Raissa Robles

Raissa Robles

Raissa Robles has written for the SCMP since 1996. A freelance journalist specialising in politics, international relations, business and Muslim rebellion, she has contributed to Reuters, the Economist Intelligence Unit, Daily Mail, Times of London, Radio Netherlands and Asiaweek. She runs the award-winning investigative and opinion blog, raissarobles.com. Her book, Marcos Martial Law: Never Again, a brief history of the dictatorship won the 2017 National Book Awards for Non-Fiction. Her Twitter handle is @raissawriter.

Latest from Raissa Robles

South China Sea: why did Duterte bar Philippine military from US exercises?

Officially the move is aimed at keeping a lid on tensions, but a former senator says it is meant to ‘demonstrate allegiance to China’.

5 Aug 2020 - 8:30AM

Officially the move is aimed at keeping a lid on tensions, but a former senator says it is meant to ‘demonstrate allegiance to China’.

South China Sea: why did Duterte bar Philippine military from US exercises?
In South China Sea, Philippines is stuck between a pebble and a hard place

Manila and Beijing might be playing down differences in the South China Sea as ‘a little pebble in the road’, but they’ll have a tough time convincing the Filipino public.

2 Aug 2020 - 9:32AM

Manila and Beijing might be playing down differences in the South China Sea as ‘a little pebble in the road’, but they’ll have a tough time convincing the Filipino public.

In South China Sea, Philippines is stuck between a pebble and a hard place
Duterte asks Filipinos to ‘endure’ coronavirus curbs until December, pins hopes on China vaccine

Philippines recorded 4,063 new cases on Friday, bringing infections to 93,354 as lockdown restrictions were extended in Metro Manila.

31 Jul 2020 - 9:15PM

Philippines recorded 4,063 new cases on Friday, bringing infections to 93,354 as lockdown restrictions were extended in Metro Manila.

Duterte asks Filipinos to ‘endure’ coronavirus curbs until December, pins hopes on China vaccine
Duterte seeks Chinese coronavirus vaccine, rules out US bases in Philippines

‘I made a plea to Xi Jinping. Can we be one of the first to have it … or can we buy it?’ said President Rodrigo Duterte in State of the Nation Address.

28 Jul 2020 - 2:22PM

‘I made a plea to Xi Jinping. Can we be one of the first to have it … or can we buy it?’ said President Rodrigo Duterte in State of the Nation Address.

Duterte seeks Chinese coronavirus vaccine, rules out US bases in Philippines
Will the Philippines’ anti-terror bill crush communists, or give them a boost?

There are concerns the act will be used to ‘red-tag’ leftist organisations that hold seats in Congress, pushing some people towards the rebels.

26 Jul 2020 - 11:30AM

There are concerns the act will be used to ‘red-tag’ leftist organisations that hold seats in Congress, pushing some people towards the rebels.

Will the Philippines’ anti-terror bill crush communists, or give them a boost?
South China Sea: beware of US ‘sabotage’, Beijing warns Southeast Asia

Diplomatic spats in the Philippines and Myanmar show the superpowers’ jostling for regional influence is likely to spill over beyond the South China Sea, experts say.

21 Jul 2020 - 1:33AM

Diplomatic spats in the Philippines and Myanmar show the superpowers’ jostling for regional influence is likely to spill over beyond the South China Sea, experts say.

South China Sea: beware of US ‘sabotage’, Beijing warns Southeast Asia
Duterte reopens Philippine economy but ‘can’t be like Trump, Bolsonaro’ as Covid-19 cases rise

The president says he cannot emulate the ‘devil-may-care attitude’ of his American and Brazilian counterparts towards the pandemic as the Philippines now has the second-most confirmed infections in Southeast Asia.

9 Jul 2020 - 6:23AM

The president says he cannot emulate the ‘devil-may-care attitude’ of his American and Brazilian counterparts towards the pandemic as the Philippines now has the second-most confirmed infections in Southeast Asia.

Duterte reopens Philippine economy but ‘can’t be like Trump, Bolsonaro’ as Covid-19 cases rise
Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism law unites beauty queens, nuns and former militants in opposition

The controversial measure, which critics fear could be used to stifle dissent, has met opposition from across society – and prompted a last-gasp legal bid to stop it coming into force.

7 Jul 2020 - 11:27PM

The controversial measure, which critics fear could be used to stifle dissent, has met opposition from across society – and prompted a last-gasp legal bid to stop it coming into force.

Philippines’ Anti-Terrorism law unites beauty queens, nuns and former militants in opposition
Philippines’ OFW crisis: more than 700,000 could lose their jobs due to the coronavirus by year end

Manila is running out of money to repatriate overseas Filipino workers who have become displaced refugees due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and their numbers are set to grow.

5 Jul 2020 - 9:02PM

Manila is running out of money to repatriate overseas Filipino workers who have become displaced refugees due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and their numbers are set to grow.

