Philippine Studies

The Philippine Studies Programme started as a multi-year initiative known as the Philippine Studies Project under the Regional Political and Studies Programme (RSPS) to enhance ISEAS research on the Philippines. The project received funding support from the Philippine Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines in Singapore from June 2019 to September 2023. It officially become the sixth country study programme of ISEAS on 1 April 2024.

The Philippine Studies Programme aims to support the research capabilities and coverage of Philippine studies at ISEAS through publications and events. It also offers opportunities for both established and young scholars and experts from the Philippines to share their views and perspectives on multifaceted developments in the country.

The current Coordinator of the Philippine Studies Programme is Dr Aries Arugay. Dr Malcolm Cook managed the project until June 2021.

From 2023-2024, the Philippine Studies Programmme will work on the following research topics:

  • Foreign Policy Amidst US-China Rivalry

This project investigates the series of changes instigated by the Marcos Jr administration to Philippine foreign policy within the context of a heightened US-China rivalry in the Indo-Pacific. It examines the initiatives launched by the government in facing strategic challenges within its maritime domain, the advent of foreign malign influence operations, greyzone tactics, and revitalized security alliances and new partnerships with like-minded states.

  • Domestic Politics & Social Forces

This project focuses on the domestic developments in the Philippines with particular attention to the political dynamics between major political and social forces within the country. It pays attention to the relationship between political elites, institutions, and social forces such as civil society and the Church. It also monitors the cohesion and tensions between the Marcos-Duterte dynastic alliance as the country’s ruling political coalition

  • Economic Resilience and Sustainable Development

This project tackles the economic issues faced by the Philippines as one of the regions’ fastest growing economies and an emerging middle-income country. It focuses on the government’s policies to encourage more foreign investments but at the same time ensure equitable development across socioeconomic classes and geographical regions. Lastly, this project also identifies the major economic challenges of the country related to infrastructure, energy security, and climate change.


Games, Changes, and Fears: The Philippines from Duterte to Marcos Jr.Aries A. Arugay and Jean Encinas-Franco (editors)26 April 2024
ASEAN Centrality: An Autoethnographic Account by a Philippine DiplomatElizabeth Buensuceso2021

Fulcrum Commentaries

Bound to Comply: the Philippines’ One-China Policy and Mutual Defense Treaty with the U.S.Aaron Jed Rabena17 January 2023
Digital Labour Platforms Must Provide Philippine Gig Workers a Fair DealCheryll Ruth Soriano2 February 2023
What Does Marcos 2.0 Mean for ASEAN?Julio S. Amador III1 March 2023
Posting for Profit: Social Media Influencers in Philippine PoliticsMaria Elize H. Mendoza9 March 2023
You Can’t Put the Genie Back in the Bottle: Marcos Jr.’s Defence Cooperation PolicyJustin Baquisal20 March 2023
Marcos Jr. and the Dangers of Virtual HypermasculinityMaria Tanyag4 April 2023
The Curious Case of Cagayan: Localisation of U.S.-China Rivalry in the PhilippinesAries A. Arugay6 April 2023
From Duterte’s “Pivot to China” to Marcos Jr.’s “Rebalance to the U.S.”?Aaron Jed Rabena17 April 2023
Why China Should Learn To Live With U.S.-Philippine EDCAJulio S. Amador III and Deryk Baladjay3 May 2023
President Marcos Jr.’s Disaster Policy: Is a New Disaster Agency in the Works?Cherry Ann Madriaga26 May 2023
Why Should We Care about Older Filipino Migrants?Michelle Ong12 June 2023
From Likes to Lies: Disinformation in the Philippines and ThailandAries A. Arugay & Surachanee Sriyai7 July 2023
Promoting Local Business for Marawi’s Rehabilitation and PeaceMari Katayanagi & Lee Candelaria25 July 2023
The Philippines-Japan Security Relationship: A New Golden Age?Aries A. Arugay & Mico Galang16 November 2023
The Puzzle of Rodrigo Duterte’s Popularity during the Covid-19 PandemicYuko Kasuya & Hirofumi Miwa24 November 2023
No China Backlash, So Far: The Philippines’ New Assertive Transparency Policy in the South China SeaCollin Koh6 December 2023
Marcos’s Visit to Vietnam: When Manila’s Pivot Meets Hanoi’s PragmatismHoang Thi Ha & Aries A. Arugay1 February 2024
Made in China? The Challenge of State-Sponsored Cyber Intrusions in the PhilippinesFrancis C. Domingo4 March 2024
The Philippines-Australia Strategic Partnership in an Era of Geopolitical RealignmentLowell Bautista21 March 2024
Assessing Energy Security in the PhilippinesAdoracion M. Navarro15 April 2024

