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The Philippines And Democracy

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Autor:   •  December 3, 2010  •  2,527 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,667 Views

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The Philippines

And the struggle for democracy

The second half of the 20th century brought many new countries in Southeast Asia. A majority of these countries began to use western democracies to shape their government. The Philippines is among the newly democratized developing states. The Philippines has been directly influenced by the United States in developing its autonomy as a democracy. Because of continuing corruption and dynastic rule, contradictions in political culture, and semi-authoritarian rule the Philippines is still far from a representative democracy and will take many more years before they do.

Background always forms the backbone of current structure. For this reason it is important to value the history of the influencing ideology just as important as the current structure. Current structure shares an equal importance in predicting the future of a state, along side with its history. The most vital issues that face any country and their chances with democracy lie in the current problems. Not only is it important to recognize these problems but also address possible solutions. Once the issues, historical and current, facing the Philippines are addressed then it becomes apparent why the country not represent a true democracy, but also why it will take much time before it does.

Ideological development

In order to understand the future of the Philippines and democracy, it is important to comprehend what democracy is and what historically has occurred in the country. Democracy even among scholars has formed many shapes. It is very important to consider all the factors and weight them accordingly to grasp the future of a country. But what is democracy?

Democracy has found a blurred definition among the average person with only the understanding that it provides liberty to its people. Although democracy has been around in history for many centuries it now demands several pillars that uphold its purpose. Along with several requirements are many tenants that intend to aid its success. What democracy is and is not is pivotal to comprehending how the ideology will be reflected within Azerbaijan.

Democracy favors small government and personal liberties over a strong government and personal freedom. The voice of a states citizen and their liberties are the most important factor. This is achieved through a representative government. There must be free and fair elections of those who are in representative roles. Elections cannot be rigged or dominated by a single party. Non-elected officials cannot influence elected officials. Although lobby groups help represent special interests, they cannot dominate elected officials. There must be freedom of speech and of association. A citizen must be able to voice his opinion without fear of governmental retribution. Also there must be freedom of the press. Media cannot be influenced or controlled by the government. This eliminates propaganda and allows the media to act as a check against the government by informing the people.

Helpful tenants of democracy are not necessarily required but they help the mission of democracy. It is strongly suggested that there is an open market economy. This promotes entrepreneurship and competition, which creates wealth and the opportunity to gain wealth. A constitution is encouraged, which provides a contract from the people over what the government can and cannot do. Equality is strongly emphasized. Universal suffrage, which allows citizens above a certain age to vote regardless of race or gender, helps achieve equality.

In the 16th century the Philippines where became a colony of the Spanish empire. The Spanish motivation for laying claim to the land was motivated by natural resources. Most of the other Southeast Asian countries became colonies of Western Europe with the exception of Thailand. This occupation of the Spanish ended in June of 1898. Three hundred years of western influence brought new ideologies and religion. Catholicism along with various different sciences and ideas were introduced to the country. In 1898 the Philippines declared its independence in part because Spain pulled out to take a larger interest in the Spanish American War. The Spanish occupation still shapes the Philippines today, as the majority of Filipino's are Catholic.

The Philippines did not become a self-governing common wealth till 1935. Manuel Quezon was elected president and the country had seven years of transitional rule. Then in 1942 the Japanese Empire came and occupied the country. It was only through hard fighting along side the United States did the Philippines become independent again. In 1946 the country became independent not just from Japanese occupation but also from United States occupation as well. The United State occupation was more influential than Japanese occupation. It was then that the U.S. started to show interest in the Philippines and conveyed its thoughts on democracy. The country structured their government on a democratic model. Yet it wasn't till 1992 when the United State closed its last military instillation. The United States and democracy, from the 1950's till the 1990's, were threatened by the spread of communism. Not only did the U.S. guard itself but also so did the developing democracy of the Philippines.

The occupation of both the Spanish and the United States has left a lasting impression on the Philippines. Not only did they introduce western religion but also democracy. The introduction of these ideologies not only brought a way of life but if brought its enemies to the gates of the Philippines. All this and much more have shaped the current state of the Philippines.

Problems facing the Philippines

The current government continues to face problems with in the Philippines. Corruption and political culture plague the advancement of true democracy. The old structure of government, since its independence, still affects the current structure. Authoritarianism, whether represented by the current president or not, still resounds in the minds of the Filipino people and the political culture. Until these issues are resolved the Philippines will not represent a democracy.

Corruption still haunts the Philippines. During the presidency of Marcos corruption became widely used as a political tool. Marcos was in office for 21 years. He was elected only through manipulation through corruption of the common people. It was only through a 'people movement' that Marcos was pulled


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