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Subject: International Political Economy

Name: Placio, Marielle Erika V. Date: March 15, 2018

Course/ Section: ABFS FS302 Professor: Sir Jumel G. Estrañero

A. Philippine Democratization, Marginalization & Integration of Politico-

Economic Department

B. Chapters

I. Introduction/ Abstract

The Philippines had promising prospects being the first democratic state in
Southeast Asia as well as the first Asian state that challenged the overwhelming
power of colonialism. The Philippine state had also become a symbol for
democracy, proving that the power vested in the people can triumph over
oppressive and abusive regime without the use of bloodshed and the costly
consequences that revolutionary wars bring.

However, what went wrong? Despite being a democratic country, why does the
people and the vast majority of the population continue to be marginalized and
experience huge inequality gap and injustices? Despite our rich resources why do
the people at the lowest level of society not feel the improvements and
advancements accomplished? Are we really a democratic nation? If so then what
is the state of our nation?

This paper studies and seeks to understand the status of Philippine

Democracy, its contribution to Economic growth and the factors affecting
Democratic consolidation. Origins of the Philippine democracy and its implications
will be discussed as well as the implications of Marcos’ abrogation of democratic
rule and its reinstatement by Corazon Aquino.

It also includes the factors as to why democracy in the Philippines is ‘decaying’;

factors such as the dominance of the elite and the middle class, the patronage
system and the political clans and dynasties; corruption and fraud that leads to
political violence and violation of human rights. Poverty and the widening gap of
material inequalities which result to insurgencies and dissatisfied populace.

The relationship and contribution of economy to democracy will also be tackled

and the effects of globalization to the current state of our country. As the topics are
broad and complex, we will not include the complexities and how each of these
factors came to be, but rather, provide a brief but substantial basis.
II. A. Statement of the Problem

1. What is the status of the Philippine Democracy before and after

EDSA Revolution?
2. What are the Factors affecting Democratic Consolidation in the
3. What is the relationship of Philippine Economic Growth to Philippine

B. Methodology

Research Design

This study uses Historical Development, SWOT analysis and Critical

Analysis as its methodology.

Through reviewing literature of the historical development of the State of a

Democratic Philippines, this study attempts to study the origins, past events
and changes over time. History holds many important and significant lessons
wherein we can learn a lot from. It widens our perspectives and may grant us
insights as to what should be done to avoid repeating past mistakes. This study
will point out the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of Philippine
Democracy in the Politico-Economic Department and will critically analyse the
data gathered through scrutinization of tiny facts and details.
III. Review of Related Literature


Democracy is defined as a government in which the supreme power is

vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a
system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections. On
the other hand, Democracy defined etymologically, can then be literally
translated by the following terms: Government of the People or Government of
the Majority; one of its most common definition is defined by Lincoln as: ‘the
government of the people, by the people and for the people’. To put it another
way we can say that a government comes from the people; it is exercised by
the people, and for the purpose of the people’s own interests.

Origins of Philippine Democracy

The first national revolution that happened in Asia during the colonial era
was started by the Filipinos against Spain in 1896. At that time, only the
Filipinos, out of all the colonized subjects in Asia, had seen themselves as a
nation that has a right to independence and therefore revolted against their

When the United States colonised the Philippines in 1898 it planned to

gradually grant self-determination to the country as the principles of democracy
were absorbed by the population.1 Education then was only limited to elites and
few privileged citizens, therefore, only those small group was able to benefit
from the system instituted by the US. Filipinos who worked in the American
administration came to value the concept of self-government and when the
Commonwealth started, the political parties were formed and most of the
population was educated into accepting the principles of democracy, which
meant having a ruling party and an opposition 3. The small group of Filipino
elites then realized that each party—particularly the Nacionalista and the
Liberal party; which differed only a little in their ideology had dominated the
Philippine politics—would have its turn in government, thus making some
politicians switch parties to gain office. However, the democratic system that
developed did not represent the majority of the population2.

The American-style democracy implemented in the Philippines is very

fragile; as Diamond stated: ‘Except in rare instances, democracy does not work
when foreign models are imposed, and many features of American democracy
are ill-suited to poor, unstable and divided countries’ the constitutional structure
of the Philippines have been closely patterned to that of the United States. The
offices and terms of office are similar; the constitutional forms and

Origins of Democracy in the Philippines. Accessed February 27, 2018. http://press-
establishments are mostly copies of American institutions that have been
introduced early during the American occupation and have been absorbed over
a period of almost 50 years.

The result of this is that the Philippine political system is more like Latin
America than Asia. It possesses many of the traditional Hispanic characteristics
of a democratic government, including control of key institutions by the few
elites, ‘patron’ based system of civil service and political parties, industrialists
protected from domestic and foreign competition and massive unemployment.
The result is an economy that cannot grow rapidly, cannot distribute income
fairly and cannot pay its debts. Under such circumstances, prospects for
democracy are bleak.3

Death and Rebirth of Philippine Democracy

After the Commonwealth period came The Third Republic of the Philippines.
Distraught by the Second World War, the Third Republic faced problems in the
Economy as well as in the government where graft and corruption took place.
Nevertheless, the Philippines remained a democratic country. It was during the
latter half of the Third Republic, until the first half of the Fourth Republic of the
Philippines when democracy ‘died’ in the country, following President Marcos’
declaration of Martial Law and his rule as a dictator.