Philippines’ OFW crisis: more than 700,000 could lose their jobs due to the coronavirus by year end
Rodrigo Duterte’s U-turn on VFA was motivated by South China Sea tensions, says Philippines foreign secretary

In a wide-ranging television interview, foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr also discussed China’s occupation of the Scarborough Shoal and US freedom of navigation.

23 Jun 2020 - 1:03AM

In a wide-ranging television interview, foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr also discussed China’s occupation of the Scarborough Shoal and US freedom of navigation.

Rodrigo Duterte’s U-turn on VFA was motivated by South China Sea tensions, says Philippines foreign secretary
Philippines health department probed for ‘lapses’ in coronavirus fight

The agency has come under fire as President Duterte’s sacked a special adviser who had criticised it, while the ombudsman is investigating the department for ‘irregularities’.

19 Jun 2020 - 1:42AM

The agency has come under fire as President Duterte’s sacked a special adviser who had criticised it, while the ombudsman is investigating the department for ‘irregularities’.

Philippines health department probed for ‘lapses’ in coronavirus fight
Philippine tycoon and San Miguel boss Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco dies

Popularly known as ‘Boss Danding’, he headed the conglomerate behind San Miguel beer, but remained controversial for his ties to late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

17 Jun 2020 - 10:56PM

Popularly known as ‘Boss Danding’, he headed the conglomerate behind San Miguel beer, but remained controversial for his ties to late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Philippine tycoon and San Miguel boss Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco dies
Philippine journalist Maria Ressa prepares for jail, even as she fights cyber libel conviction

The 56-year-old CEO and executive editor of the Rappler news site was sentenced to between six months and six years in jail on Monday before being released on bail.

23 Jun 2020 - 1:01PM

The 56-year-old CEO and executive editor of the Rappler news site was sentenced to between six months and six years in jail on Monday before being released on bail.

Philippine journalist Maria Ressa prepares for jail, even as she fights cyber libel conviction
Happy anniversary China: Philippines plans US$26 million of military infrastructure on disputed South China Sea island Pag-Asa

Just as Manila was paying homage to 45 years of ties with Beijing, its defence secretary lands on a disputed South China Sea and announces US$26 million worth of military infrastructure.

11 Jun 2020 - 12:21AM

Just as Manila was paying homage to 45 years of ties with Beijing, its defence secretary lands on a disputed South China Sea and announces US$26 million worth of military infrastructure.

Happy anniversary China: Philippines plans US$26 million of military infrastructure on disputed South China Sea island Pag-Asa
Philippine Congress approves anti-terror law more ‘urgent’ than coronavirus

Critics fear the Anti-Terrorism Act, which expands the scope for warrantless arrests and allows for 14-day detentions without charge, will be used against the government’s political opponents.

4 Jun 2020 - 1:59AM

Critics fear the Anti-Terrorism Act, which expands the scope for warrantless arrests and allows for 14-day detentions without charge, will be used against the government’s political opponents.

Philippine Congress approves anti-terror law more ‘urgent’ than coronavirus
Philippines reverses decision to scrap US troop agreement, as South China Sea tensions rise

Analysts said the sudden reversal may have been influenced by recent Chinese moves in the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.

3 Jun 2020 - 5:28AM

Analysts said the sudden reversal may have been influenced by recent Chinese moves in the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.

Philippines reverses decision to scrap US troop agreement, as South China Sea tensions rise
Philippines cracks down on secret Chinese coronavirus clinics after facilities raided

A probe of all ‘clandestine medical clinics’ catering mostly to foreigners has been ordered after the detention of a number of Chinese nationals in the country.

28 May 2020 - 9:35PM

A probe of all ‘clandestine medical clinics’ catering mostly to foreigners has been ordered after the detention of a number of Chinese nationals in the country.

Philippines cracks down on secret Chinese coronavirus clinics after facilities raided
Coronavirus: Philippines braces for ‘perfect storm’ as rainy season brings dengue, flu, measles

Doctors in the Philippines fear the rise in seasonal diseases will overwhelm a health system already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

26 May 2020 - 12:24PM

Doctors in the Philippines fear the rise in seasonal diseases will overwhelm a health system already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus: Philippines braces for ‘perfect storm’ as rainy season brings dengue, flu, measles
Philippines proposes tax on Netflix, Facebook ads, Lazada purchases amid coronavirus pandemic

The measures would raise US$593 million and help to offset government spending of US$11.7 billion to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Philippine Congressman Joey Salceda says.

21 May 2020 - 4:51PM

The measures would raise US$593 million and help to offset government spending of US$11.7 billion to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, Philippine Congressman Joey Salceda says.

Philippines proposes tax on Netflix, Facebook ads, Lazada purchases amid coronavirus pandemic
If Philippine tycoons are back in Duterte’s good books, what happened to ABS-CBN?

The Philippine president made peace with three tycoons who contributed to Covid-19 efforts, but sidelined the Lopez family, whose ABS-CBN network was forced off the air.

17 May 2020 - 11:15AM

The Philippine president made peace with three tycoons who contributed to Covid-19 efforts, but sidelined the Lopez family, whose ABS-CBN network was forced off the air.

