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

Is Manila pivoting back to the US with Locsin’s South China Sea warning?

Unexpected warning by Manila’s foreign secretary over Chinese naval exercises comes as US and Chinese forces gather in the disputed waters, so close they can see each other.

6 Jul 2020 - 11:45PM

Unexpected warning by Manila’s foreign secretary over Chinese naval exercises comes as US and Chinese forces gather in the disputed waters, so close they can see each other.

Is Manila pivoting back to the US with Locsin’s South China Sea warning?
Has the Philippines contained Covid-19? Cebu City suggests otherwise

There were more than 5,500 Covid-19 cases there as of Monday, along with some 150 deaths.

3 Jul 2020 - 4:49AM

There were more than 5,500 Covid-19 cases there as of Monday, along with some 150 deaths.

Has the Philippines contained Covid-19? Cebu City suggests otherwise
Sedition case against Philippine teacher who threatened Duterte’s life dropped

The warrantless arrest of Ronnel Mas, who tweeted he would pay anyone willing to kill Duterte, is ‘unlawful’, says a judge.

25 Jun 2020 - 9:26PM

The warrantless arrest of Ronnel Mas, who tweeted he would pay anyone willing to kill Duterte, is ‘unlawful’, says a judge.

Sedition case against Philippine teacher who threatened Duterte’s life dropped
Philippine ‘Megastar’ Sharon Cuneta vows revenge against troll for rape threat against daughter

Cuneta’s daughter, Frankie Pangilinan, earlier this month criticised rape culture and victim-blaming in the Philippines.

23 Jun 2020 - 10:56AM

Cuneta’s daughter, Frankie Pangilinan, earlier this month criticised rape culture and victim-blaming in the Philippines.

Philippine ‘Megastar’ Sharon Cuneta vows revenge against troll for rape threat against daughter
In the Philippines, the death of a stranded mother highlights Manila’s commuter nightmare

The Philippine capital has relaxed its coronavirus lockdown but most public transport is still banned and many commuters are unable to get to work.

12 Jun 2020 - 10:33PM

The Philippine capital has relaxed its coronavirus lockdown but most public transport is still banned and many commuters are unable to get to work.

In the Philippines, the death of a stranded mother highlights Manila’s commuter nightmare
Who is behind surge in fake Facebook accounts in the Philippines?

Cloned accounts have been sending death threats to their real owners, many of whom are students and journalists opposed to the Duterte administration’s anti-terrorism bill.

8 Jun 2020 - 10:27PM

Cloned accounts have been sending death threats to their real owners, many of whom are students and journalists opposed to the Duterte administration’s anti-terrorism bill.

Who is behind surge in fake Facebook accounts in the Philippines?
Coronavirus: Philippines capital emerges from lockdown into economic uncertainty, fears of second wave of infection

The Philippine capital has endured one of the world’s longest lockdowns, which has hit the livelihoods of millions but not halted a steady stream of new infections.

1 Jun 2020 - 9:29AM

The Philippine capital has endured one of the world’s longest lockdowns, which has hit the livelihoods of millions but not halted a steady stream of new infections.

Coronavirus: Philippines capital emerges from lockdown into economic uncertainty, fears of second wave of infection
Coronavirus: Philippines allows thousands of OFWs trapped in quarantine limbo to go home

Delays with testing and the issuing of health certificates have left up to 24,000 repatriated workers stuck aboard cruise ships or in hotels and crowded health facilities.

25 May 2020 - 11:49PM

Delays with testing and the issuing of health certificates have left up to 24,000 repatriated workers stuck aboard cruise ships or in hotels and crowded health facilities.

Coronavirus: Philippines allows thousands of OFWs trapped in quarantine limbo to go home
Five Filipinos arrested for death threats against Rodrigo Duterte on social media

The warrantless arrests come a month after Duterte appeared to give police permission to ‘shoot dead’ violators of the Philippines’ coronavirus lockdown.

21 May 2020 - 9:24PM

The warrantless arrests come a month after Duterte appeared to give police permission to ‘shoot dead’ violators of the Philippines’ coronavirus lockdown.

Five Filipinos arrested for death threats against Rodrigo Duterte on social media
Coronavirus threatens Philippines’ ‘economic lifeline’ of OFW remittances

A wave of returning workers could upend a long established fact in the Philippines: that it can count on remittances from abroad to bolster its economy.

