Sunday, January 03, 2010

Off the Endangered List: Philippine Democratization in Comparative Perspective

This assessment was written in 1996. Author Mark Thompson offers one key element that could make or break the Philippine democratisation project. Thirteen years later, it seems we failed to meet this element. And so, here we stand.
"A key to stable democracy is the extent to which weak performance, particularly in the economy, leads to system blame. Recent democratic transitions in Portugal and Spain occurred under poor economic conditions, but the people of neither country attributed them to democracy. In the Philippines, the record of democratic commitment is mixed. Since the fall of Marcos, the high opinion ratings given democratic politicians despite declining living standards speaks for stability. Although at the midpoint of the Ramos presidency the Philippine economy is improving (with a growth rate of 5.1 percent in 1994, projected at 6.5 percent in 1995), it has a long way to go to match the "miracle" economies of most of its Southeast Asian neighbors. In the pre-martial-law Philippines, government corruption and economic problems contributed to growing elite criticism of democracy. Political leadership has made the decisive difference between then and now: Aquino's (and thus far Ramos's) commitment to democracy contrasts with Marcos's destruction of it. However, if the Philippines does not achieve sustained development, the temptation to exploit this failure could again endanger the country's democracy."

Off the Endangered List: Off the Endangered List: Philippine Democratization in Comparative Perspective -