Beyond Character Experimentation: Adaptation in the Next Six Years is Vital

Filipinos wait to receive treatment during a medical civil action program part of Amphibious Landing Exercise PHIBLEX 2012 in Malabon Manila Philippines Oct. 24 2011 111024 M ED903 025 2Filipinos wait to receive treatment during a medical civil action program, part of Amphibious Landing Exercise (PHIBLEX) 2012, in Malabon, Manila, Philippines, Oct. 24, 2011. PHIBLEX is a bilateral training exercise designed to improve the interoperability, readiness and professional relationships between the U.S. Marine Corps and partner nations. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

The Philippines is an example of a middle-income country capitalizing on the advantages of adherence to democracy, decentralization, a strong civil society and its people’s capacity to innovate. It faces the challenges of deriving a governance equation that would, at least, neutralize the nationalistic limitations in its Constitution, the strong influence of international financial institutions, pervasive poverty, corruption, and yawning income and power inequalities. These challenges repeatedly form part of candidates’ campaign to secure seats in government.

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Is there room for the Filipino youth to be politically ambitious?

image1Emman Coronado Peña, youth leader. From his Facebook profile.

Meet Emman.

At 25 years of age, people might expect him to be actively pursuing a financially-profitable career, having graduated from one of the top universities in the country. He might also be expected to be saving up for a quiet and contented life for himself, while helping his relatives in the province experience more comfort than they’ve been used to.

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Marcos and Duterte: Authoritarian Nostalgia in the Philippines

Vice Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos visiting supporters in Mandaluyong City. Photo from Bongbong Marcos Facebook page.Vice Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos visiting supporters in Mandaluyong City. Photo from Bongbong Marcos Facebook page.

Our country is said to be in the midst of ‘authoritarian nostalgia.’ According to a study of six countries in Asia, the Philippines exhibits growing yearning for strongman rule and sympathy for a military intervention in government. Among the countries studied, the Philippines rejects authoritarian rule the least. The study used statistical analysis of the first and second rounds of the Asian Barometer Survey and was authored by Yu-tzung Chang, Yunhan Zhu, Chong-min Pak and. The Journal of Democracy published their findings in 2007.

I am not surprised by these findings. This election has yielded a colorful variety of personalities vying for the highest posts of the land. Despite the myriad assortment of interesting personalities, two have caught my attention, and for very exacting reasons. I refer to Bongbong Marcos, currently a Senator and running for the position of Vice President, and Rodrigo Duterte, Davao City mayor and a ‘presidentiable.’ These two people have stood out from among the rest because of the kind of government these two have come to represent. I refer to it as an authoritarian form of government.

Bongbong Marcos, as many should know, is the son of our former dictator, Ferdinand Marcos himself. Marcos (the father) has become synonymous to ‘Martial Law’ and authoritarianism, the regime that puts the people’s freedom on hold by the will of those in power. The authoritarian character of his administration was said to instill and inspire discipline among Filipinos by way of curfews and heightened law enforcement. Many people lauded this approach, both then and now, despite the dictator’s ouster 30 years ago.

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Running Under the Shadow of Death

From left: Liberal Party Presidential candidate Mar Roxas with President Noynoy Aquino and Liberal Party Vice Presidential candidate Leni Robredo. Photo from Liberal Party website.From left: Liberal Party Presidential candidate Mar Roxas with President Noynoy Aquino and Liberal Party Vice Presidential candidate Leni Robredo. Photo from Liberal Party website.

On Oct. 5, 2015, Representative Leni Robredo formally announced in Club Filipino her bid to run as Vice President under the Liberal Party.

The festive event was solemnized by remembering the legacy of the late DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, vowing to continue the reform agenda of the daang matuwid in the Philippines. As much as the event attempted to establish an independent Leni Robredo before a gathering of friends, there remains noticeable proof of citing the memories and legacy of Jesse Robredo at work.

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