Philippines – COI

Dr Vina Lanzona 


Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, Dr Lanzona is considered a “Martial Law Baby”, having grown up under Martial Law. As a student at the Ateneo de Manila University, she was part of the People Power Revolution. After college, she worked briefly for the Aquino government, then came to the United States to pursue graduate studies, completing an M.A. in Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York, and a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr Lanzona eventually moved to Honolulu to join the faculty at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa (UHM). She is now an Associate Professor in History and served as the Director of the Center for Philippines at the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, UHM. While her research focuses on the Philippines, she teaches and occasionally publishes work on Modern Southeast Asia, a region that she visits on a regular basis. Dr. Lanzona specializes in historical and contemporary issues that affect the politics and society of modern Philippines, including issues concerning gender and women’s rights, human rights, and social and political movements.

Mr. Noel Gomez Villaroman


Noel Villaroman is an Australian-registered foreign lawyer with expertise on Philippine law. He offers legal assistance primarily to members of the Filipino migrant community in Melbourne, Australia. He has been an expert witness and lead counsel on a number of administrative appeals filed on behalf of Filipino nationals seeking refugee status.He obtained a master of laws (LLM) degree in international human rights law from the University of Notre Dame in the US and another master’s degree (LLM by research) from Monash University in Australia. He is currently a PhD in Law candidate in Monash University. His publications may be viewed at

Professor John Sidel


John Sidel, Sir Patrick Gillam Professor of International and Comparative Politics, London School of Economics and Political Science , worked in the Political Section of the U.S. Embassy in Manila and in the East Asia and  the Pacific Division of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Thereafter, he conducted  Ph.D. research in the Philippines. His research is of direct relevance to trafficking-related and other asylum cases, focusing on local politics, corruption, criminality, conflict, and violence in the country. Among his publications, Capital, Coercion, and Crime: Bossism in the Philippines (1999), and Philippine Politics and Society in the Twentieth Century (2000) co-authored with Eva-Lotta E. Hedman, and a number of articles and essays, including ones of recent vintage. Sidel speaks two major Philippine languages, Tagalog and Cebuano, and has spent considerable time  there over the past four years engaged in research on policy reform initiatives in connection with Transparency International, the Asia Foundation, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. 

Dr Zachary Abuza

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Dr. Zachary Abuza is a Professor at the National War College, in Washington, DC, where he focuses on Southeast Asian politics and security issues, including governance, insurgencies, democratization and human rights. He has just completed a manuscript, a comparative analysis of the peace processes in Aceh, Mindanao and southern Thailand, to be published in September 2016 by Rowman Littlefield. In 2015, he authored a major study on the media and civil society development in Vietnam for the National Endowment for Democracy. He is the author of six books, five monographs and numerous articles and book chapters on politics and security issues in Southeast Asia.

Joshua Kurlantzick


Joshua Kurlantzick is Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he studies Asian politics, rights, and economics. He also has done extensive work on asylum cases for nationals from Vietnam, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, Nepal, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and other Northeast, Southeast and South Asian nations. His work has included analyses of the political environment, judiciary, and state of political and civil rights in many South, Southeast, and Northeast Asian countries, as well as assessments of criminal syndicates and trafficking in these states. He has worked with more than ten U.K. firms and multiple U.S. firms on nearly thirty asylum cases. He is the author of five books on Southeast Asian politics, institutions, rights, and economics. Kurlantzick also has been a Visiting Scholar in the China program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy, a Columnist for Time, a Special Correspondent for The New Republic, an Asian Correspondent for The Economist, and a Contributing Writer for Mother Jones, among other positions. He has twenty years of experience covering events in Asia, and writing about rights issues in Asia, for a range of periodicals including The New York Times Magazine, Harper’s, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone, the London Review of Books, The Washington Monthly, The Washington Quarterly,  and Foreign Policy, among others.

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Cate Buchanan


Cate Buchanan is a peace process specialist with proven subject expertise on armed violence prevention and reduction, gun control, gender inclusion and participation, harm reduction and drug policy, and evidence-based policymaking. With an established interest in public policy, she has a strong skill-set in policy analysis, strategy development, training, and programme implementation. Cate has worked with peace process actors related to conflicts in Abkhazia, Georgia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, South Ossetia, Sudan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and elsewhere, as well as at the global policy level. Previous roles include Chief Editor of the book “Gun Violence, Disability and Recovery”(2014). Cate worked for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) from 2001 to 2013, firstly managing the Arms Programme, and from 2008 as a consultant and Senior Adviser implementing a portfolio of work incorporating gender into operations and policy and supporting HD’s work in Asia. She has also worked as a consultant to the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the UN Development Programme, drafting a module for the UN International Small Arms Control Standards and programme guidance on strengthening national gun laws.