ANU Philippines Update Conference 2018: Contesting the Philippines

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University House Hotel

1 Balmain Crescent

Acton, ACT 2601


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As the Duterte administration marks its two-year anniversary, the Philippines is undergoing a series of internal and external shocks that go to the heart of its constitution and its legal and social policy contract with its citizens. The Duterte administration’s signature to date has been a Manila-centric show of strength through the imposition of martial law, a punitive anti-drugs policy, and executive disregard for independent agencies. The national commitment to rule of law and human rights has also been called into question. This has energized and called forward many other policy actors: technocrats, business, civil society actors, the military and armed groups and individuals and groups across the spectrum of Filipino politics.

Externally, the Duterte government has embraced China as a new bilateral partner, notwithstanding the tensions surrounding China’s maritime activities. The 2017 Marawi siege has underscored the vulnerability of the Southern Philippines to external terrorist groups and has been a major set-back to achieving a sustainable peace and a political settlement for Mindanao. These issues bear directly on the Australia-Philippines relationship and the forms of legal and security cooperation that will characterize our future relationship, as well as the regional standing of the Philippines as an effective actor within ASEAN and within the Asia-Pacific more widely.

This 2018 Update aims to chart some of the national, regional and international policy challenges confronting the Philippines and what its constitutional, legal, business and security pathways are likely to look like in the coming years.

Keynote speakers (confirmed):

  • Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Secretary, Department of Budget and Management, Philippines
  • Chief Justice Maria Lourdes P. A. Sereno, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Paper Abstract submissions are now invited. Presentations should address topics that fit broadly with the conference theme from fields including political economy; trade and investment; law and regulation; poverty and social protection; electoral politics; judicial politics; gender, health and policy; conflict and peace-building; governance and accountability; bilateral and regional relations; democratization and human rights; media and politics; climate change and policy responses, security and terrorism.
Selected papers will be considered for publication.

Forum submissions: Paper submissions that cannot be accommodated in panel may be invited to feature as interventions or to pose questions during the Day 2 Update Forum.

Poster submissions: Graduate and postgraduate students working on aspects of the Philippines or Australia-Philippines relations are invited to
prepare poster presentations of their work in progress, which will be displayed during the conference. Poster presenters will have an opportunity to introduce their work to Update participants as part of the Update program.

Format: The format for the 2018 Update will be a series of Update panels on Day 1, followed by a round table and plenary Update Forum on Day 2. The concept for the Forum is to provide an opportunity for a series of moderated interventions and conversation starters on the many issues confronting the Philippines today and an opportunity for wide-ranging discussion and debate. A poster session featuring graduate and postgraduate student research is also planned.

Paper abstracts (maximum 300 words) are invited for submission by 30 January 2018. Notification of acceptance will be by 15 February 2018.

Presenters whose papers are accepted will be notified by 15 February 2018 and in some cases, travel subsidies to attend the conference will be available.

Poster submissions are invited for submission by 30 March 2018. The Update organizers will work with students submitting on format, graphics and printing.

Contact Rory MacNeil at for questions and paper/poster submissions

Philippines Update Program (draft)

Thurs 24 May 2018

  • Speaker Dinner (by invitation)

Friday 25 May 2018

  • Political Update
  • Economic Update
  • Social Update
  • Conference Dinner

Saturday 26 May

  • Philippines Update Forum

About the Philippines Update

The Philippines Update is a biennial conference that provides in-depth assessment of the recent political, social and economic situation with a thematic focus on timely issues affecting the Philippines. The Update aims to build closer engagement among academics, policy makers, the corporate sector, development sector, and other non-government actors about important issues and development challenges facing the country. It fosters greater awareness between Australia and the Philippines on matters that are of mutual interest.

Each Update includes presentations of political, economic, legal and social developments that address the conference theme. The first Philippine Update was organized in 2012. The Philippines Update is supported by the Australian National University and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Conference Output
Selected papers from the 2018 conference will be produced as an edited book by the conference convenors.

Conference Convenors 2018

The Philippines Update 2018 Conference is convened by:

Professor Veronica Taylor
School for Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet)

Dr Steven Rood
Past Country Director, the Philippines
The Asia Foundation
Visiting Fellow, Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
Australian National University

Philippines Project Director
Dr Imelda Deinla
Regulatory Institutions Network
Tel No.: +612 6125 1503

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University House Hotel

1 Balmain Crescent

Acton, ACT 2601


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