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

Coronavirus: Philippines rolls out tourism push to make up for lost Chinese visitors

More than a fifth of the Philippines’ inbound tourists came from China last year – their absence following the coronavirus outbreak could cost the economy US$292 million this month alone.

18 Feb 2020 - 10:00PM

More than a fifth of the Philippines’ inbound tourists came from China last year – their absence following the coronavirus outbreak could cost the economy US$292 million this month alone.

Coronavirus: Philippines rolls out tourism push to make up for lost Chinese visitors
After Philippines scraps US defence pact, Rodrigo Duterte eyes Russian arms

Russia has moved to help the Philippine military train and arm its troops, a day after Manila scrapped a defence agreement with the US.

13 Feb 2020 - 1:33AM

Russia has moved to help the Philippine military train and arm its troops, a day after Manila scrapped a defence agreement with the US.

After Philippines scraps US defence pact, Rodrigo Duterte eyes Russian arms
Coronavirus: In the Philippines, Capas residents are up in arms over quarantine plans for overseas Filipino workers

The Athletes’ Village for the 2019 SEA Games is being used as a facility to isolate Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan, with residents worried for their health and the possible economic impact.

11 Feb 2020 - 10:11AM

The Athletes’ Village for the 2019 SEA Games is being used as a facility to isolate Filipinos repatriated from Wuhan, with residents worried for their health and the possible economic impact.

Coronavirus: In the Philippines, Capas residents are up in arms over quarantine plans for overseas Filipino workers
Coronavirus: 300 Chinese stuck in Philippine airports after Manila’s travel ban on Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China

News comes as Manila says it is still awaiting test results on nearly 70 people suspected of carrying the deadly virus.

14 Feb 2020 - 6:25PM

News comes as Manila says it is still awaiting test results on nearly 70 people suspected of carrying the deadly virus.

Coronavirus: 300 Chinese stuck in Philippine airports after Manila’s travel ban on Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China
Coronavirus: outbreak exposes anti-Chinese sentiment in the Philippines

As the country recorded the first virus fatality outside China on Sunday, ethnic Chinese organisations have noted an uptick in ‘racist stereotypes and xenophobic attacks’.

2 Feb 2020 - 9:47PM

As the country recorded the first virus fatality outside China on Sunday, ethnic Chinese organisations have noted an uptick in ‘racist stereotypes and xenophobic attacks’.

Coronavirus: outbreak exposes anti-Chinese sentiment in the Philippines
Wuhan coronavirus: Duterte under pressure to ban Chinese tourists after Philippines confirms first infection

The Philippines’ first confirmed case comes a day after the death of another suspected victim, fuelling calls for a temporary ban on all travel to and from China.

15 Feb 2020 - 6:54PM

The Philippines’ first confirmed case comes a day after the death of another suspected victim, fuelling calls for a temporary ban on all travel to and from China.

Wuhan coronavirus: Duterte under pressure to ban Chinese tourists after Philippines confirms first infection
Philippines changes visa rules for Chinese travellers ahead of Lunar New Year after spike in crime blamed on mainlanders

With the Lunar New Year travel period just days away, the Philippines has put new restrictions on temporary visit visas for Chinese following a rise in crime linked to the gambling industry.

17 Feb 2020 - 2:54PM

With the Lunar New Year travel period just days away, the Philippines has put new restrictions on temporary visit visas for Chinese following a rise in crime linked to the gambling industry.

Philippines changes visa rules for Chinese travellers ahead of Lunar New Year after spike in crime blamed on mainlanders
Taal Volcano: desperate residents seize on ‘lull’ in eruption despite danger

Volcanic activity at Taal has ‘generally waned’, but there have been more than 100 tremors since Wednesday, indicating that magma is still rising.

16 Jan 2020 - 9:57PM

Volcanic activity at Taal has ‘generally waned’, but there have been more than 100 tremors since Wednesday, indicating that magma is still rising.

