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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 …