ISEAS Perspectives

A Strategic Reset?: The Philippines-United States Alliance under President Marcos Jr.Aries A. Arugay and Ian Storey15 May 2023
Like, Subscribe and Vote: The Role of Political Influencers in the 2022 Philippine Elections and BeyondFatima Gaw & Aries A. Arugay13 March 2024
Something Old, Something New: The Philippines’ Transparency Initiative in the South China SeaEdcel John A. Ibarra and Aries A. Arugay12 April 2024

Events (Seminars, Webinars)

The Philippine Economy amid Disruptive TransitionsJan Carlo Punongbayan
 Karl Jandoc
 Christina Epetia
 Zy-za Nadine Suzara
15 March 2023
The Future of Fact-Checking in the PhilippinesEdson C. Tandoc Jr.
 Ma. Diosa Labiste
 Yvonne T. Chua
23 June 2023
The Philippines’ Transparency Initiative in the South China Sea: Quo Vadis?Jonathan Malaya, Charmaine Willoughby, Jaime Naval15 February 2024
Building a Defense Industry in the Philippines: Challenges and OpportunitiesHerman Kraft, Jesse Pascasio, Meneleo Carlos9 May 2024

Media Engagements

南中国海主权课题料无重大突破 分析:小马可斯访华将着重经济合作 (Lianhe Zaobao)Aries A. Arugay3 January 2023
小马可斯习近平会谈 将重启南中国海油气开发谈判 (Lianhe Zaobao)Aries A. Arugay5 January 2023
须以菲利益为先避免外交陷被动 小马可斯中美平衡策略受考验 (Lianhe Zaobao)Aries A. Arugay7 January 2023
Insight: US Military Expansion in the Philippines (Channel News Asia)Aries A. Arugay6 April 2023
As US and Philippine defense ties grow, China warns over Taiwan tensions (CNN)Aries A. Arugay27 April 2023
Marcos, Back in Arms of U.S., Is Making His Own Name in Foreign Policy (New York Times)Aries A. Arugay2 May 2023
Philippines’ new military deal with US: Will it tilt power balance in South China Sea? (Channel News Asia)Aries A. Arugay14 May 2023
A year on, domestic woes offset Philippine President Marcos’ diplomatic gains (Straits Times)Aries A. Arugay26 June 2023
Changing Political Landscapes and Leadership Transitions in Southeast AsiaAries A. Arugay22 September 2023
Dogged by red flags and territorial clashes, China-funded projects in Philippines hit snag (Strait Times)Aries A. Arugay18 November 2023
Political shakedowns in the Philippines threaten Marcos-Duterte alliance (Straits Times)Aries A. Arugay30 November 2023
U.S.-China rivalry hits home in this Philippine province (Nikkei)Aries A. Arugay12 December 2023
Manila gets tough in the South China Sea as a showdown looms (Japan Times)Aries A. Arugay21 January 2024
Gutter-level’ talk: China-Philippines discord deepens over Taiwan (Financial Times)Aries A. Arugay2 February 2024
Can Manila diffuse tensions in the South China Sea? (DW)Aries A. Arugay9 February 2024
Thousands gather on anniversary of Philippine revolt to protest Marcos’ charter change plans (Straits Times)Aries A. Arugay25 February 2024
Why is the Philippines aligning itself with the US after years of close China ties under Duterte (SCMP)Aries A. Arugay25 February 2024
Dr Aries Arugay on regional security and the Philippines-Australia relationship (CNA)Aries A. Arugay29 February 2024
Fact Vs. Fiction – Philippines: Detecting Deception (CNA)Aries A. Arugay31 March 2024
Biden, Kishida and Marcos make common cause against China in first trilateral summit (Straits Times)Aries A. Arugay12 April 2024
分析:著眼印太危机热点 美日菲串联应变计划 (DW)Aries A. Arugay13 April 2024