If Philippine tycoons are back in Duterte’s good books, what happened to ABS-CBN?
Manila eases its coronavirus lockdown, for anyone still brave enough to go out

Malls are opening and liquor is back on the menu for some, but after two months of staying at home, many people are unwilling to take their chances in the outside world.

15 May 2020 - 8:35PM

Malls are opening and liquor is back on the menu for some, but after two months of staying at home, many people are unwilling to take their chances in the outside world.

Manila eases its coronavirus lockdown, for anyone still brave enough to go out
Philippines’ ABS-CBN shutdown: TV network ‘did not attack Duterte’, Lopez matriarch says

Conchita Lopez Taylor, matriarch of the Lopez family who owns ABS-CBN, says the reason behind the broadcaster’s shutdown is not clear.

7 May 2020 - 5:13PM

Conchita Lopez Taylor, matriarch of the Lopez family who owns ABS-CBN, says the reason behind the broadcaster’s shutdown is not clear.

Philippines’ ABS-CBN shutdown: TV network ‘did not attack Duterte’, Lopez matriarch says
Overseas Filipino workers won’t have to pay health insurance premiums for now: Duterte

Workers want the payments – at 3 per cent of their monthly pay – to be scrapped entirely amid the Covid-19 outbreak. For a Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong, the amount would be more than HK$1,660 annually.

5 May 2020 - 9:15PM

Workers want the payments – at 3 per cent of their monthly pay – to be scrapped entirely amid the Covid-19 outbreak. For a Filipino domestic worker in Hong Kong, the amount would be more than HK$1,660 annually.

Overseas Filipino workers won’t have to pay health insurance premiums for now: Duterte
Philippine police investigate 23 for coronavirus ‘fake news’, cyber libel

The revelation comes amid a diplomatic row between Manila and Taipei over a Filipino domestic helper accused of ‘cyber libel’ for criticising President Duterte over his handling of the virus.

1 May 2020 - 9:38PM

The revelation comes amid a diplomatic row between Manila and Taipei over a Filipino domestic helper accused of ‘cyber libel’ for criticising President Duterte over his handling of the virus.

Philippine police investigate 23 for coronavirus ‘fake news’, cyber libel
Coronavirus: is Covid-19 task force Duterte’s ‘Rolex 12’ in plan for Marcos-style martial law in the Philippines?

Scenes of army troops enforcing the coronavirus lockdown have raised memories of the Marcos era for some Filipinos, who fear the pandemic may be used as a cover to implement martial law.

28 Apr 2020 - 9:06PM

Scenes of army troops enforcing the coronavirus lockdown have raised memories of the Marcos era for some Filipinos, who fear the pandemic may be used as a cover to implement martial law.

Coronavirus: is Covid-19 task force Duterte’s ‘Rolex 12’ in plan for Marcos-style martial law in the Philippines?
Coronavirus: Chinese, Philippine medical experts share tips in landmark visit

A team of Chinese doctors and nurses has been touring Philippine hospitals, sharing their experience of the front-line of the fight against Covid-19 in Wuhan.

22 Apr 2020 - 10:00AM

A team of Chinese doctors and nurses has been touring Philippine hospitals, sharing their experience of the front-line of the fight against Covid-19 in Wuhan.

Coronavirus: Chinese, Philippine medical experts share tips in landmark visit
Coronavirus: Chinese experts to share frontline experience in Hubei with Philippine doctors

Two hospitals, including the Philippines’ designated Covid-19 referral centre, are hoping to gain ‘precious’ knowledge from the specialists on combating the pandemic.

7 Apr 2020 - 9:29AM

Two hospitals, including the Philippines’ designated Covid-19 referral centre, are hoping to gain ‘precious’ knowledge from the specialists on combating the pandemic.

Coronavirus: Chinese experts to share frontline experience in Hubei with Philippine doctors
Coronavirus: Philippines awaits Chinese expert team as cases rise to more than 2,000

The team is expected to provide technical advice on epidemic prevention and control as well as treatment protocols.

31 Mar 2020 - 11:29PM

The team is expected to provide technical advice on epidemic prevention and control as well as treatment protocols.

Coronavirus: Philippines awaits Chinese expert team as cases rise to more than 2,000
Philippine sinologist Aileen Baviera, dead from coronavirus, had urged recognition of China’s complexity

The well-known expert’s passing was met with tributes and grief from scholars and officials across Asia.

27 Mar 2020 - 11:00AM

The well-known expert’s passing was met with tributes and grief from scholars and officials across Asia.

Philippine sinologist Aileen Baviera, dead from coronavirus, had urged recognition of China’s complexity
Coronavirus: Duterte to sign US$5 billion emergency bill to fund virus testing, subsidies for low-income families

The final version of the law removes a controversial section that would have granted Duterte sweeping powers to take over private Philippine firms, including banks.

23 Mar 2020 - 11:28PM

The final version of the law removes a controversial section that would have granted Duterte sweeping powers to take over private Philippine firms, including banks.

Coronavirus: Duterte to sign US$5 billion emergency bill to fund virus testing, subsidies for low-income families