Taal Volcano: desperate residents seize on ‘lull’ in eruption despite danger
Militia fishing ships ‘not on agenda’ as Chinese coastguard visits Philippines

A visit by the Chinese coastguard to Manila is touted as an opportunity to talk. But there’ll be no discussion of Beijing’s alleged ‘fishing militia’ in the South China Sea.

17 Feb 2020 - 4:14PM

A visit by the Chinese coastguard to Manila is touted as an opportunity to talk. But there’ll be no discussion of Beijing’s alleged ‘fishing militia’ in the South China Sea.

Militia fishing ships ‘not on agenda’ as Chinese coastguard visits Philippines
Taal Volcano eruption: Philippine government fears repeat of Pinatubo disaster that killed 847 people

Officials also sought to dissuade vendors from selling protective face masks at inflated prices after cloud of volcanic ash blew north to Manila.

15 Jan 2020 - 3:20PM

Officials also sought to dissuade vendors from selling protective face masks at inflated prices after cloud of volcanic ash blew north to Manila.

Taal Volcano eruption: Philippine government fears repeat of Pinatubo disaster that killed 847 people
Officials from Philippines, China to meet on stalled South China Sea joint oil exploration deal: senator

Negotiations had foundered over which country’s laws should govern exploration activities in the Reed Bank, where they have overlapping claims.

17 Feb 2020 - 8:32PM

Negotiations had foundered over which country’s laws should govern exploration activities in the Reed Bank, where they have overlapping claims.

Officials from Philippines, China to meet on stalled South China Sea joint oil exploration deal: senator
Duterte’s 3-year drug war has seized just 1 per cent of Philippines’ crystal meth: Robredo

The country’s vice-president has branded the war on drugs a costly failure after report based on the government’s own data.

7 Jan 2020 - 9:23PM

The country’s vice-president has branded the war on drugs a costly failure after report based on the government’s own data.

Duterte’s 3-year drug war has seized just 1 per cent of Philippines’ crystal meth: Robredo
Maguindanao massacre: how a manservant, a backhoe and a flurry of texts helped convict the Ampatuans

Last week, a Philippine court sentenced 29 members and associates of a powerful Muslim clan to life imprisonment for the 2009 massacre of the family and entourage of a political rival. Here we explore three key pieces of evidence that helped secure the convictions.

23 Dec 2019 - 11:19PM

Last week, a Philippine court sentenced 29 members and associates of a powerful Muslim clan to life imprisonment for the 2009 massacre of the family and entourage of a political rival. Here we explore three key pieces of evidence that helped secure the convictions.

Maguindanao massacre: how a manservant, a backhoe and a flurry of texts helped convict the Ampatuans
Maguindanao massacre: members of Ampatuan clan found guilty of 2009 Philippine killings, jailed for 40 years

Powerful Ampatuan political dynasty in 2009 sought to quash election challenge by killing 58 rivals and journalists. The masterminds were jailed for 40 years.

20 Dec 2019 - 5:01AM

Powerful Ampatuan political dynasty in 2009 sought to quash election challenge by killing 58 rivals and journalists. The masterminds were jailed for 40 years.

Maguindanao massacre: members of Ampatuan clan found guilty of 2009 Philippine killings, jailed for 40 years
Explainer | Maguindanao massacre: 10 years after Philippines’ bloodiest political killing, will there finally be closure?

Powerful Ampatuan clan are charged with ordering the killings of 58 people, including 32 journalists. The verdict is due December 19.

19 Dec 2019 - 9:00AM

Powerful Ampatuan clan are charged with ordering the killings of 58 people, including 32 journalists. The verdict is due December 19.

Maguindanao massacre: 10 years after Philippines’ bloodiest political killing, will there finally be closure?
Repeal of water contracts in Philippines could complicate Chinese dam loan repayments: congressman

Lawmaker Carlos Zarate says the cancellation of two concession deals after a Duterte rebuke has resulted in higher water rates for Filipinos, and paying back the loan could see costs increase further.