Martial Law was imposed under the pretexts of a threat from the
insurgencies by the Communists and by the Filipino Muslims in the south and
the need to establish a "new society" in the country4. New Society was about
equality. There should be an equal treatment for everyone, no matter if one is
poor or rich. The New Society was the cure to the old and sick society that had
suffered from the previous political leaders. Unlike the old society, which was
said to have made poor people poorer, the New Society would care more for
human life. This ideology also emphasized the need for a strong commitment
to nationalism and reversal of the unstable democratic system.5 ‘National
discipline’ had to be instilled, which may bring about “initial discomforts among
a citizenry that had been led to believe that freedom and licentiousness were
one and the same”, and these “reforms were to call for a measure of sacrifice
from the people.”6 This suggested that for the reforms of the government to
succeed, the Filipinos should learn to sacrifice their liberty and abide by the
government’s rules. Freedom and sovereignty that the Filipinos were relishing
before the martial rule were equivalent to arrogance and would lead to disorder.
The need for authoritarian rule was adverted as an essential factor to foster

Burton, Charles, and Thomas W. Robinson. "Democracy and Development in East Asia: Taiwan, South Korea, and
the Philippines." International Journal47, no. 2 (1992): 457. doi:10.2307/40202776.
Proclamation 1081, September 21, 1972.
Buenrostro, Iyra S. "From Collecting to Tracing Documentary Realities: The Intertextuality of “New Society”."
August 21, 2017, 1-9. Accessed March 12, 2018. http://library.ifla.org/1832/1/187-buenrostro-en.pdf.
“One Year of the New Society”, 1973, p. 4
economic growth in the Philippines and to steer clear of communist

Because democracy was so easily abrogated it has been argued that it had
not in fact taken root in the Philippines.8 According to Raymond Gastil, an
American social scientist, ‘A democratic constitution does not make a
democracy; only democratic, constitutional behaviour that follows a long period
of experience and education can truly constitute democracy’. Despite the 1935
constitution instilling democratic principles as well as a democratic structure of
government, political practice did not conform with the theory.

During the Martial Law, Marcos was able to control all of the government
with the military answering to his beck and call. Any act of rebellion was
supressed, curfew hours were enforced, group assemblies were banned,
privately-owned media facilities were shut down and all those that can be
considered threats to Marcos’ regime are forcefully stopped and renowned
politicians and media personas are arrested.9

Unlike South Korea and Taiwan, where economic development was

achieved within an authoritarian political system, in the Philippines people
found themselves losing on both counts: they lost their democratic institutions
and rights, and they became less developed than their northeast Asian
counterparts. Having destroyed democracy in 1972, the Philippines suffered
economic decline within the decade thereafter.10

The end of dictatorship and the revival of democracy in the Philippines

ushered in an era of transition. The transition was not easy, and it didn’t happen
right away. Corazon C. Aquino became the symbol of democracy and when
she assumed power in February 1986, she renounced the dictatorial powers
and returned the Philippines to the rule of law, replacing the Marcos constitution
with a democratic, progressive document that won overwhelming popular
approval.11 This, however, took almost two years, given a restive and divided
military, political destabilization from loyalists of the deposed dictator, and
inherited problems including the twin Communist and Moro insurgencies, a
ravaged economy, and a corrupt bureaucracy.12

Buenrostro, op. cit.,
Abrogating Democracy. Accessed March 05, 2018. http://press-
Meyers, Diana Tietjens. "Emotional Understanding and Victims’ Stories." Victims Stories and the Advancement of
Human Rights, 2016, 102-39. doi:10.1093/acprof: oso/9780199930388.003.0004.
Burton, et al. op. cit., (as n.2 above)
Library of Congress
Burton, et al. op. cit., (as n.2 above)
Contradictions in the 1987 Constitution

The current charter is littered with so many contradictions. Section 1, Article

II of the 1987 Constitution states that “The Philippines is a democratic and a
republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government
authority emanates from them.” This section reflects American influence,
except the fact that it bears a contradicting term that is “democratic.” Up to
these days, no one really offered a clear, unambiguous definition of democracy.
This political term is mostly associated with the words “free society”.13

The words “republican” and “democratic” are two distinct terms, bearing
different meanings and denotations. This is one example of Philippine
departure from the American constitution. Federalist papers show that the
framers of the American Constitution refused to use the word democratic to
describe the political system of the United States not merely because it is
vague, but also because it was not their intention to establish a democratic
state. According to James Madison, his idea of a republican state does not
mean popular democracy in which power is left in the hands of the people. In
a true republican state, political power is delegated through popular elections
to elected officials, thereby providing a shielding barrier from reckless or
injudicious mob governance.14

