Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Democracy’s retreat

Philippine “DEMOCRACY,” mayroon ba tayo, nalalasap ba natin ito? Ang alam ng marami, tinatamasa't para lamang ito sa Pilipino elite, sa mga makapangyarihang pulitiko, sa mga power brokers at big business, sa mga casique, sa mga political clan / OLIGARKIYA. Sila ang walang dudang nagtatampisaw sa 6-7% "growth rate sa ekonomya ng bansa, kung totoo man ito."
- Doy

By Amando Doronila
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:59:00 01/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines posted last year an estimated Gross Domestic Product growth of 6.9 to 7.3 percent, its fastest expansion in 17 years. The government reported that the economy expanded 7.1 percent in the first three quarters of 2007, prompting President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to claim last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the Philippines grew faster than the rest of Southeast Asia despite a global economic slowdown.

The luster of this economic performance was marred by setbacks for political democracy in 2007. While the economy was making big gains and lifting the Philippines from the status of perennial basket case, political liberties were staging a retreat, refueling the classic debate in academic circles over whether growth and democracy are compatible in developing societies, especially those in transition from authoritarian to democratic political systems.

This retreat of democracy is even more disturbing when viewed from the perspective that the Philippines is one of the oldest democracies in Asia and its 1986 People Power Revolution remains a model of non-violent transition from authoritarianism.

The regression of democracy and the abridgement of political rights took place during 28 consecutive quarters of sustained economic growth, ranging from 6 to 7 percent, under the aegis of a democratic government.

In its 2008 report, titled “Freedom in Retreat: Is the Tide Turning?” the New York-based Freedom House focused on the state of Philippine democracy. It highlighted the Philippines as among the states that showed a “significant decline” in political rights and civil liberties in 1972, and startled many observers by disqualifying the Philippines as an “electoral democracy.”

Related Story: RP dropped from list of world democracies

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