12 Dec 2019 - 11:47PM

Lawmaker Carlos Zarate says the cancellation of two concession deals after a Duterte rebuke has resulted in higher water rates for Filipinos, and paying back the loan could see costs increase further.

Repeal of water contracts in Philippines could complicate Chinese dam loan repayments: congressman
Philippine national power grid IPO can guard against China threat: senator

The Philippine government is investigating China’s part ownership of the national grid amid claims Beijing can plunge the country into darkness.

5 Dec 2019 - 8:51PM

The Philippine government is investigating China’s part ownership of the national grid amid claims Beijing can plunge the country into darkness.

Philippine national power grid IPO can guard against China threat: senator
China could use Trojan horse tactic against Philippines, senator says, as fears grow over access to power grid

Risa Hontiveros vows to push for an investigation by the Senate into claims that Beijing can remotely control the electricity network, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry said were ‘completely groundless’.

6 Dec 2019 - 9:43AM

Risa Hontiveros vows to push for an investigation by the Senate into claims that Beijing can remotely control the electricity network, which the Chinese Foreign Ministry said were ‘completely groundless’.

China could use Trojan horse tactic against Philippines, senator says, as fears grow over access to power grid
Why is Bernie Sanders tweeting about Philippine trade unions in his 2020 US election campaign?

The US presidential hopeful has accused the Philippine government of carrying out an ‘abhorrent’ crackdown on activists and labour groups.

25 Nov 2019 - 8:16PM

The US presidential hopeful has accused the Philippine government of carrying out an ‘abhorrent’ crackdown on activists and labour groups.

Why is Bernie Sanders tweeting about Philippine trade unions in his 2020 US election campaign?
China can turn off the Philippine national power grid, officials say

Engineers in China could plunge the country into darkness using a remote operating system supplied by a firm based in Nanjing.

6 Dec 2019 - 1:39PM

Engineers in China could plunge the country into darkness using a remote operating system supplied by a firm based in Nanjing.

China can turn off the Philippine national power grid, officials say
Philippine business community reeling after deaths of titan John Gokongwei Jnr and magnate’s son Lucio ‘Bong’ Tan Jnr

Fujian-born John Gokongwei Jnr, best known as the founder of Cebu Pacific, dies two days before 53-year-old PAL Holdings president Lucio ‘Bong’ Tan Jnr.

21 Nov 2019 - 10:19AM

Fujian-born John Gokongwei Jnr, best known as the founder of Cebu Pacific, dies two days before 53-year-old PAL Holdings president Lucio ‘Bong’ Tan Jnr.

Philippine business community reeling after deaths of titan John Gokongwei Jnr and magnate’s son Lucio ‘Bong’ Tan Jnr
Is Duterte’s ‘drug tsar’ job offer to opposition leader Leni Robredo for real?

The Philippine president was angered by the vice-president’s criticism of his war on drugs, saying: ‘You’re brighter? You try it’.

4 Nov 2019 - 9:36PM

The Philippine president was angered by the vice-president’s criticism of his war on drugs, saying: ‘You’re brighter? You try it’.

Is Duterte’s ‘drug tsar’ job offer to opposition leader Leni Robredo for real?
Putin accepts Duterte invite, just before Manila-Beijing South China Sea oil talks. Coincidence?

The president is set to become the first Russian leader to make a state visit to the Philippines for more than 40 years, according to a former envoy.

10 Dec 2019 - 4:29PM

The president is set to become the first Russian leader to make a state visit to the Philippines for more than 40 years, according to a former envoy.

Putin accepts Duterte invite, just before Manila-Beijing South China Sea oil talks. Coincidence?
China promised Duterte US$9 billion. He’s had only US$924 million in loans and grants. Why?