Democratic Decay

The state that developed after the declaration of Philippine independence

in 1945 may be described as both a “premature” and “weak” state. It is a
premature state because it was born before reaching the full term of statehood.
That is, it became a state not through the development of a cohesive national
consciousness, but through the actions of its former colonial masters. As a
result, the state’s legitimacy is contested in some regions. The Philippine
state’s weakness, meanwhile, stems from its lack of relative autonomy from the
parochial interests of dominant Filipino social classes, powerful political
families and clans, an influential landed elite, and wealthy Filipino capitalists.15

The Philippine politics is still far from the kind of democracy that espouses
socioeconomic justice, consistent state’s regard for human rights, equitable
economic development that many established countries in the West have
already achieved.16 Philippines disintegrating democracy shows signs of a

"The Moral Base of the Filipino Nation and Philippines Intellectual Bankruptcy." THE VINCENTON POST. September
14, 2011. Accessed March 15, 2018. https://fvdb.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/the-moral-base-of-the-filipino-nation-
in Managing Society in the Midst of Diversity. 2016.
Regilme, op. cit., p.2
decaying political system. South East Asia’s oldest democratic state had
complete democratic institutions such as the congress and other mechanisms
for popular participation that was the first in all of South East Asia and even
when democracy in the Philippines has proven to be persistent during EDSA
Revolution that even inspired other nonviolent revolutions in other parts of the
world; Philippine democracy is indeed impaired.

A weak Philippine state results in the “politics of privilege,” a rent-seeking

activity causing corruption and mismanagement of the Philippine political
economy. One scholar describes this as “booty” or “crony” capitalism in which
private interests are pursued using public resources and in which economic
and political oligarchs abuse the apparatus of the state17

Philippine politics has been experiencing enduring patterns of corrupt

governance, electoral fraud, poverty, disregard for socioeconomic justice and
the widening gap of material inequalities. Like many developing democracies,
the Philippine political economy has characteristics of a dominant capitalist elite
class. These influential groups are usually powerful families that can be traced
back to the Spanish and American colonial eras. Spain gave birth to extremely
powerful elites who owned land while America perpetuated these families by
choosing famed individuals as part of the colonial government. Later on, after
gaining independence, these same famed individuals occupied key positions
in the early years of the formation of the Philippine government.

The downfall of Marcos’ authoritarian regime still failed to put an end to the
dominance of the elites, but rather, a new group of politicians elected in the
succeeding government became a new class of economic and political elites.
Even at the local level, local elites enjoy political endurance and economic
prosperity, proving that national politics is clearly contingent at the local level.18
Elites that have been dominating national and local posts are adept only in
advancing personal interests rather than making coherent policies, becoming
an ‘elite above the law.’19 Because of these dominating class, democratically
grounded interests that could be the basis of a successful political mobilization
brought by social movements are not made, stunting development of the

The power to stage major changes in the political and social infrastructures
was definitely controlled by various elite factions, and, in the case of the
Philippines, not even “social movements from below” were enough to resist the
“soft” and “hard” power of the national elite factions;20 further described as the
source of political instability that has weakened the strengthening of political

Banlaoi, op. cit., p.206
Ibid., p.6
Rogers, S. Philippine politics and the rule of law. Journal of Democracy. 2004. 111–125
Regilme, op. cit., p.8
institutions and democratic legal process.21 Thus, the fundamental weakness
of the democratic government is the oppressive elitism that disregards the rule
of law, practices corruption and dominates the national political-economic

Electoral process in the Philippines also proved to have been plagued with
dominance of political clans and dynasties. The principle of electoral process
was supposed to be promoting a broader political representation where elected
leaders were to represent public interest. The persistence of political dynasties,
and not principle-based political parties, was one of the most enduring features
of the Philippine Congress, even with the fall of Marcos.22

Philippine’s political landscape also features undeveloped political party

system and mediocre political parties. Aside from being controlled by political
economic elites, political parties lack ideologies and platforms and are instead,
becoming personal agendas of personalities. There is also the issue of political
violence in electoral processes. The elites’ excessive use of government
resources, fraud and massive cheating became the cause for political violence
for those in power will resort to extreme means to maintain the power they

Philippines do not have a strong enough foundation for developing

democracy under their own leadership and with their own resources. It has
been evident with management, corruption and failure to enforce needed
reforms. These destroyed public confidence and trust in the Government and
contributed to democratic decay as well as political instability and poor
economic growth.

The Communist-led Hukbalahaps are the symptom of the social disease

that affects all levels of life in the Philippines. These insurgents instil fear, chaos
and bloodshed in the different parts of the country. The root of the Hukbalahap
problem, however, is the dissatisfaction generated by the growing numbers and
poverty of the Filipino farm families who constitute almost three-fourths of the
population.23 The Philippines has one of the oldest surviving armed communist
insurgencies in the world that not even a dictatorial or an electoral democratic
regime was able to eliminate.

