The Last Country in the World Where Divorce Is Illegal

elcome to the Philippines, home to philandering politicians, millions of “illegitimate” children, and marital laws that make Italy look liberal. NILA, Philippines — On the occasion of his 84th birthday in 2011, friends of former Filipino Senator Ramon Revilla, a darkly handsome film star turned politician, unveiled an imposing 10-meter-high bronze statue in his honor. […]

[DASH of SAS] Not a slut, not a saint

‘Being who we are can never be used as a cause or justification for rape’ Rape is rape. And it can happen to anyone – be they a slut or a saint. It wasn’t even supposed to be a “date-date,” was how Sophia (not her real name) began to recount her story. It was 8 […]

[DASH of SAS] Dear new solo mom

‘Allow yourself to understand that sometimes asking for help is not an admission of helplessness or inadequacy – but a natural, honest acceptance of who you are and who you are not’ Dear New Solo Mom, You don’t know me, but I know you. As a little girl, you may have dreamed of being a […]

Does the global HIV response understand sex?

MELBOURNE, 28 August 2014 (IRIN) – Stigma, squeamishness and misunderstanding of anal sex is leading to research gaps and inaccurate information about the risks of this common sexual behaviour, and hindering effective HIV/AIDS prevention strategies, experts say. A move towards “sex positive” approaches could enhance social acceptance and increase protection. “If we look at historical […]

[Dash of SAS] Time to end the ‘R word’

‘No father, no mother and no sibling of a child with special needs should ever have to feel alone’ A couple of weeks ago, I came across a blog post by Michelle Aventejado, who wrote about her youngest daughter, Gelli and ending the “R word.” Gelli was born with Down’s Syndrome and Michelle wrote her post […]

Alarm over post-Haiyan evacuation centre shortage

A shortage of viable evacuation centres in areas hit by Typhoon Haiyan (locally named Yolanda) has humanitarians and officials in the Philippines concerned that survivors will not have alternative accommodation in case of another one. The typhoon season usually lasts from June to November. “We urgently need to identify alternative evacuation centres,” said Conrad Navidad, […]

Making peace with Paris

What’s it like to visit a place where you’re haunted by painful memories? ‘I was afraid that a visit to the world’s capital of romance would rekindle my own heartbreak,’ writes Ana Santos. I was maybe 22 when I first started what I called “My Paris Fund.” I put in every peso, every centavo I […]

Philippines government ‘must do better’ to rebuild education

MANILA, 6 June 2014 (IRIN) – As some students in areas hit by the Philippines’s devastating Typhoon Haiyan troop back to school this month, the government’s efforts in rebuilding the education service has been met with concerns that, seven-months on, access to learning remains a challenge for far too many children. The category 5 super […]

Philippines still rebuilding six months after typhoon’s visit

MANILA, 29 May 2014 (IRIN) – More than six months after Typhoon Haiyan devastated large parts of the central Philippines, progress is being made in rebuilding livelihoods. However, huge challenges remain in making them sustainable. “What we need now is to intensify emergency employment efforts on the ground and transition into sustainable livelihood programmes,” Ruth […]