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.
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

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.

26 Sep 2019 - 8:38PM

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.

13 Sep 2019 - 7:43PM

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.

5 Sep 2019 - 10:38PM

‘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.

25 Aug 2019 - 10:20PM

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
Philippine ex-mayor serving 360 years in jail for rape and murder may walk free after just 24

Antonio Sanchez, now 70, is in prison for the 1993 rape and killing of university student Eileen Sarmenta while he led the town of Calauan.

22 Aug 2019 - 2:51AM

Antonio Sanchez, now 70, is in prison for the 1993 rape and killing of university student Eileen Sarmenta while he led the town of Calauan.

Philippine ex-mayor serving 360 years in jail for rape and murder may walk free after just 24
Duterte orders foreign ships to gain permission to sail in Philippine waters, in message aimed at China

Manila warned that non-compliance of the new rule, aimed at China, could result in an ‘unfriendly’ response by the country’s armed forces.

20 Aug 2019 - 10:28PM

Manila warned that non-compliance of the new rule, aimed at China, could result in an ‘unfriendly’ response by the country’s armed forces.

Duterte orders foreign ships to gain permission to sail in Philippine waters, in message aimed at China
Watch your kids, they might be terrorists, parents in the Philippines told

President Rodrigo Duterte’s former police chief Ronald dela Rosa says communist groups are out to brainwash the nation’s children.

12 Aug 2019 - 6:52PM

President Rodrigo Duterte’s former police chief Ronald dela Rosa says communist groups are out to brainwash the nation’s children.

Watch your kids, they might be terrorists, parents in the Philippines told
When is a gift to a Filipino cop not bribery? When it’s given with ‘gratitude’, President Duterte says

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticised for comments that have been interpreted as his endorsement of police accepting bribes.

11 Aug 2019 - 9:05PM

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been criticised for comments that have been interpreted as his endorsement of police accepting bribes.

When is a gift to a Filipino cop not bribery? When it’s given with ‘gratitude’, President Duterte says
Why the Philippine economy is trading call centres for casinos

Business process outsourcing, a little known backbone of the country’s prosperity, is under threat from Chinese online gambling, efforts to spread the wealth outside big cities, and artificial intelligence.

11 Aug 2019 - 2:04PM

Business process outsourcing, a little known backbone of the country’s prosperity, is under threat from Chinese online gambling, efforts to spread the wealth outside big cities, and artificial intelligence.

Why the Philippine economy is trading call centres for casinos
Will Duterte mention fishing deal with China in State of Nation address? No one knows for sure

The Philippines president has been unpredictable in previous year’s speeches. This year, he has said he will ‘educate’ Filipinos about his verbal agreement with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the disputed South China Sea.

21 Jul 2019 - 11:20PM

The Philippines president has been unpredictable in previous year’s speeches. This year, he has said he will ‘educate’ Filipinos about his verbal agreement with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in the disputed South China Sea.

Will Duterte mention fishing deal with China in State of Nation address? No one knows for sure
Duterte and his crew of foul-mouthed Philippine officials: the new normal?

The Philippine leader’s love for making provocative remarks has resulted in copycat behaviour by his officials. But Duterte’s crassness has been welcomed by some people, who admire him for speaking his mind.

18 Jul 2019 - 7:34PM

The Philippine leader’s love for making provocative remarks has resulted in copycat behaviour by his officials. But Duterte’s crassness has been welcomed by some people, who admire him for speaking his mind.

Duterte and his crew of foul-mouthed Philippine officials: the new normal?
Duterte-Xi deal on China fishing in Philippine waters ‘not enforceable’: foreign secretary Locsin

The Philippine president claimed last month he could not go back on a verbal deal he made with the Chinese leader in 2016. But his comments appear to have been contradicted by his own foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jnr

4 Jul 2019 - 11:21AM

The Philippine president claimed last month he could not go back on a verbal deal he made with the Chinese leader in 2016. But his comments appear to have been contradicted by his own foreign secretary, Teodoro Locsin Jnr

Duterte-Xi deal on China fishing in Philippine waters ‘not enforceable’: foreign secretary Locsin
Former Philippine diplomat Albert del Rosario defends using diplomatic passport to enter Hong Kong after Duterte criticism

he former foreign secretary and another Philippine official in March sued President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials for ‘atrocious actions’ in the South China Sea and Philippine territory.

27 Jun 2019 - 10:28PM

he former foreign secretary and another Philippine official in March sued President Xi Jinping and other Chinese officials for ‘atrocious actions’ in the South China Sea and Philippine territory.

Former Philippine diplomat Albert del Rosario defends using diplomatic passport to enter Hong Kong after Duterte criticism
Ex-officials criticise Duterte administration’s soft approach towards China, as Philippine foreign ministry cancels diplomatic passports

Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, who was turned away from Hong Kong last week, called the move by the foreign ministry a ‘distraction’.

25 Jun 2019 - 9:36AM

Former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario, who was turned away from Hong Kong last week, called the move by the foreign ministry a ‘distraction’.

Ex-officials criticise Duterte administration’s soft approach towards China, as Philippine foreign ministry cancels diplomatic passports
‘Duterte coward’: Filipinos’ opinions of president and Beijing government sour after South China Sea sinking

It took three days for news of the collision between a Philippine fishing boat and Chinese coastguard vessel to reach the public. But when it did, anger grew rapidly.

22 Jun 2019 - 11:04PM

It took three days for news of the collision between a Philippine fishing boat and Chinese coastguard vessel to reach the public. But when it did, anger grew rapidly.

‘Duterte coward’: Filipinos’ opinions of president and Beijing government sour after South China Sea sinking
Philippine midterm elections: Mocha Uson, ‘queen of fake news’, fails to win House seat

Mocha Uson has a varied résumé: she’s a dancer, model, sex coach and a former assistant secretary of the presidential communications office. But this week, the controversial Duterte ally failed to add ‘congresswoman’ to the list

16 May 2019 - 11:19AM

Mocha Uson has a varied résumé: she’s a dancer, model, sex coach and a former assistant secretary of the presidential communications office. But this week, the controversial Duterte ally failed to add ‘congresswoman’ to the list

Philippine midterm elections: Mocha Uson, ‘queen of fake news’, fails to win House seat