The failure of the electoral democratic government to resolve armed

conflicts shows that many of these armed conflicts—spurred by communist,
Islamic fundamentalists, and highly organized criminal syndicates— are the
reflection of the huge material inequality gap in many areas of the country and

Doronila, A. The state, economic transformation, and political change in the Philippines, 1946–1972. Singapore:
Oxford University Press. 1992
Regilme, op. cit., p.9
Ravenholt, op. cit., (as in n.15)
are constantly deprived of the state’s public good due to the concentration of
power and economic flows in Manila. These insurgencies also show the lack
of morality and democratic characteristics of the elected national and local
political leaders and the ‘rotten state apparatus’ that supports them.24

The armed conflicts as well as brutal and illiberal policing practices of the
government is a paradox to the supposedly liberal democratic state such as the
Philippines. The origins of these oppressive police power started from the
American occupation and despite the re-democratization, it has still persisted,
proven by the extrajudicial killings during Arroyo’s regime in the hope of
silencing political dissidents and critics. The abusive police power and the
dominance and furthering of the few elites of their own interests are one of the
pressing factors as to why democratic consolidation in the Philippines is still

Democracy and Growth

Before the independence, the Philippines went through a transitional

Commonwealth period that prepared Filipinos for self-governance; however,
the Americans have failed to prepare us in the economic field. We have been
granted with personal liberty, early suffrage, universal education, but the
masses of our people were maintained in their historical status of "hewers of
wood and drawers of water" since the Spanish colonial era. The United States
may have granted us independence but our economy can be described as a
colonial economy; keeping the Philippines as providers of the raw materials for
US’ giant industries, that may have enriched few sugar barons and coconut
exporters but subjected the millions to continued serfdom.25

The economic, political, as well as military dependency of Philippines to US

can be seen as equivalent to neo-colonialism. It can be further seen when
Americans ensured that the funds for war reconstruction were tied to
disadvantageous pre-conditions. The 1946 Trade Act greatly favoured the
USA; it established quotas on Philippine exports and granted US citizens equal
economic rights with Filipinos. These conditions constrained economic
development. These factors, among others, led to the 1949 economic crisis,
which then gave rise to oligarchic plunder; oligarchs created monopolies that
enriched themselves. This system later became the roots of ‘crony capitalism’
when Marcos took power. They became one of the factors that stifled the
growth and competitiveness of the Philippine export industries. The Economic

Regilme, op. cit., p.18
Manglapus, Raul S. "The State of Philippine Democracy." Foreign Affairs. October 11, 2011. Accessed February 27,
2018. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/philippines/1960-07-01/state-philippine-democracy.
policy of the Philippines was not shaped by the challenges and difficulty of the
economy, but rather, by the interests of the few oligarchs.26

Marcos’ developmental programmes were financed heavily by foreign

borrowing, and when he was overthrown, the government was bankrupt and
was in a massive debt. This proved that an authoritarian government in the
Philippines was not able to improve the economy but instead became an
aggravating factor for the patronage system. Attempts to reform the economy
after Marcos have been unsuccessful mostly due to opposition from powerful
oligarchy and as a result of government’s own incompetency and corruption.27

During the ‘rebirth’ of democracy in the Philippines, changes were made, in

the economic sector, democracy meant liberalization and the opening up of the
economy. Trade and tariff reforms were introduced, removing virtually all
quantitative restrictions on imports and radically slashing down protective
tariffs. All unnecessary controls were removed, privatization of a significant
percentage of assets under government control was pursued. The few state
financial institutions that had to remain in government hands were rehabilitated.
Foreign debt was restructured and dutifully paid under an internationally
sponsored and supported program. A free enterprise regime was made to

The Philippine economy was able to eventually re-enter the world’s financial
markets28. However, these changes and reforms were not enough to bring the
Philippines into economic prosperity. Aquino succeeded in restoring
democracy but failed to solve all the problems left by the previous governments.
Two key problems were prominent in hindering the economic growth amidst
the return of electoral democracy; agrarian reform and widening gap of material

During Corazon Aquino’s regime, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform

Program was passed as a law, however, Corazon Aquino’s family owned
Hacienda Luisita was exempted from the said law. This is one of the reasons
why the electoral democracy in the country failed to deliver economic prosperity
and lessen inequality which caused mass alienation.29 Material inequality in the
Philippines demonstrate how electoral democracy is unable to live up to the
ideals of socioeconomic justice.
Maca, Mark, and Paul Morris. "The Philippines, the East Asian ‘developmental states’ and education: a
comparative analysis of why the Philippines failed to develop." Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International
Education42, no. 3 (2012): 461-84. doi:10.1080/03057925.2011.652814.
Maca, ibid., p.471
Estanislao, Jesus P. "Transition to democracy: the Philippine experience." Inquirer Business Transition to
democracy the Philippine experience Comments. Accessed March 06, 2018.
Regilme, Salvador Santino Jr. Why Asia’s Oldest Democracy is Bound to Fail. Journal of Developing Societies. 2016.
1-26. Doi:32. 10.1177/0169796X16651947.
Another factor that affected the economy is the education system of the
Philippines. Education is one of the factors that made the Tiger countries
develop after the war. In contrast, the Philippines have failed to do what its
neighbours did – education to serve the needs of the economy, and education
to form national identity.