Beijing in 2016 pledged to fund an array of major construction jobs for the president’s infrastructure programme, but three years on, many projects remain on the drawing board.

12 Dec 2019 - 1:34PM

Beijing in 2016 pledged to fund an array of major construction jobs for the president’s infrastructure programme, but three years on, many projects remain on the drawing board.

China promised Duterte US$9 billion. He’s had only US$924 million in loans and grants. Why?
Russia offers arms technology to the Philippines with ‘no conditions’ as US ties falter

Russia proposes manufacturing light arms and small weapons in the Southeast Asian nation using Russian know-how after meeting between presidents Duterte and Putin this month.

25 Oct 2019 - 2:39AM

Russia proposes manufacturing light arms and small weapons in the Southeast Asian nation using Russian know-how after meeting between presidents Duterte and Putin this month.

Russia offers arms technology to the Philippines with ‘no conditions’ as US ties falter
Philippines ‘ninja cop’ scandal threatens to ruin acting police chief Archie Gamboa’s bid for top post

Gamboa has been accused of only suspending the team leader of the disgraced policemen, despite a recommendation for his sacking. The term ‘ninja cops’ refers to 13 officers accused of stealing and reselling drugs seized in a 2013 bust.

23 Oct 2019 - 10:23AM

Gamboa has been accused of only suspending the team leader of the disgraced policemen, despite a recommendation for his sacking. The term ‘ninja cops’ refers to 13 officers accused of stealing and reselling drugs seized in a 2013 bust.

Philippines ‘ninja cop’ scandal threatens to ruin acting police chief Archie Gamboa’s bid for top post
Duterte ‘shocked’ after bid to smooth Philippine celebrity feud between Gretchen Barretto and sister Marjorie ends in scuffle

Attempt by the Philippine president to reconcile film star family rift between Gretchen Barretto and sister Marjorie ends in scuffle and the intervention of his bodyguards.

15 Nov 2019 - 5:07PM

Attempt by the Philippine president to reconcile film star family rift between Gretchen Barretto and sister Marjorie ends in scuffle and the intervention of his bodyguards.

Duterte ‘shocked’ after bid to smooth Philippine celebrity feud between Gretchen Barretto and sister Marjorie ends in scuffle
New Philippines military chief sees no ‘shooting war’ in South China Sea despite disputes

Lieutenant General Noel Clement says the military supports diplomatic efforts to prevent an escalation of tensions between China and the Philippines in the disputed waterway.

12 Dec 2019 - 1:36PM

Lieutenant General Noel Clement says the military supports diplomatic efforts to prevent an escalation of tensions between China and the Philippines in the disputed waterway.

New Philippines military chief sees no ‘shooting war’ in South China Sea despite disputes
Analysis | Courting Russia with South China Sea oil is a ‘dangerous gamble’ for Duterte

The Philippine president has invited the Russian oil giant Rosneft to explore for oil in the disputed waterway. Experts warn that could put the Philippines in the middle of a three-way tug of war between the US, China and Russia

12 Dec 2019 - 1:38PM

The Philippine president has invited the Russian oil giant Rosneft to explore for oil in the disputed waterway. Experts warn that could put the Philippines in the middle of a three-way tug of war between the US, China and Russia

Courting Russia with South China Sea oil is a ‘dangerous gamble’ for Duterte
Why don’t Manila and Beijing have closer military ties, despite Duterte’s ‘pivot to China’?

China has attempted to entice the Philippines into closer security ties since Duterte became president in 2016, but stand-offs over the South China Sea and a US defence treaty are among the reasons its overtures have been ignored.

12 Dec 2019 - 1:41PM

China has attempted to entice the Philippines into closer security ties since Duterte became president in 2016, but stand-offs over the South China Sea and a US defence treaty are among the reasons its overtures have been ignored.

Why don’t Manila and Beijing have closer military ties, despite Duterte’s ‘pivot to China’?