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

‘Look at the West Philippine Sea’: Protests flare as Duterte targets ‘state enemies’ at University of the Philippines

Defence authorities ended a pact that had kept military and police off campus saying the university was a safe haven for ‘extremists’. A senator took a dig at China by saying the government should look for communists elsewhere, such as in the disputed South China Sea.

19 Jan 2021 - 11:24PM

Defence authorities ended a pact that had kept military and police off campus saying the university was a safe haven for ‘extremists’. A senator took a dig at China by saying the government should look for communists elsewhere, such as in the disputed South China Sea.

‘Look at the West Philippine Sea’: Protests flare as Duterte targets ‘state enemies’ at University of the Philippines
‘BFF prices’ but no corruption: Manila defends Philippines’ deal with China’s Sinovac for CoronaVac vaccine

Claims that corruption has hiked prices of the vaccine are ‘fake news’, according to presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

18 Jan 2021 - 11:16PM

Claims that corruption has hiked prices of the vaccine are ‘fake news’, according to presidential spokesman Harry Roque.

‘BFF prices’ but no corruption: Manila defends Philippines’ deal with China’s Sinovac for CoronaVac vaccine
China offers free Covid-19 vaccines, loans to Philippines as Wang Yi wraps up Southeast Asia tour

Analysts said Wang’s trip was timed to shore up alliances between China and its neighbours before Joe Biden becomes US president next week.

16 Jan 2021 - 11:32PM

Analysts said Wang’s trip was timed to shore up alliances between China and its neighbours before Joe Biden becomes US president next week.

China offers free Covid-19 vaccines, loans to Philippines as Wang Yi wraps up Southeast Asia tour
‘Cha-Cha’, anyone? Philippine Congress squares off with Duterte on constitutional changes

Proposed amendments would allow for more foreign investment in the country as it attempts to lift itself out of a coronavirus-induced slump, but some fear a play to make President Rodrigo Duterte stronger.

16 Jan 2021 - 1:14PM

Proposed amendments would allow for more foreign investment in the country as it attempts to lift itself out of a coronavirus-induced slump, but some fear a play to make President Rodrigo Duterte stronger.

‘Cha-Cha’, anyone? Philippine Congress squares off with Duterte on constitutional changes
The Philippines looks to start Covid-19 vaccine drive by February with doses from Sinovac

Filipinos will not be able to choose which vaccine they get, and trust over vaccine safety may be another hurdle as the country looks to inoculate more than half the population by 2021.

11 Jan 2021 - 9:31PM

Filipinos will not be able to choose which vaccine they get, and trust over vaccine safety may be another hurdle as the country looks to inoculate more than half the population by 2021.

The Philippines looks to start Covid-19 vaccine drive by February with doses from Sinovac
Chinese vaccine makers to apply for clearance in the Philippines, as Duterte tries to block probe into illegal inoculations

Sinopharm and Sinovac have said they will request this week that their vaccines be cleared for emergency use, according to Manila’s ambassador to China.

5 Jan 2021 - 11:31PM

Sinopharm and Sinovac have said they will request this week that their vaccines be cleared for emergency use, according to Manila’s ambassador to China.

Chinese vaccine makers to apply for clearance in the Philippines, as Duterte tries to block probe into illegal inoculations
In Duterte’s budget for Philippines, critics see skewed priorities and a Covid-19 shortfall

The lion’s share of the US$93.7 billion budget is going to ministries and infrastructure projects, with only 4 per cent targeted to fight Covid-19.

1 Jan 2021 - 7:18PM

The lion’s share of the US$93.7 billion budget is going to ministries and infrastructure projects, with only 4 per cent targeted to fight Covid-19.

In Duterte’s budget for Philippines, critics see skewed priorities and a Covid-19 shortfall
Delays and missteps: how Duterte’s Philippines struggled against the coronavirus

A top medical expert warns that the country faces a long battle with Covid-19 unless a coherent strategy to fight it is implemented.

31 Dec 2020 - 8:59PM

A top medical expert warns that the country faces a long battle with Covid-19 unless a coherent strategy to fight it is implemented.

Delays and missteps: how Duterte’s Philippines struggled against the coronavirus
Duterte’s war on drugs: global human rights coalition to aid International Criminal Court in Philippines inquiry

Investigate PH, comprised of foreign-based church groups, lawyers and political leaders, will gather evidence of the president’s misdeeds for the ICC.

23 Dec 2020 - 3:38PM

Investigate PH, comprised of foreign-based church groups, lawyers and political leaders, will gather evidence of the president’s misdeeds for the ICC.

Duterte’s war on drugs: global human rights coalition to aid International Criminal Court in Philippines inquiry
Philippine minister Ramon Lopez announces new coronavirus measures – then admits he is infected

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez spent more than an hour painting a rosy picture of his country’s pandemic response, before telling a reporter he was self-isolating after testing positive.

9 Dec 2020 - 10:50PM

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez spent more than an hour painting a rosy picture of his country’s pandemic response, before telling a reporter he was self-isolating after testing positive.