17 May 2020 - 8:10PM

A wave of returning workers could upend a long established fact in the Philippines: that it can count on remittances from abroad to bolster its economy.

Coronavirus threatens Philippines’ ‘economic lifeline’ of OFW remittances
Philippines move for firms catering to Chinese gamblers to reopen amid lockdown faces backlash

Philippine offshore gaming operators, or Pogos, were allowed to resume operations on May 1 subject to certain conditions.

5 May 2020 - 9:19PM

Philippine offshore gaming operators, or Pogos, were allowed to resume operations on May 1 subject to certain conditions.

Philippines move for firms catering to Chinese gamblers to reopen amid lockdown faces backlash
Coronavirus: elderly backlash forces Philippines to rethink quarantine exit plan

Duterte’s spokesman prompted outrage by saying people over 60 would need to stay at home even after measures were lifted. Angry seniors pointed out Duterte is 75.

1 May 2020 - 9:38PM

Duterte’s spokesman prompted outrage by saying people over 60 would need to stay at home even after measures were lifted. Angry seniors pointed out Duterte is 75.

Coronavirus: elderly backlash forces Philippines to rethink quarantine exit plan
‘Laughable, cynical’: Filipinos pan Chinese coronavirus music video as South China Sea propaganda

‘If you have a best friend and you always argue over basketball, you don’t discuss this when you want to promote harmony’.

27 Apr 2020 - 10:31PM

‘If you have a best friend and you always argue over basketball, you don’t discuss this when you want to promote harmony’.

‘Laughable, cynical’: Filipinos pan Chinese coronavirus music video as South China Sea propaganda
Coronavirus: Philippine police shoot army veteran dead as lockdown tensions mount

Analysts said the shooting could cause friction between the two forces charged with managing the quarantine of some 60 million people on Luzon island.

23 Apr 2020 - 10:31PM

Analysts said the shooting could cause friction between the two forces charged with managing the quarantine of some 60 million people on Luzon island.

Coronavirus: Philippine police shoot army veteran dead as lockdown tensions mount
Coronavirus: fears grow of ‘martial-law like’ lockdown in the Philippines

Heavy handed police tactics and a leaked military memo have conjured the spectre of martial law, which President Rodrigo Duterte is not averse to imposing.

21 Apr 2020 - 5:13AM

Heavy handed police tactics and a leaked military memo have conjured the spectre of martial law, which President Rodrigo Duterte is not averse to imposing.

Coronavirus: fears grow of ‘martial-law like’ lockdown in the Philippines
Coronavirus: in the Philippines, cargo containers packed with food pile up in ports amid lockdown

Some 8,200 containers – many containing much-needed supplies – are lying unclaimed in Manila’s ports due to transport restrictions and lack of personnel.

2 Apr 2020 - 9:45PM

Some 8,200 containers – many containing much-needed supplies – are lying unclaimed in Manila’s ports due to transport restrictions and lack of personnel.

Coronavirus: in the Philippines, cargo containers packed with food pile up in ports amid lockdown
Coronavirus: Duterte ally Koko Pimentel blasted for putting health care workers in danger as more doctors die

Doctors and staff quarantined after senator Koko Pimentel, who has Covid-19, violated home quarantine to take his pregnant wife to a Manila hospital.

26 Mar 2020 - 10:23PM

Doctors and staff quarantined after senator Koko Pimentel, who has Covid-19, violated home quarantine to take his pregnant wife to a Manila hospital.

Coronavirus: Duterte ally Koko Pimentel blasted for putting health care workers in danger as more doctors die
Coronavirus: in Philippines, leak shows politicians and relatives received ‘VIP’ testing

At least two dozen politicians and public officials as well as their relatives were tested despite showing no symptoms, whistle-blowers have revealed.

25 Mar 2020 - 9:02PM

At least two dozen politicians and public officials as well as their relatives were tested despite showing no symptoms, whistle-blowers have revealed.

Coronavirus: in Philippines, leak shows politicians and relatives received ‘VIP’ testing
Chinese workers in Philippines deported as Beijing cracks down on online crimes

China has cancelled the passports of hundreds of its offshore workers, as it cracks down on illegal overseas online crimes such as gambling and fraud.

25 Feb 2020 - 10:59PM

China has cancelled the passports of hundreds of its offshore workers, as it cracks down on illegal overseas online crimes such as gambling and fraud.