Education should have instilled a sense of common heritage, shared

ancestors, enemies and heroes; but the Philippines failed to develop this values
that resulted in ‘amorphous national identity’ and weak nationalist
consciousness. This can be seen in the way the Philippines relationship with
the US is portrayed; most textbooks financed by the World Bank portrayed
Americans as ‘accidental’ colonizers; avoided reference to the War of
Independence against the US and the portrayal of Spain as the villain and the
US as the hero that ‘rescued’ the Philippines30.

Decentralization of the education system also proved to be ineffective as it

failed to stop corruption in the education sector and was made worse by the
post-war commercialization of education in the Philippines which made rich
college presidents richer while students suffer from expensive fees and
teachers from low salary and wages. The quality of education has been on
decline since then31.

Education in the Philippines therefore was seen by Filipinos only as a tool

to alleviate poverty and encourage social development, in contrast to
successful East Asians’ practice which saw education as a tool for national
development. This attitude made the Filipinos overlook the advantage of
education in the economy of the country.

Filipinos also fostered education as a tool for migration, textbooks that were
used often included ‘ideal’ Western life, instilling in the youths the desire to
migrate to foreign lands that are better than their own country to experience
better living conditions. Aside from the high unemployment rate in the country,
this was why Filipino professionals that are badly needed in the Philippines
choose to migrate and offer their services to other countries.32

There are political consequences that labour export cause; capital-rich

countries in the West benefit the most from the highly skilled and extremely
motivated Filipino workers, while the labour-exporting countries lose the much-
needed labour power that is needed to fuel their emerging economies.33 These
also has tremendous effects on the quality of social welfare opportunities in the

Maca, et al. op. cit., p.474
Ravenholt, Albert. "The Philippines: Where Did We Fail?" Foreign Affairs. October 11, 2011. Accessed February 27,
2018. https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/philippines/1951-04-01/philippines-where-did-we-fail.
Maca, et al. op. cit., p. 476-478
Regilme, op. cit., p.17
Philippines and most importantly, the excessive promotion of migration or
overseas jobs by the state as a solution to the problems of social justice,
reflects how state agencies confessed that domestic problems are difficult to
solve and that their constituents are better off by just moving abroad.34

Based on researches, the political freedoms installed in most of the newly

independent African states in the early 1960s did not tend to last Conversely,
nondemocratic places that experience substantial economic development have
a tendency to become more democratic. Examples include Chile, Korea,
Taiwan, Spain, and Portugal. This implies that economic developments that
improve the standards of living, raise the possibility that political institutions
become more democratic over time.35

Although it has been a subject of debate whether democracy comes first

before development or vice versa, studies have demonstrated that the effect of
regime type on growth is mediated by a country’s secular-historical experience
of democracy and authoritarianism. This claim stands in sharp contrast to the
conventional wisdom that there is no consistent relationship between growth
and democracy—or, perhaps, a negative relationship. While a country’s level
of democracy in a single year has no measurable impact on its growth rate in
the subsequent year, its democratic experience over the course of the years is
positively associated with growth in subsequent years. Long-term democracy
leads to stronger economic performance.36

Therefore, for developing countries such as the Philippines with a young

history of democratic experience compared to America and other successful
democratic countries, exporting democratic institutions (as what happened
between US and Philippine) are not encouraged. ‘Democracy is not the key to
economic growth;’ political freedoms tend to break down as time passes if they
are not aligned with the country’s standard of living. Exporting the economic
systems of the advanced western countries would prove to be more beneficial.
If economic freedom and development can be established in a poor country,
growth would be encouraged and the country will be democratic on its own.37

Democracy and Globalization

The Philippines joined the WTO in 1995 to prepare itself for global
competitiveness and gain benefits that globalization may bring. Despite its
great optimism on joining the WTO, the Philippines is still lagging behind its
Southeast Asian neighbours in terms of economic performance. The
Philippines entered the global economic arena with its domestic political

ibid., p.17
ibid., p.21
Gerring, John, Philip Bond, William T. Barndt, and Carola Moreno. "Democracy and Economic Growth: A Historical
Perspective." World Politics57, no. 03 (2005): 323-64. doi:10.1353/wp.2006.0002.
Barro, op. cit., p. 25-26
economy unprepared. The Philippine state has failed to create the kind of fertile
socioeconomic environment that would have prepared the country for global

The Philippine state is a weak state because its governing body has constantly
been under the control of the elites for the purpose of personal agendas. The
Philippine state continues to fail to insulate itself from the parochial interests of
traditional families, clans and groups that have dominated and benefited from
Philippine politics. These forces compete with the Philippine state in exercising
effective control over its diverse population.39