Philippine minister Ramon Lopez announces new coronavirus measures – then admits he is infected
Donald Trump’s parting gift to Philippines: defence equipment worth US$29 million

The offering from US Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller was the latest gift to Manila from Washington as it aims to counter China in the region.

9 Dec 2020 - 1:01AM

The offering from US Acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller was the latest gift to Manila from Washington as it aims to counter China in the region.

Donald Trump’s parting gift to Philippines: defence equipment worth US$29 million
Nurses in the Philippines can’t go abroad, but there are few opportunities at home

The country already has a surplus of trained nurses, but not enough jobs to go round, with some hospitals paying less than a shop assistant’s wage.

14 Dec 2020 - 11:03AM

The country already has a surplus of trained nurses, but not enough jobs to go round, with some hospitals paying less than a shop assistant’s wage.

Nurses in the Philippines can’t go abroad, but there are few opportunities at home
US election not over for Donald Trump until courts have their say: Robert O’Brien

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien made the comments after an Asia tour, during which he slammed China over issues including trade and Covid-19.

23 Nov 2020 - 10:05PM

US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien made the comments after an Asia tour, during which he slammed China over issues including trade and Covid-19.

US election not over for Donald Trump until courts have their say: Robert O’Brien
The Philippines wants to outlaw child marriage. But in Muslim-majority Bangsamoro, change will be hard

In Muslim-majority Bangsamoro, proposed legislation banning marriages for children under 18 is at odds with the country’s Code of Muslim Personal Laws, under which girls as young as 13 can be married.

22 Nov 2020 - 10:52PM

In Muslim-majority Bangsamoro, proposed legislation banning marriages for children under 18 is at odds with the country’s Code of Muslim Personal Laws, under which girls as young as 13 can be married.

The Philippines wants to outlaw child marriage. But in Muslim-majority Bangsamoro, change will be hard
Philippines extends suspension of VFA termination, eyes long-term defence pact with US

The Philippine foreign ministry says President Duterte ordered the extension ‘in appreciative recognition’ of Washington’s part in keeping the South China Sea stable.

11 Nov 2020 - 10:33PM

The Philippine foreign ministry says President Duterte ordered the extension ‘in appreciative recognition’ of Washington’s part in keeping the South China Sea stable.

Philippines extends suspension of VFA termination, eyes long-term defence pact with US
Joe Biden won’t soften US stance on South China Sea, experts say

While Biden’s administration will be more civil than Trump’s, the US will continue freedom of navigation operations in the disputed sea, analysts say.

10 Nov 2020 - 4:46AM

While Biden’s administration will be more civil than Trump’s, the US will continue freedom of navigation operations in the disputed sea, analysts say.

Joe Biden won’t soften US stance on South China Sea, experts say
‘We are not at war with China’: Philippines’ fishermen militia plan put on pause

National Security Adviser Hermogenes said on Wednesday that Manila was keen to avoid ‘actions that would be misconstrued’ in reference to plans to recruit fishermen into seaborne militia units.

5 Nov 2020 - 8:16AM

National Security Adviser Hermogenes said on Wednesday that Manila was keen to avoid ‘actions that would be misconstrued’ in reference to plans to recruit fishermen into seaborne militia units.

‘We are not at war with China’: Philippines’ fishermen militia plan put on pause
US election: Filipino-Americans lean towards Biden, but Trump still exerts a pull

While the Trump administration’s poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen support for Biden grow, those who favour the president see parallels with the Philippines’ Duterte.

31 Oct 2020 - 10:45PM

While the Trump administration’s poor handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has seen support for Biden grow, those who favour the president see parallels with the Philippines’ Duterte.

US election: Filipino-Americans lean towards Biden, but Trump still exerts a pull
China would ‘seize’ the Philippines in a war with the US: former military chief Bautista

Retired Philippine general Emmanuel Bautista said the superpowers would seek to control strategic waterways linking the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean.

30 Oct 2020 - 9:25PM

Retired Philippine general Emmanuel Bautista said the superpowers would seek to control strategic waterways linking the South China Sea and Pacific Ocean.

China would ‘seize’ the Philippines in a war with the US: former military chief Bautista
Philippines to expel thousands of Chinese nationals amid immigration scandal

Under fire immigration chief says almost 2,800 Chinese have overstayed visas – some due to the coronavirus – and are now being ordered to leave.

29 Oct 2020 - 10:18PM

Under fire immigration chief says almost 2,800 Chinese have overstayed visas – some due to the coronavirus – and are now being ordered to leave.

Philippines to expel thousands of Chinese nationals amid immigration scandal
Duterte allies battle over Philippine House speaker role, threatening coronavirus budget and ruling coalition

Members of the Philippines’ House of Representatives voted to replace Alan Peter Cayetano with Lord Allan Velasco, a member of the ruling PDP-Laban Party, with Cayetano’s unwillingness to step down setting up a possible power struggle.