Chinese workers in Philippines deported as Beijing cracks down on online crimes
‘I love this guy’: Duterte backs his immigration chief amid probe on illegal Chinese workers

Jaime Morente, Duterte’s close ally, is being ‘assessed’ for links to an operation which saw officials letting in Chinese nationals into the country for bribes.

21 Feb 2020 - 10:04PM

Jaime Morente, Duterte’s close ally, is being ‘assessed’ for links to an operation which saw officials letting in Chinese nationals into the country for bribes.

‘I love this guy’: Duterte backs his immigration chief amid probe on illegal Chinese workers
Philippine immigration scam for Chinese travellers involved 9 in 10 staff, says whistle-blower

Even criminals could buy entry to the Philippines, says immigration officer who noticed ‘dramatic increase’ in Chinese arrivals as disgruntled staff turned to accepting bribes.

20 Feb 2020 - 11:51PM

Even criminals could buy entry to the Philippines, says immigration officer who noticed ‘dramatic increase’ in Chinese arrivals as disgruntled staff turned to accepting bribes.

Philippine immigration scam for Chinese travellers involved 9 in 10 staff, says whistle-blower
Philippine airport syndicate has sweet deal for Chinese nationals looking to work illegally

Immigration officials at Manila airport are taking bribes, called pastillas after a Philippine confectionery, to provide priority entry to Chinese nationals.

22 Feb 2020 - 7:10PM

Immigration officials at Manila airport are taking bribes, called pastillas after a Philippine confectionery, to provide priority entry to Chinese nationals.

Philippine airport syndicate has sweet deal for Chinese nationals looking to work illegally
Coronavirus: travel ban keeps up to 30,000 Filipino workers away from Hong Kong jobs

Filipino workers are sharing stories of lives torn apart and financial losses after being prevented from returning to Hong Kong after Manila banned travel to and from China.

17 Feb 2020 - 9:36PM

Filipino workers are sharing stories of lives torn apart and financial losses after being prevented from returning to Hong Kong after Manila banned travel to and from China.

Coronavirus: travel ban keeps up to 30,000 Filipino workers away from Hong Kong jobs
Coronavirus: Filipino workers stranded in Manila ask World Court to overturn Duterte’s Hong Kong travel ban

More than 1,000 Filipinos employed in Hong Kong as engineers, pilots and domestic helpers have been unable to leave the Philippines since February 2.

15 Feb 2020 - 7:59AM

More than 1,000 Filipinos employed in Hong Kong as engineers, pilots and domestic helpers have been unable to leave the Philippines since February 2.

Coronavirus: Filipino workers stranded in Manila ask World Court to overturn Duterte’s Hong Kong travel ban
Critics slam Duterte’s move to axe franchise of Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN

In a Supreme Court filing, the Duterte government accused ABS-CBN of greedy business practices and breaching ownership laws.

12 Feb 2020 - 10:01PM

In a Supreme Court filing, the Duterte government accused ABS-CBN of greedy business practices and breaching ownership laws.

Critics slam Duterte’s move to axe franchise of Philippine broadcaster ABS-CBN
Coronavirus, South China Sea politics fuel anti-Chinese sentiment in the Philippines

While the Southeast Asian nation has just three confirmed cases, experts say fears over the virus’ spread are threatening to become an ‘epidemic of racism’.

19 Mar 2020 - 1:01AM

While the Southeast Asian nation has just three confirmed cases, experts say fears over the virus’ spread are threatening to become an ‘epidemic of racism’.

Coronavirus, South China Sea politics fuel anti-Chinese sentiment in the Philippines
Duterte says Philippines will not deport Chinese nationals amid coronavirus outbreak

He also pledged solidarity with Beijing as it looks to curb the spread of the virus, saying ‘China has been kind to us’.

19 Mar 2020 - 12:31AM

He also pledged solidarity with Beijing as it looks to curb the spread of the virus, saying ‘China has been kind to us’.

Duterte says Philippines will not deport Chinese nationals amid coronavirus outbreak
Chinese prostitution dens sell sex on WeChat and Telegram like it’s ‘fast food’, Philippine senate hears

A Philippine senate committee has gained a shocking insight into the world of Chinese-run brothels, where prostitutes are priced according to nationality and sold on apps like a takeaway.

17 Feb 2020 - 2:08PM

A Philippine senate committee has gained a shocking insight into the world of Chinese-run brothels, where prostitutes are priced according to nationality and sold on apps like a takeaway.

Chinese prostitution dens sell sex on WeChat and Telegram like it’s ‘fast food’, Philippine senate hears
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