3:19PM

Sunday’s explosion could develop into a more violent, destructive blast, a frightening prospect given Taal has claimed 6,000 lives before.

Taal Volcano is the most deadly in the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 in its history. How big is its latest eruption?
Rise of Chinese-only prostitution catches Philippines by surprise

Hundreds of Chinese sex workers and brothel managers have been rounded up in raids described as a ‘new development’, as the authorities link rising vice cases to the online gambling industry.

20 Jan 2020 - 2:13PM

Hundreds of Chinese sex workers and brothel managers have been rounded up in raids described as a ‘new development’, as the authorities link rising vice cases to the online gambling industry.

Rise of Chinese-only prostitution catches Philippines by surprise
A Chinese crime wave hits Duterte’s Philippines as Pogos grow unchecked

With 67 gambling-related kidnappings since 2017, why is the Duterte administration having trouble cracking down on the situation?

27 Dec 2019 - 9:30PM

With 67 gambling-related kidnappings since 2017, why is the Duterte administration having trouble cracking down on the situation?

A Chinese crime wave hits Duterte’s Philippines as Pogos grow unchecked
Philippines’ dismal Pisa scores spark soul-searching over state of education

Filipino children ranked last in reading and second to last in maths and science in an international survey.

8 Dec 2019 - 9:00AM

Filipino children ranked last in reading and second to last in maths and science in an international survey.

Philippines’ dismal Pisa scores spark soul-searching over state of education
SEA Games in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines likened to Fyre Festival after series of complaints

Long waits, poor organisation and incomplete facilities at the competition have garnered complaints – but politicians are more concerned with a bout of finger-pointing over who is responsible.

27 Nov 2019 - 5:58AM

Long waits, poor organisation and incomplete facilities at the competition have garnered complaints – but politicians are more concerned with a bout of finger-pointing over who is responsible.

SEA Games in Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines likened to Fyre Festival after series of complaints
Analysis | Duterte played China over online gambling. The house won

Duterte turned a blind eye when Chinese offshore gambling firms rolled into town and flashed the cash. Now he’s struggling to see how the taxman can take a cut.

6 Dec 2019 - 10:41AM

Duterte turned a blind eye when Chinese offshore gambling firms rolled into town and flashed the cash. Now he’s struggling to see how the taxman can take a cut.

Duterte played China over online gambling. The house won
Safety fears after Philippines names Oxfam a front for communist terror

A national council of churches and women’s political advocacy group were likewise singled out as communist fronts by the country’s armed forces this week, raising fears for their members’ safety.

10 Nov 2019 - 10:27PM

A national council of churches and women’s political advocacy group were likewise singled out as communist fronts by the country’s armed forces this week, raising fears for their members’ safety.

Safety fears after Philippines names Oxfam a front for communist terror
How Gretchen and Marjorie Barretto feud shocked Rodrigo Duterte and transfixed Filipinos

A brawl that began in front of the Philippine president has spiralled into a battle between three famous sisters on social media. It has transfixed Filipinos – and got the Department of Transport worried for their safety.

27 Oct 2019 - 12:26PM

A brawl that began in front of the Philippine president has spiralled into a battle between three famous sisters on social media. It has transfixed Filipinos – and got the Department of Transport worried for their safety.

How Gretchen and Marjorie Barretto feud shocked Rodrigo Duterte and transfixed Filipinos
Philippines police chief lost moral standing over ‘ninja cops’ scandal: critics

Albayalde is the second official appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to have left their post amid scandal in recent months.

15 Oct 2019 - 9:41PM

Albayalde is the second official appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to have left their post amid scandal in recent months.

Philippines police chief lost moral standing over ‘ninja cops’ scandal: critics
Filipino artist Carlos Celdran, convicted of blasphemy against the Catholic Church, dies aged 46

Celdran staged a protest in Manila Cathedral after the church opposed a law allowing Filipinos access to family planning education and contraceptives. He went into self-exile after his appeal against a blasphemy conviction was turned down by the Supreme Court in 2018.

