The Philippines at the time of Covid-19

Couverture Asie du Sud-Est 2021François-Xavier BONNET

2020 was a trying year for the Philippines. In addition to recurring typhoons, the country was hit by the Covid-19 crisis. The world's longest lockdown crippled the economy, plunging the population into an unprecedented social crisis. Despite this, President Duterte increased his popularity, amplified his "war on drugs", passed an anti-terrorism law that threatens basic human rights and continues to dismantle the opposition media. Faced with an aggressive China in the South China Sea, President Duterte no longer calls into question the various defence agreements with the United States. For the first time, he even acknowledged his own country's legal victory over China, over the Spratley and Scarborough Shoal disputes. But he is also preparing, with China, the exploration and exploitation of gas in the Palawan and Spratleys region (Reed Bank). The United States thus remains the main defence partner of the Philippines, and China the essential economic partner.

Keywords: Natural Disasters; Covid-19; Anti-terrorism Law; ABS-CBN; Reed Bank.