A premature and weak Philippine state has produced weak institutions of

governance; thus, it is unable to manage the ethnic, religious and
socioeconomic diversities in its society. The advent of globalization not only
aggravates these diversities but also makes the Philippine state and its
institutions of governance even weaker for their failure to forge a national
consensus necessary for nation-building and socioeconomic development.40
Globalization has favoured the more mobile, the more adaptable, and the
globally scarce commodities and human skills, as opposed to immobile, self-
contained, and globally abundant ones.41 Traditional Philippine agriculture, for
instance, has been unable to cope with globalization and, because of the
relatively high price of Philippine agricultural products, “increasingly represents
a drag on manufacturing and the more dynamic and globally tradable parts of
the economy.”42

If globalization has intensified socioeconomic divisions and conflicts, this is due

to the inability of the Philippine state to implement policies preparing the country
for global competitiveness. The Philippines finds it hard to cope with the
globalization process because its weak institutions of governance have failed
to create suitable socioeconomic and political conditions that will attract more
capital and technology from both domestic and foreign sources necessary for
economic growth. To overcome these challenges and reap the benefits of
globalization, the weak and premature Philippine state needs to be reinvented
through institutional reforms aimed at strengthening its institutions of
governance and creating a suitable environment for growth.43

Banlaoi, op. cit., p.203
ibid., p.205
ibid., p.206
ibid. p.210
Emmanuel S. De Dios, “Between Nationalism and Globalization” in Filomena S. Sta. Ana III (ed), The State and the
Market: Essays on a Socially Oriented Philippine Economy (Quezon City: Action for Economic Reforms, 1998), p. 28.
Banlaoi, op. cit., p.211
IV. Analysis

This chapter includes the analysis and the interpretation of data

gathered by the researcher in the review of related literature. The
Philippines underwent long periods of colonization by Spain and America.
Because of the colonizer’s oppressive rule, the Filipinos desired for freedom
and independence; thus, starting the first revolution against colonial super
powers in Asia.

This implies that the Philippines’ revolt was because of the injustices
and inequalities, as well as the marginalization of locals – or known as, then,
– indios. The revolution was spearheaded by the privileged Filipinos who
had the opportunity to study in the country or abroad. These elites were able
to learn from the advanced countries, which made them yearn for their ‘own’
independence. As this was the wish of the few educated Filipinos, it did not
form the ‘Filipino’ national identity. The uprising and revolts made by the
locals are not because of a nationalist consolidation, but rather, as a
retaliation against the oppressive governance.

This is also because of the geographic characteristics of the country.

The Philippines is an archipelagic country that is composed of thousands of
islands. These islands are separated by bodies of water, as well as the
different culture and language of the ethnic tribes that inhabits them. These
ethnic tribes identify better with their family and tribe than with the Filipino
identity as a whole.

The Americans, in their period of colonization of the Philippines, have

committed themselves to educating the Filipinos—The White Man’s
Burden, they say. The Americans also had the experience of being under
colonial rule and have fought for the notion of a nation they got to build.
They had a strong Democratic belief and that “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit
of Happiness” are the inalienable rights of man. Because of these, they
have promised to give the Philippines eventual independence and to ‘assist’
the Filipinos, they established the Commonwealth as a transitional period
to Philippine independence.

Americans advocated Democracy as well as Capitalism to our

country and had the Filipinos ingrain it in their minds. They also made our
governing system very similar to their own. These gave the Filipinos the
edge against our neighbours. We had a deep thirst for freedom, an
advanced system of government as well as having the most number of
educated citizens. The country had a very promising beginning but these
advantages proved to be one of the great weakness that contributed to the
status of Philippines today.
As stated earlier, our constitutional government has been patterned
to that of the US, that might have been the first grave error that might have
been made. The Philippines is obviously not similar to the US. Our climate,
topography, culture and environment are very different to that of the US.
The US constitution has undergone many amendments to suit the needs of
its constituents. It has been made – shaped and moulded – by their history.
It was not granted to them by any other state; they themselves devised their
own form of government. That clearly means that the US political system is
best suited to the US. It might have worked in countries which are very
similar to the US; but not with the Philippines.

The Philippines is composed of fragmented islands that are

diversified by ethnic tribes, the US system is not suited to these types of
lands. As a result, our country resembles Hispanic democracies, with a
weak state and powerful oligarchic families; rather than an Asian one. This
made the Philippine Democracy very capital centric— that is, all privileges
and improvements are centred in the capital city, Manila, —inflexible to the
socioeconomic problems of the lands; far-off islands, especially, are not
reached by the advancements made by the country, contributing to the
worsening poverty and marginalization.

The United States may have granted us independence but kept us

dependent of their economy and military. The United States left the
Philippines in a neo-colonial status. The Philippine Republic lasted until
1972 and was accurately described as an "elite democracy." It was
dominated and controlled by the country's elite who held economic and
political power. Dynastic families, whose wealth originally emerged during
the Spanish colonial era, constitute only one-fifth of the population but
receive half the country's income. It was to these elites that the U.S. handed
control of the state which they then used to perpetuate their economic and
political hold on Filipino society.

