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Factors Affecting Democracy in the Philippines

A. History
The Philippines Asias oldest democracy when it comes to its history has one of the darkness in Asia.
From the colonization of Spain, the occupation of the United States, to the invasion of the Japanese regime, it
has affected the unity of every Filipino as one state. Though signs of vibrant democracy are extensive such as
high voter turnout, civic engagement, institutional arrangements that theoretically promote accountability and
safeguard rights and liberties, yet the flaws in the democratic process are also extensive: elite dominance,
institutional weakness, and widespread abuse of public office. While there was a rapid transition to democracy
in the Philippines, as marked by the election of Corazon Aquino, institutional and constitutional weaknesses, as
well as the return of unscrupulous leaders, have made it difficult for the country to overcome its culture of
corruption and tradition of authoritarianism.
B. Economy
Despite genuine efforts from Aquinos team to create inclusive growth, little progress has been made in
changing a structure that for decades has allowed one of Asias worst rich-poor divides to develop. The
oligarchy has too much control of the countrys resources. In 2011 the 40 richest families on the Forbes wealth
list accounted for 76 percent of the countrys gross domestic product (GDP) growth. This was the highest in
Asia, compared with Thailand where the top 40 accounted for 33.7 percent of wealth growth, 5.6 percent for
Malaysia and just 2.8 percent for Japan. According to the Forbes 2012 annual rich list, the two wealthiest people
in the Philippines, ethnic Chinese magnates Henry Sy and Lucio Tan, were worth a combined $13.6 billion.
This equated to six percent of the entire Philippine economy. In contrast, about 25 million people, or one quarter
of the population, lived on $1 a day or less in 2009, which was little changed from a decade earlier, according to
the governments most recent data. Some of the elite families have dominated since the Spanish colonial era that
ended in the late 1800s. Prominent Spanish names, such as Ayala and Aboitiz, continue to control large chunks
of the economy and members of the families are consistent high placers on Forbes annual top-40 wealth list.
Their business interests range from utilities to property development to banking, telecommunications and the
booming business process outsourcing industry. Many of the ethnic Chinese tycoons, such as Sy and Tan, got
their start soon after the country gained post-World War II independence from the United States. The tendency
for the same names to dominate major industries can be partly attributed to government regulations that
continue to allow near monopolies and protections for key players. For decades after independence from the
United States in 1946, important sectors such as air transport and telecommunications were under monopoly
control, according to a Philippine Institute for Development Studies paper. Despite wide-ranging reforms since
1981, big chunks of the market remain effective oligopolies or cartels, it said. The path to riches for the few is
also helped by a political culture that allows personal connections to easily open doors.

C. Geography
The Philippines is an archipelago which means it is composed of islands that is surrounded by waters.
The Filipino people have a hard time on practicing the democracy because of the different ethnic groups which
separated the Filipinos by their culture, business, and way of living.

2. EDCA: Pros & Cons

A. Pros
- Enhance our countrys capability specifically our military capabilities. (Capacity building
towards AFP modernization; Strengthening AFP for external defense; Maritime Security;
Maritime Domain Awareness)
- Improve our countrys response and humanitarian assistance mechanism.
- Interoperability with the U.S. (At the strategic level, interoperability is an enabler for coalition
building. It facilitates meaningful contributions by coalition partners. At this level,
interoperability issues center on harmonizing the world views, strategies, doctrines, and force
structures. Interoperability is an element of coalition willingness to work together over the long
term to achieve and maintain shared interests against common threats.)
- The Philippines will also benefit from more exercises and more assistance from the U.S. and it
will elevate the Philippines to a major non-NATO ally in the Pacific.
- Benefit the Philippines economically.
B. Cons
- It will further antagonize the Philippines ties with China (Definitely the new Agreement,
whatever it may contain, will further antagonize China because in effect, we consent that the PH
should be listed under the American column, instead of the China column. If China reaches out
to Russia while the Ukraine issue continues to simmer, the U.S. will certainly call on PH to
fulfill treaty obligation under the PH-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. The PH executive branch
apparently adopts the attitude that the Mutual Defense Treaty will oblige the U.S. to
automatically come to the aid of PH if attacked by China. I respectfully dissent. For one thing,
the MDT does not define what is a metropolitan territory of each state. For another thing, the
MDF provides that U.S. will come to the aid of PH only after the issues has been passed through
U.S. constitutional processes, meaning that it is subject to open-ended debate in the U.S.
- There are at least three constitutional provisions in danger of being violated. (If this turns out to
be true, then the Agreement would set an extremely bad precedent. Thus, it would be a case of
interpreting the Constitution to accommodate the military program of a foreign state. That
eventuality defies all principles of constitutional supremacy.
There are at least three clear constitutional provisions that militate against the Agreement:
1. Foreign military bases, troops, or facilities, shall not be allowed in the Philippines, except
under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate. . . . (Art. 18, Sec. 25)
2. No treaty or international agreement shall be valid and effective unless concurred in by at
least two-thirds of all the Members of the Senate. (Art. 7, Sec. 21. Emphasis added.)
3. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom
from nuclear weapons in its territory. (Art. 2, Sec. 8))
- U.S. Military aid may not materialize because of reported cutbacks in the U.S. defense budget.
On the other hand, there is the possibility of corruption since the U.S. military aid may sum up to
$50 million dollars.