Alan Robles

Alan Robles

Alan Robles has been a journalist for more than 30 years and has written for the SCMP since 2002. A freelance foreign correspondent specialising in politics, development, foreign affairs, science, env

Read full bio
Philippines caught between superpowers in South China Sea
The Philippine navy has been ordered not to join US-led military exercises in the South China Sea, in what analysts said was an attempt to placate China while distancing the Philippines from Washington, its traditional ally. President Rodrigo Duterte decided his country should not take part in naval exercises in the disputed sea “except in our national waters, [within] 12 miles of our shores,” defense secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday. Lorenzana said the decision was aimed at keeping a lid on tensions in the region, where there has been an increase in the frequency and intensity of US military activity, including the recent deployment of two aircraft carriers. With ties between Beiji
Rise of Chinese sex rings catches Philippines by surprise
A sudden new development in the sex trade in the Philippines has left the country’s law enforcers scratching their heads: the rise of Chinese prostitutes catering exclusively to Chinese customers. Nearly 300 Chinese sex workers and their clients were rounded up in raids by the Philippine authorities on 12 brothels in six cities in the second half of last year, the Philippine media company ABS-CBN reported this week. Agents believe all the raided premises were being run by mainland Chinese, for Chinese clients. A source at the National Bureau of Investigation who took part in one of the raids told the South China Morning Post the brothels are a “new development.” The brothels’ customers, pros