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MANILA, Philippines – The year-and-a-half under President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. may not be as wild and intense as Rodrigo Duterte’s, but the year 2023 was anything but calm.
The intensity of the news cycle is reflected in the number of stories on wide-ranging issues published under Rappler’s Newsbreak section. Through in-depth and investigative reports, reporters, researcher-writers, and contributors dove into the nitty-gritty and pulled out the big picture of the most pressing issues in the Philippines in the past year.
The legacy of Rodrigo Duterte continues to rear its ugly head in the form of persisting violence under Marcos, the controversial confidential funds that benefited former presidential daughter Vice President Sara Duterte, the corruption at the Department of Education, and the blatant disinformation that manifested in many forms.
Rappler also reported on challenges in the environment, including the unaddressed problems in the Visayas a decade after Super Typhoon Yolanda, the oil spill that hit Oriental Mindoro and adversely affected fishing communities, and the rising waters that placed parts of Bulacan in knee-deep floods. The team also looked into the ancestral lands, particularly the impact of powerful and entrenched political dynasties on the land issues of the Teduray community and the Higaonon ancestral land battle in Misamis Oriental, both in Mindanao.
Putting people at the center of our journalism, Rappler published reports on the plight of persons with disabilities (PWDs) as they tried to navigate Metro Manila’s train system and struggled to join the workforce. We also highlighted the issues of overseas Filipino workers and the lack of justice for trafficked and abused migrant workers.
Community and journalism go hand in hand at Rappler. In 2024, the team looks forward to doing more stories that not just trigger discussions, but also inspire action among stakeholders – especially those in power – to bring about change.
Check the list of stories in 2023 you should not miss.
The Duterte-Marcos fallout
- Amid Uniteam power struggle, can a ‘new opposition’ be in the works?
- De Lima’s freedom is vindication for her and a test for Marcos, Duterte
- Romualdez rebrands as West PH Sea advocate, in contrast to VP Duterte
- Martin Romualdez and his mining interests
- Mapping the businesses of Speaker Martin Romualdez
Continued violence, from Duterte to Marcos
- Duterte got licenses for over 300 guns 2 weeks before his term ended
- How politics is turning the tide in ICC probe into Duterte drug war
- Endemic disappearances cloud hope for 11 latest desaparecidos under Marcos Jr.
- When Duterte left, this team kept on counting the dead
- Navotas killing zone: 3rd young man killed in 2 months in same area
- More power, independence: Can a charter give CHR more teeth?
- The CHR leadership is still incomplete – here’s why it matters
- For Philippine lawyers, there’s no running away from murder
- Teenager John Frances Ompad wanted to be a cop, but was killed by one
- ‘Second Kian’: Jemboy Baltazar and the unending cycle of killings
- More killings, no justice: Navigating continued impunity from Duterte to Marcos
- Even after death, Kian delos Santos remains a victim of injustice
- Rappler’s series on drug war victims and their families
The dangerous fight for ancestral lands
- When fighting for ancestral lands hits a dead end
- Disaster in Kusiong landslides: How politics killed non-Moro IPs
- Ma’am Jo’s killing was a nightmare. Her dreams for the Teduray tribe are alive.
- Misamis Oriental land rush threatens Higaonon ancestral domain
- Higaonons battle for ancestral land in Misamis Oriental for years
Ten years since Yolanda
- Water, electricity issues bog Yolanda relocation plans
- A decade later: 15% of Yolanda houses unfinished, thousands unoccupied
- Call her Landa
- After Yolanda: A causeway threatens efforts by locals to restore a mangrove forest
Pressing environmental issues in the PH
- Life after catch: Sardines business holds promise for N. Samar small fishers
- In a Northern Samar town, sardines are aplenty, but their fishers aren’t
- The mangroves are safe in this small town in Negros Occidental
- Deadliest regions in the Philippines for environmental defenders
- Can Metro Manila’s cycling boom survive a return to car traffic?
- Think before you flick: That cigarette butt harms the Earth too
- In troubled waters: Rising sea levels threaten sinking town’s survival
- Marcos’ first environmental crisis leaves fisherfolk behind
- After oil spill in Oriental Mindoro, uncertain future grips fishing community
- How marine ecosystems have been kept intact in the high seas
The controversial confidential funds
- Without law, confidential and intel funds shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy
- Sara Duterte gives up bid for confidential funds: Mere political strategy?
- In confidential funds fiasco, Sara Duterte resorts to personal attacks vs critics
- Why transfer of P125-M confidential funds to OVP sets dangerous precedent
- Where DepEd’s P150-M confidential funds can be better spent
Corruption at the Department of Education
- Billions worth of learning materials being held hostage – DepEd
- Tiny logistics firm bags P667-million DepEd deal – and fails to deliver
- Negligence, corruption lead to fire sale of DepEd laptops
Challenges faced by persons with disabilities
- Rappler report helps bring train project executives, persons with disability groups in one room
- How Metro Manila’s train system fails persons with disabilities
- Still a long road ahead: PWDs struggle to join Philippine workforce
- Growing old and gay: Bridging the gap between HIV treatment and elderly care
- Forgotten identities: The triple burden faced by elderly gay Filipinos living with HIV
- The state of HIV epidemic in the Philippines
Trafficked migrants, abused overseas Filipino workers
- Diplomatic immunity and impunity – a Rappler series
- At home, and still no justice for migrant domestic workers
- When diplomats are traffickers, migrant domestic workers are enslaved
- How diplomats who traffick, exploit domestic workers get away
- For many abused migrant domestic workers, the only way out is to flee
- Part 1 | How Filipinos landed in Belgium’s biggest trafficking scandal
- Part 2 | Forgotten Filipinos struggle to remain in Belgium
- How pro-China propaganda is seeded online in the Philippines
- They’re getting smarter: How disinformation peddlers avoid regulation
- Disinformation on SOGIE bill spreads as Filipino queers face real-world discrimination