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Monday, February 13, 2012

PHILIPPINE POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE: Challenges to Democratization & Development by: Teresa S. Encarnacion Tadem and Noel M. Morada

Review by: Joar De Lima Concha, IV-18 BSE History

This book presents different essays about challenges to Philippine democracy and development in terms of socio-economic inequalities and social injustices. Theoretical approaches and conceptual approaches are being employed by various authors in various chapters to establish connections among each essay.

CHAPTER 1: Philippine Social Movements before Martial Law
In this chapter, the author showed how the social movement had evolved before the Period of Martial Law happened. It started during the Spanish colonial period was generally brought about by socioeconomic inequalities and social injustice that pervaded the society. Afterwards, Social movements initially found expression through priest-led revolts and millenarian movements. During the American period, one witnessed the rise of socialist / communist movements. In 1960, social movements had found also an expression through the nationalist movement

CHAPTER 2: Philippine Social Movements during Martial Law
Socialist / communist movements during the period of Martial Law remained dominant and they continued to frame their issued within the context of socioeconomic inequalities and social-justice. If we look at its difference before the martial law, the pre-martial law was dominated by the Communist Party of the Philippines, while during martial law was dominated by the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist line.
The main focus of this chapter is how social movements challenged the repression of the martial law regime and its failure to deliver on its economic promises. Further, the issue of ethnicity and identity among Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Cordillera People’s Resistance was also addressed in the framing process of the social movements. This includes military and economic incursion.

CHAPTER 3: Philippine Social Movements after Martial Law
After the martial law, the role of social movements in confronting the problems of socioeconomic equality and social injustice in the transition to democracy was examined. Although the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) continues to exist and frame its issue on class and strategy, other vision emerged particularly with the split in the communist movement. The framing of their concerns took into consideration not only for “class politics” but also “new politics” with emphasis on non-class based issues. Moreover, people empowerment was also used in framing issues.

CHAPTER 4: Religion, Church, and Politics in the Philippines
Religion and church are the formidable socio-cultural and the political forces in Philippine society and politics. From its history, we can see that it has a major influence and participation in the process of state formation, democracy and development in the country.
Further, the author brings out the dynamics of political socialization, mobilization, and participation of churches and religious groups in different periods of the Philippine history. It is evident in the process of state formation, democratization, revolution, and regime change.

CHAPTER 5: Islamic Nationalism and Philippine Politics
Anchoring the concept of the “Islamic Nationalism”, the author presents the major postulates of nationalism in Moro Society by underscoring the notion of quasi-ideological divide in Islam that helps explain the varying ways on how nationalism are appropriated in the Muslim world. The variation is made to relate with the major frameworks of Moro nationalism and how the attendant contestation with Filipino nationalism and other identity formation provokes new thought on traditional discourse of identity and politics
Further, in this chapter, the author appraised the nationalism among Moros. In which they are considered as historical people of various ethnolinguistic groupings in southern Philippines. As nationalism is currently subjected to debate n the Islamic world, the chapter provides an apt theoretical foundation that underscores the major perspectives of Islam on nation-states, nationalism, and nation building. It also delineates the major frameworks of Moro nationalism and explains the politics among major identity formations, particularly between majority Filipinos and minority Moros.

CHAPTER 6: Indigenous Peoples in Politics and Governance
Indigenous communities are people having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their own territories, and consider themselves distinct from other sectors of societies prevailing on those territories. In the Philippines where 18 percent of the national population comprises of the indigenous people, before they were actually called the Indigenous people they were called the “ethnic minority” or “tribal Filipinos”. On the other hand, it is good to note that the transition form the reference to “minorities”, and “tribal” had been emerged to cultural communities and people.  
In this chapter, the author brings out the role of the indigenous people (IP) in governance and politics in the Philippines. Their role and participation in Philippine governance can be seen in the mode of social movement and political participation.
Moreover, the issue of the land is the core among Indigenous People in the Philippines where in the Regalian Doctrine and the consequence of Torrens land titling system have effectively ejected by indigenous peoples who claim to land is based on ancestral law. The gains and setbacks of IP’s movement in the Philippines can be understood in terms of the shifting political opportunity structures in Philippine politics.

CHAPTER 7: The Philippine Peace Process
The author in this chapter describes the nature and elements of the Philippine peace process by undertaking a review and analysis on trends on the aspects of Philippine peace process, namely the Civil Society Peace Building and political negotiations between the Philippine government and the different rebel groups.
Further, the author presented the contributions made by civil society organizations in building in the Philippines by identifying the agreement made in the political negotiations with the different armed groups, and providing a preliminary analysis on the outcomes of civil society peace building and political negotiations.

CHAPTER 8: Media and Philippine Politics
In this chapter, the author examines the role of the media in the Philippine politics and why they cannot be regarded as neutral in the Philippine political setting. This reality arises from the elite / owner-dependent existence and business-oriented nature. Although, some say that Philippine media are still the freest in the Asia, but to describe them full as the fourth and independent estate is questionable. The author also examines the press ownership shows that media have not been independent.
Further, this chapter also attempted to classify major newspapers in terms of Teodoro’s mainstream or alternative categorization to highlight their role in either strengthening the status quo or facilitating growth of democracy during the different significant periods of Philippine political history.

CHAPTER 9: Media and Philippine Politics
The author examines the politics of the middle classes in the Philippines, focusing on the postwar period up to the end of the Estrada administration. Clarifying the contested concept of the middle classes within the nuances and relational frameworks of classes, this study traces the historical and sociological bases of emergence of middle classes in Philippine society.
Meaning, the middle class played important roles in two most recent historic episodes of mass political struggles in the country; the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 and the ouster of Estrada in 2001. With the special skills and training, a sharpened sense of modernity and the particular political opportunities opened up during these conjunctural struggles, the middle classes assumed leadership roles in various organizations and movements. Their participation, however, was articulated and pursued through different political idioms and political alliances, dramatizing the many contradictory aspects of their social, economic, and political embeddedness.

