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Wataru Kusaka: Moral Politics in the Philippines

By Christopher Ryan Maboloc, PhD

      In “Moral Politics in the Philippines,” Wataru Kusaka explains the rise of moral antagonism between the “mass” and the “civic” spheres of Philippine society. The scholar describes the moralization of politics as “the transformation of interest politics, centered around resource distribution, into moral politics predicated on definitions of right and wrong.” After Marcos, a moral divide in the country has emerged between the middle class, with their self-proclaimed ethical astuteness, and the masses, who are perceived to be too dependent and lazy.
      Resentment, according to Kusaka, characterizes much of the politics in the Third World. In this regard, society has fragmented into a “we/they” in which individuals who consider themselves as “upright citizens” stand in opposition to the masses who are hastily judged as blameworthy of their own misery. But Kusaka thinks that democracy cannot depend on the purported rise of the civic consciousness of …

The Arguments for a Federal System of Government

By Christopher Ryan Maboloc, Ph.D
The political exclusion of the South has had tremendous social and economic costs. The Philippines has achieved sustained Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth under President Benigno Aquino III in the last six years, and yet, this wealth has not really trickled down to the poorest households.[1] The lack of opportunities in the South, for example, has resulted to the diminished lives of our people and in the absence of lasting peace.[2] If we are to grow as one nation and end the great divide between North and South, then we have to look for a political solution somewhere.
        Dr. Jose Abueva, in “Some Advantages of Federalism and Parliamentary Government for the Philippines,” argues that a federal-parliamentary system of government will result to “greater human and institutional capability for good governance.” (Abueva 2005) Indeed, the weakness of our country’s institutions can be traced to the lack of people empowerment, most especially in the rur…

For a lasting peace in Mindanao (Part II)

by Sixto Domogen
Benguet State University

The country’s Muslims …also became victims of government policies, especially over the use of land and resources. For instance, the Philippine Commission Act of 1903 declared null and void all land grants made by traditional leaders without the consent of the Government. All of Mindanao was opened to resettlement programs of homesteaders and the entry of corporations, a discriminatory Public Land Law was likewise implemented which favored homesteaders and corporations.

For a lasting peace in Mindanao (Part I)

by Sixto Domogen
Benguet State University

“Pinoy kapwa Pinoy ang naglalaban doon sa Mindanao…marami ang dugo na dumanak sa lupa ng Mindanao…” This part of the song by Freddie Aguilar speaks about the real situation in Mindanao, which probably started during the Spanish colonization. Today, the situation has become worst because of the fact that conflict and misunderstanding are rampant between and among the constituents of this region.

Democracy is not just about empowering the poor

By Christopher Ryan Maboloc
          Development, according to Amartya Sen, “can be seen as the process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy.” As a matter of principle, it has been argued that democracy is firmly rooted in the way it empowers ordinary citizens to achieve the kind of life that is worthy of their dignity as persons. Sen believes that the just and equitable approach to human progress must be anchored on the capabilities of people. The fundamental freedoms of individuals are intrinsically and instrumentally important for them to be able to choose those things that they have a reason to value.

The Things We Need as a Nation

By Christopher Ryan Maboloc

        In his book, Philippine Institutions, the Jesuit John Carroll writes that Filipinos aspire for a higher standard of living, but such has become a story of unmet expectations. Despite the rapid economic expansion over the years, of the 50 million members of the labor force in the country in 2015, around 6.5 million are either unemployed or underemployed, according to the National Economic Development Authority. Today, this country has become too polarized, but what is more injurious to our solidarity as a people is that millions of poor Filipinos are still awaiting salvation from the dark pits of poverty.

The Moral Option in the West Philippine Sea

by Christopher Ryan Maboloc
The West Philippine Sea enunciates the very difficult situation of the Philippines in the midst of China’s economic and military might in our multipolar world. But our option must be moral, not just political. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague may have truly dealt a death blow to China’s expansionist claims in the disputed territory, but what is apparent still in the aggressive stance of China is its onerous plan to control the seas and the airspace above it. Chinese political posturing in those waters, as manifested by its calculated readiness to throw its weight on a hapless neighbor, means that China wants to send out the message that it wants to be known as a dominant player in the new global order.