13 Oct 2020 - 2:54AM

Members of the Philippines’ House of Representatives voted to replace Alan Peter Cayetano with Lord Allan Velasco, a member of the ruling PDP-Laban Party, with Cayetano’s unwillingness to step down setting up a possible power struggle.

Duterte allies battle over Philippine House speaker role, threatening coronavirus budget and ruling coalition
In the Philippines, ABS-CBN network shut by Duterte faces uncertain future

Eugenio Lopez has walked away from the family business empire, including its crown jewel television station, seemingly relenting in a battle with Rodrigo Duterte – the latest in a line of tycoons in the Philippines to run afoul of him.

3 Oct 2020 - 9:33PM

Eugenio Lopez has walked away from the family business empire, including its crown jewel television station, seemingly relenting in a battle with Rodrigo Duterte – the latest in a line of tycoons in the Philippines to run afoul of him.

In the Philippines, ABS-CBN network shut by Duterte faces uncertain future
South China Sea: Manila and Beijing agreed to shelve dispute, ambassador says – despite Duterte’s vow to uphold ruling

Presidents Xi and Duterte had already reached a ‘consensus’ to ‘put aside’ their competing maritime claims, according to Chinese envoy to Manila Huang Xilian.

29 Sep 2020 - 9:31AM

Presidents Xi and Duterte had already reached a ‘consensus’ to ‘put aside’ their competing maritime claims, according to Chinese envoy to Manila Huang Xilian.

South China Sea: Manila and Beijing agreed to shelve dispute, ambassador says – despite Duterte’s vow to uphold ruling
South China Sea: Duterte’s UN speech defending award wins praise – even from critics

In Duterte’s first speech before the UN General Assembly, he rejected attempts by states to undermine a ruling that favours the Philippines’ South China Sea claims.

24 Sep 2020 - 11:09AM

In Duterte’s first speech before the UN General Assembly, he rejected attempts by states to undermine a ruling that favours the Philippines’ South China Sea claims.

South China Sea: Duterte’s UN speech defending award wins praise – even from critics
In UN speech, Rodrigo Duterte defends drug war and Philippines’ claims in South China Sea

In first address to General Assembly, president lashes out at activist groups that have ‘weaponised human rights’ to discredit his government.

23 Sep 2020 - 11:33AM

In first address to General Assembly, president lashes out at activist groups that have ‘weaponised human rights’ to discredit his government.

In UN speech, Rodrigo Duterte defends drug war and Philippines’ claims in South China Sea
Philippines pursuing Sabah claim against Malaysia as ‘we have not forgotten’, says Locsin

Foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr warns Manila is taking a tough new stance on the territorial dispute. There’s just one problem: nobody knows if he’s serious or not.

18 Sep 2020 - 1:09PM

Foreign secretary Teodoro Locsin Jnr warns Manila is taking a tough new stance on the territorial dispute. There’s just one problem: nobody knows if he’s serious or not.

Philippines pursuing Sabah claim against Malaysia as ‘we have not forgotten’, says Locsin
Philippines: Duterte approves criminal charges against PhilHealth officials, spares health secretary Duque

The charges were recommended after investigations into irregularities at the state agency paying for medical care and Covid-19 testing, which the health secretary chairs.

16 Sep 2020 - 8:57AM

The charges were recommended after investigations into irregularities at the state agency paying for medical care and Covid-19 testing, which the health secretary chairs.

Philippines: Duterte approves criminal charges against PhilHealth officials, spares health secretary Duque
The Philippines has the most Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia. Why is Duterte backing under-fire health secretary Duque?

The Senate is at odds with Duterte over his endorsement of Duque, whom it has accused of criminal negligence and gross mishandling of the pandemic.

12 Sep 2020 - 8:18PM

The Senate is at odds with Duterte over his endorsement of Duque, whom it has accused of criminal negligence and gross mishandling of the pandemic.

The Philippines has the most Covid-19 cases in Southeast Asia. Why is Duterte backing under-fire health secretary Duque?
China, Philippines defence chiefs discuss South China Sea as Beijing pledges US$20 million donation

The donation of non-combat equipment came as Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe met his counterpart Delfin Lorenzana and President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, where the South China Sea was also a topic of discussion.

12 Sep 2020 - 12:24AM

The donation of non-combat equipment came as Chinese defence minister Wei Fenghe met his counterpart Delfin Lorenzana and President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, where the South China Sea was also a topic of discussion.

China, Philippines defence chiefs discuss South China Sea as Beijing pledges US$20 million donation
Rodrigo Duterte’s pardon for marine who killed transgender Filipino a ‘charade’ to keep US military in Philippines: family’s lawyer

The law group that represented the family of Jennifer Laude claims decision by Philippine president is ‘part of a bigger deal’ involving arms sales and the South China Sea.

9 Sep 2020 - 12:31AM

The law group that represented the family of Jennifer Laude claims decision by Philippine president is ‘part of a bigger deal’ involving arms sales and the South China Sea.

Rodrigo Duterte’s pardon for marine who killed transgender Filipino a ‘charade’ to keep US military in Philippines: family’s lawyer