The rule of Marcos, which seeks to create his so called ‘new society’
wherein the problems of the ‘old society’ will be conquered and replaced
with better answers and solutions. Although ideal and promising, the actions
taken by Marcos was extreme, spurring revolutions and retaliations from the
people. His ideals which suggested the instilling of ‘National Discipline’
which may bring about discomforts and the sacrifice of the people’s liberty
and freedom reminds us of Hobbes’ Leviathan wherein he states that
‘Human affairs cannot be without some inconvenience’ and that it is only
natural, since from birth, we are bounded to the laws of the land we are born
in and for the greater good, we are to obey these laws despite the
inconveniences. This ideology proved to be ineffective as Filipinos found
Marcos’ way too extreme; the Filipinos, having the foundation of an
American ideology of inalienable rights, refused to give up their freedom.
Marcos’ administration, however, proved that Philippine democracy
has not yet taken root in the country. Democracy should be like a seed that
is planted which grows into an enormous tree with its roots reaching deeply,
holding it stable and firm. That way, Democracy will not easily be replaced
with oppressive rule. If one will think that Philippines already has a deep
experience with democracy, one must look further. The Philippine People
Power that overthrew Marcos was primarily started by the elite dynasties
that are losing their power. While it is true that the ordinary Filipino citizen
rose up against the violence and breach of human rights, the factor that
made the EDSA revolution successful was the support of the elite factions,
and thus, not democratically-representative. The same can be said about
the Second EDSA Revolution where Estrada was overthrown. Democracy
is the government of the people, for the people, by the people and thus,
once the government failed to serve its purpose, the people have the right
to revolt against it. But then, the Third EDSA revolution that called to remove
Arroyo and reinstate Estrada as the President, failed to reach their
objectives, primarily because it was composed of the working class and was
not supported by the elites. If the Philippine Democracy truly has instilled in
the Filipinos a Democratic behaviour and the said behaviour showed in
political practice; then revolutions held by the marginalized majority will be
recognized, and true democracy will be implemented.

The democratization of the Philippines after the People Power was a

long process infested with numerous problems of economy, insurgency and
corruption. Despite Corazon Aquino’s success in returning democracy, the
previous problems before Marcos, and the problems added by the Marcos
administration, continued to persist.

In summary, the status of Philippine before and after EDSA

revolution resemble each other. The few successful reforms reverted back
to their previous state; corruption continued and worsened, and political
dynasties flourished and the economy lagged behind Asian counterparts.

The economic development of the Philippines since the time of the

independence has been seen as a promising aspect, after all, the country
has geopolitical advantages and rich natural resources. It hasn’t, however,
developed its full potential due to the neo-colonialism left by the Americans.
Philippines have been left with outdated techniques and materials for
cultivating the economy. Despite having an independent government, the
economy has been dependent on foreign industries. Filipinos remained as
providers of raw materials for the huge economy of other countries. The
economic crisis also gave rise to oligarchic plunder which widened the
uneven wealth distribution, making the rich richer and powerful while the
poor suffer. The economy of the Philippines therefore, served only the few
Marcos’ administration worsened these inequality gap, his massive
foreign borrowing plunged the government into bankruptcy and debt. The
ills of the country worsened and reforms are unsuccessful due to
oppositions of the oligarchs. The much-needed agrarian reform to quell the
mass poverty of the farmers also failed as the elite’s wealth and power
would decrease if they were to lose their lands.

Education in the country also proved detrimental to economic growth

and the Philippine democracy. If people are not educated enough, how are
they supposed to choose the best type of leader? How would they know
that they are being exploited? Socrates stated that a democracy is only as
effective as the education system surrounding it. If the decision of who will
lead will be left in the hands of uneducated people who know nothing of
governance and politics, democracy will be the cause of the country’s
downfall – “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security
of all.” We need to realize how education is significant not only for our
personal lives but also for our country, both politically and economically.

Education has also become a business for the capitalist elites. The
tuition fees of the students continue to increase, teacher’s salary isn’t
sufficient, and the quality of education has been on decline. Education
should have served the needs of the economy, by training the mind and by
producing and propagating skills and talent that could innovate and help
further the country. Education have also failed to form national identity.

As stated earlier, the Filipino national identity and consciousness

haven’t been formed, it is still shallow because of our education as well as
our diverse ethnic and religious characteristics. The education system failed
to instil in the young minds the love for our own country; instead fostered a
colonial mentality and the desire to migrate to foreign lands to live their ideal
western life. Migration as well as overseas job rob the country of the much-
needed labour power and professionals.