CHAPTER 10: Women and Politics in the Philippines
The achievements of Philippine women, groups, and movements are widely recognized. Throughout history, various women’s groups have done a great deal in empowering women and attaining gender equality. They have developed legislations, institutions and structures to increase the women have made in the male-dominated field of politics, challenges persist. Significant political reforms are necessary to free women from marginalization, subordination, stereotyping, and violence. More importantly, obstacles that hinder women particularly those from the lower groups from exercising their right to political participation must be addressed. At present, women in politics consist mainly of those from political families, the educated and the middle class.
While in the statistics presented in this chapter indicates in the increasing role of women in politics, what is not indicated is the quality of the women’s participation in politics and governance. For example, while there are more women in bureaucracy, it can be observed that women tend to occupy second-level positions. The key managerial and executive positions are still dominated by men. Furthermore, as already said, the percentage of women in government both at the national and local levels has not reached the critical mass.
In the context of the Philippine politics, women have not traditionally been holders of power. Although steps towards women empowerment have been taken how far these would go depends largely on the will of those who hold power, the support of the people, and the conscious effort of women to work for the achievement of political, economic, and social equality.

CHAPTER 11: The Environmental Movement and Political Politics
The chapter discusses concepts such as environment, the relationship between the environment and human beings, sustainable development, and the environmental movement. It also provides a brief description of the current state of the Philippine environment, focusing on the state of environmental crisis that is presently being experienced in the country.
Meaning, there are two important challenges confront Philippine society in general and the environment movement in particular. The first is to address the link between political power and resources exploitation, which is often the source of environmental degradation and environmental conflicts. Experiences in natural resource management have shown that the involvement of communities as stakeholders promotes environmental protection and their economic conditions. The second challenges are how to reach a balance between the achievement of economic development and environmental protection. To date, the question of how the goals of sustainable development can be realized remains largely unanswered.

CHAPTER 12: Cooperative as a Vehicle for Empowerment, Development, and Democratization
Cooperatives could be a means to uplift the lives of the farmers not only economically but also politically. As a vehicle, the government and NGOs / Pos have used the cooperative as a means to create a source of livelihood for the farmers and a source by which to channel resources into the countryside with the major objective of alleviating poverty. And because of the very nature of cooperative that is based on participation of its members –not only in the decision-making process but also in the implementation of its livelihood projects –the organization is as viewed as an important source of popular empowerment.
The members, in particular, can exercise control over production and increase their market bargaining leverage. Furthermore, as the experiences of the PLF-TILCO and CFPI-assisted cooperatives show, the cooperative is also a potent force in organizing farmers to address other issues affecting them, such as the advocacy for more government support for rural development and the effective implementation of the state’s agrarian reform program as well as the fight against land usurpation.
At the micro-level, the success of the cooperative may very well spell the end of the major agricultural nemesis of the farmers. By achieving this, cooperatives will inevitably help facilitate the democratization process in the country as it nurtures the economic well-being of their member, providing them with an instrument to go against any political or economic structures that threatens their viability.
The fact that the numbers of cooperatives has been increasing through the years, it could be a proof that such obstacles have not kept Filipino farmers from viewing the cooperative not as a shibboleth but as a weapon out a life of dignity against all odds.

Overseas Employment from the Philippines: The Nexus between Development and Governance
The pace of Philippine labor out-migration is becoming more and more phenomenal and complex. Since the 1900s, Filipinos have gone to work in numerous capacities and in different countries throughout the world. In this chapter, the author makes a distinction between temporary labor migration and other forms of migration. Its focus is on the more recent and dominant form of labor migration from the Philippines
The lucrative nature of overseas employment led to the proliferation of private recruitment agencies that facilitate the process of securing overseas job for Filipinos. Migration is not only an effort but can also cause new social and political issues to arise. Moreover, state authorities inevitably play a vital role in enhancing and sustaining overseas employment from the country. Throughout its experience with overseas employment, Philippine government agencies have undertaken essentially a policy outlook that seeks to benefit, in the main, from the contributions of migrant toward the achievement of ostensibly national development goals.

Basically the essays the author included in this book pertain to the ideas in attaining a national development. In which we have to address challenges as brought about by the socio-economic inequalities and social injustices –in which it has a direct effect among the marginalized sectors such as the Islamic Moros, Indigenous Peoples, Middle Classes, Women, Overseas Workers, and also a direct impact on the environment. On the other hand, as said on this book, we could only addressed on these challenges through empowerment and democratization in which we could attain people’s participation, human rights, clean elections, and representation.
On a personal basis, I could give a high rating on this book, not because it was loaded with information that could empower me as a reader that there are some certain challenges that we faced upon attaining the national development, but it gives me clearer picture of what big implications brought about by these marginalized sectors amongst us Filipinos. Another point that I would like to raise is that the author style of unifying these essays through various theoretical approaches made an easier understanding of the influence of politics in every aspect be it religious, or even to the part of the marginalized sectors such as the women, and indigenous people; second, political, socio-cultural, religious and economic aspects in the Philippines are inseparable in a way that one affects other aspects. Meaning, it is not only the economy that has to be blamed on why we find it difficult to attain national development but there other sides that has to be look upon, like the media, the church, the social movements, and etc. Thus, it only implies that every different aspects of the society work on attaining the national development.
I would like to end my review by saying that it in a democratic society, it is not always the government that should always be responsible on achieving national development. It is the agenda of all Filipino people, whether inside or outside the country.

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