14 Oct 2019 - 1:48PM

Celdran staged a protest in Manila Cathedral after the church opposed a law allowing Filipinos access to family planning education and contraceptives. He went into self-exile after his appeal against a blasphemy conviction was turned down by the Supreme Court in 2018.

Filipino artist Carlos Celdran, convicted of blasphemy against the Catholic Church, dies aged 46
Duterte’s spokesman takes three-hour commute to work after accepting public transport dare

The stunt led some Filipinos, tired of enduring crippling traffic which has long plagued Manila, to lash out on social media.

12 Oct 2019 - 10:45PM

The stunt led some Filipinos, tired of enduring crippling traffic which has long plagued Manila, to lash out on social media.

Duterte’s spokesman takes three-hour commute to work after accepting public transport dare
In Duterte’s drug war, Filipino ‘ninja cops’ are becoming the new dealers

The scandal involves a group of corrupt policemen who seize drugs and go into business for themselves. Despite widespread condemnation and an ongoing senate investigation, none of these policemen has ever even been arrested.

6 Oct 2019 - 8:00AM

The scandal involves a group of corrupt policemen who seize drugs and go into business for themselves. Despite widespread condemnation and an ongoing senate investigation, none of these policemen has ever even been arrested.

In Duterte’s drug war, Filipino ‘ninja cops’ are becoming the new dealers
Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte hands ‘queen of fake news’ Mocha Uson plum overseas workers post

Model and sex coach Esther Margaux Uson is now deputy administrator for media affairs at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, which caters to millions of Filipinos abroad.

2 Oct 2019 - 9:24PM

Model and sex coach Esther Margaux Uson is now deputy administrator for media affairs at the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, which caters to millions of Filipinos abroad.

Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte hands ‘queen of fake news’ Mocha Uson plum overseas workers post
In the Philippines, will African Swine Fever be the Grinch that stole Christmas ham?

A Filipino Christmas without ham is like an American Thanksgiving without turkey – and amid bans and restrictions, experts say the negative sentiment ‘endangers’ the US$5.75 billion industry.

29 Sep 2019 - 10:30PM

A Filipino Christmas without ham is like an American Thanksgiving without turkey – and amid bans and restrictions, experts say the negative sentiment ‘endangers’ the US$5.75 billion industry.

In the Philippines, will African Swine Fever be the Grinch that stole Christmas ham?
Casino kidnappers in the Philippines will be caught ‘dead or alive’, Duterte warns as Chinese flock to gambling boom

Philippine president says foreign bandits holding indebted overseas gamblers for ransom will be arrested and killed.

12 Dec 2019 - 1:43PM

Philippine president says foreign bandits holding indebted overseas gamblers for ransom will be arrested and killed.

Casino kidnappers in the Philippines will be caught ‘dead or alive’, Duterte warns as Chinese flock to gambling boom
Philippine prison officials jailed for giving evasive answers as senators investigate early-release scandal

Senators became enraged after the three Corrections officials could not give satisfactory answers to questions about corruption in New Bilibid Prison.

18 Sep 2019 - 2:54PM

Senators became enraged after the three Corrections officials could not give satisfactory answers to questions about corruption in New Bilibid Prison.

Philippine prison officials jailed for giving evasive answers as senators investigate early-release scandal
In the Philippines, African swine fever threatens a national culinary obsession

Filipinos have had a centuries-long love affair with pork, but the industry is now under threat despite authorities assuring diners the meat is still safe.

17 Sep 2019 - 9:33PM

Filipinos have had a centuries-long love affair with pork, but the industry is now under threat despite authorities assuring diners the meat is still safe.

In the Philippines, African swine fever threatens a national culinary obsession
Explainer | Explained: the Philippines’ communist rebellion is Asia’s longest-running insurgency

The rebels have never politically controlled any province or even a single city. However, from bases in the forests and mountains across the country, guerillas have waged Asia’s longest-running insurgency.

16 Sep 2019 - 2:13PM

The rebels have never politically controlled any province or even a single city. However, from bases in the forests and mountains across the country, guerillas have waged Asia’s longest-running insurgency.