This suggests that to truly constitute and sustain a democracy,

economic development must first be achieved. Democracy that isn’t aligned
with the country’s standards of living is most likely to fail as too much
freedom with very little limitations will worsen exploitation by the privileged.
Some argues that a true democracy must first be implemented and growth
would follow after, it is true however, only a long-term democracy can lead
to economic development and as stated earlier, the democracy in the
country is not shaped by our experiences and history but by the ‘copying’ of
the American democracy. Its growth had also been put to a halt when it was
abrogated by Marcos’ authoritarian rule, therefore, we can say that
Philippine Democracy is still young. In this case, economic reforms should
come in first then true democracy will follow.

Economic growth will contribute to democracy positively, and their

relationship is not, at least, negative. A prosperous economy will lead to a
more democratic system; the other way around is also true, a true
democracy will lead to economic prosperity; however, with Philippine’s
economic growth in a poor state, and the underlying oligarchic rule instead
of a true democracy; it will only aggravate the issues and provide
opportunities for elites to exploit the masses, especially if the education
quality makes them susceptible to it.

As repeatedly stated earlier, the Philippines has its reigns at the

hands of the elite class. They are very powerful and influential in the country
and is one of the many factors contributing to democratic decay and
socioeconomic problems in the country. The ‘politics of the privileged’
proved that the country is under oligarchic rule, albeit posing as a
democracy. Though an extreme assumption, it holds some truths in it, after
all, the electoral processes wherein the people can exercise the power
granted by a democratic system, is being controlled as well by those in
Electoral process in the Philippines has always been marked with
violence and chaos; candidates buying votes from the poor and
uneducated; candidates who has strong connections manipulating the vote
results, and even alleged murders of hindrances to power. The real
meaning of election has been lost. Even the heralded People Power have
been orchestrated by the elites, proven by the failure of the Third People
Power which was not backed by those elite factions.

The Constitutional Convention held by the Constitutional

Commission of 1986 to draft the present 1987 Constitution was also full of
contradicting statements. While it is true that the current constitution was a
‘collective’ effort against the dictatorship by Marcos; and was therefore
promulgated to deter possible repetition of the tragedy; some of the
provisions added negated its goal of preventing a possible future dictator
that will use it for personal gain. However, they also failed to include the
aspirations and ideals of various social groups, particularly the working
class; this is what makes this country that was subjected to colonization
vulnerable to scheming and possible dictators.
Everything seems to be a business in the country, even the political
party systems, instead of representing ideologies and different platforms for
development, become ways for these elites to maintain their power. These
greed by these elites have caused marginalization of the small, weak and
marginalized; and these have become the cause for uprisings and
insurgencies that are dissatisfied with the inequalities and the poor
performance of the government. They felt neglected, especially those who
are far from the capital.

The Philippines also finds it hard to cope with the globalization

process because its weak institutions of governance failed to create
conditions that will attract more capital and technology necessary for
economic growth. To overcome these challenges Philippines needs reforms
to strengthen its institutions and create a suitable environment for growth.

These issues faced by the country are the factors affecting

democratic consolidation in the country. Democracy cannot be ingrained in
each of us due to mismanagement of ethnic and religious diversities,
socioeconomic problems, inefficient education system, corruption and
control by the wealthy and powerful, the strong concentration of wealth
flows in the capital, neglecting the far of islands, the migration of
knowledgeable professionals and workers and the insurgencies caused by
corruption and lack of intellectual leadership, which would guide the people
in their decisions

An overhaul of the system is needed in order to solve the issues that

have been hindering the potential of the Philippines, real reforms in agrarian
department, institutions and bureaucracies, electoral processes and
education system should be undertaken as well as the amendments of the
constitution based on real and true altruism. Good governance must be
instilled in the leaders as well as moral compass and nationalism. This,
however, must not only be done by the government and the president, but
rather, it must be done by each of the Filipinos. Change should be accepted
by all citizens, be it upper class, or the lower class. Building a nation is a
collective task, sustaining it might be the government’s job but the country
should work as a whole, with one identity, in order to truly reap the benefits
of having a democratic country.
V. Conclusion

The Democracy in the Philippines has a weak foundation. The result

is that the Philippines became a weak and premature state that has been
ruled by the privileged few, hindering economic growth and causing
socioeconomic problems such as poverty, inefficient education,
unemployment and underemployment and social unrest due to terrorists
and insurgents.

Overall, The State of the Philippine Democracy in the political and

socio-economic problems are constantly plagued with extreme social
conflict and issues. What we see in the Philippines today is an oligarchy
posing as democracy but Democracy and Oligarchy are like oil and water;
they cannot coexist. To truly constitute and sustain a democracy, reforms
must be made and the government must release its bondage to the
patriarchal and dynastic characteristics and govern for the greater good of
its constituents.

It is evident that Philippines hadn’t had Democracy at its best; we

may have seen it at its worst, but that means that the best can still be
achieved. Sometimes decay and disintegration are not the end but rather a
catalyst for change and true reform.

Recommendation includes the study of other forms of government to

prove if the Philippines is better off as a democracy as well as the different
remedies to the issues of the economy, politics, security and education.
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