Explained: the Philippines’ communist rebellion is Asia’s longest-running insurgency
Will backlash force Duterte to retreat from South China Sea oil exploration deal with Beijing?

The Philippine leader is willing to ‘ignore’ a decision on sovereignty claims by an international tribunal at The Hague so he can strike a deal with China to jointly extract resources, but in the face of a public backlash, his spokesman now denies the president plans to ‘set aside’ the UN ruling.

12 Dec 2019 - 1:50PM

The Philippine leader is willing to ‘ignore’ a decision on sovereignty claims by an international tribunal at The Hague so he can strike a deal with China to jointly extract resources, but in the face of a public backlash, his spokesman now denies the president plans to ‘set aside’ the UN ruling.

Will backlash force Duterte to retreat from South China Sea oil exploration deal with Beijing?
Philippine news group Abante hit by arson attack as armed intruders set fire to printing plant

Hooded men threaten staff with guns and throw petrol over machinery and paper stocks before igniting blaze and fleeing on motorcycles.

10 Sep 2019 - 9:49PM

Hooded men threaten staff with guns and throw petrol over machinery and paper stocks before igniting blaze and fleeing on motorcycles.

Philippine news group Abante hit by arson attack as armed intruders set fire to printing plant
‘Any suggestion?’ Philippine president Duterte asks after Xi Jinping reaffirms South China Sea claims

‘Have you heard of any sane solution short of going to war,’ Duterte says when pressed over meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

12 Dec 2019 - 1:55PM

‘Have you heard of any sane solution short of going to war,’ Duterte says when pressed over meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

‘Any suggestion?’ Philippine president Duterte asks after Xi Jinping reaffirms South China Sea claims
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo wrote referral letter for jailed ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez serving 360-year sentence

The wife of convicted rapist Antonio Sanchez revealed she asked some officials, including presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, to write referral letters to help her husband with a clemency appeal.

4 Sep 2019 - 8:27AM

The wife of convicted rapist Antonio Sanchez revealed she asked some officials, including presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, to write referral letters to help her husband with a clemency appeal.

Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo wrote referral letter for jailed ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez serving 360-year sentence
Netflix show inspires ‘designated survivor’ bills in Philippines

Two Philippine lawmakers have filed bills which would allow the president to designate a line of succession in case the country’s top leadership is wiped out, after being influenced by a Netflix political thriller.

4 Sep 2019 - 11:49AM

Two Philippine lawmakers have filed bills which would allow the president to designate a line of succession in case the country’s top leadership is wiped out, after being influenced by a Netflix political thriller.

Netflix show inspires ‘designated survivor’ bills in Philippines
Toads, fish and herbal tea used to fight dengue as epidemic spreads across the Philippines

Villages have poured toads and mosquitofish in canals to target the larvae of the Aedes mosquitoes. But experts have warned that the predators may themselves become toxic pests.

1 Sep 2019 - 9:54PM

Villages have poured toads and mosquitofish in canals to target the larvae of the Aedes mosquitoes. But experts have warned that the predators may themselves become toxic pests.

Toads, fish and herbal tea used to fight dengue as epidemic spreads across the Philippines
Philippines hits pause on early release for ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez serving 360 years in jail amid outrage

Sanchez was set to have been freed on August 20, his family said, after serving 24 years of a 360-year sentence for rape and multiple murders.

28 Aug 2019 - 5:45PM

Sanchez was set to have been freed on August 20, his family said, after serving 24 years of a 360-year sentence for rape and multiple murders.

Philippines hits pause on early release for ex-mayor Antonio Sanchez serving 360 years in jail amid outrage
Sea policy on the hop: ‘erratic’ Philippine solutions to Chinese ship incursions

Philippines warns of ‘unfriendly’ response to incursions by all foreign vessels, but makes exception for Chinese oceanographic research ship.

12 Dec 2019 - 3:26PM

Philippines warns of ‘unfriendly’ response to incursions by all foreign vessels, but makes exception for Chinese oceanographic research ship.

Sea policy on the hop: ‘erratic’ Philippine solutions to Chinese ship incursions