It was a question asked over twitter. And it got everyone to think. Is the Philippines, conservative or liberal? Are we somewhere in between?
Then @nerveending tweeted,
It still doesn’t answer whether or not Philippines is liberal or conservative. @tonyocruz tweeted,
To which I agreed. The words social justice is spelled throughout the 1987 Constitution.
To add a little context, when one goes to PCSO, I’ve heard that you go through a stringent process to be identified. At one point (and I’ve never been able to verify this), you are video taped why you need help. I think this is largely for documentary purposes, but it also adds color to the dimension in a society where you have such things as PCSO dole outs, and Wowowee.
It seems poor people are really treated less than animals, whether we mean to or not, but our national welfare policy, doesn’t mean to uplift the poor. Not at all.
Beth’s point comes from the fact she sees as Social Democracies as coming from people’s rights. To which she replied,
“#huntahan methinks we don’t fit as in Liberal/Conservative. Our politics: feudal succession, colonial framework, imperialist context.” and he added, “then again colonial systems not properly framed into the indigenous creates a cycle of dependency and can lead institutions to failure.”
Marocharim added, “our transplanted political system assumes western values: homogeniety, similarity, binary oppositions. #huntahan we don’t have a politics of conservatism or liberalism as much as we do self-preservationism, warlordism, and quasi-feudalism”
Looking back it at all, we tend to forget that being politically liberal, doesn’t mean we are economically liberal. Politically conservative doesn’t mean we are economically conservative either. And we muddle at the terms.
Economically, on paper, the nation is supposedly free market. We have the laws to prove it. Bocchi years ago pointed out that while we have a free market, it is still a protected market.
And then you have things like MRT/LRT Subsidies, welfare, though it isn’t called, welfare, PCSO, SSS, GSIS, PhilHealth, Pag-ibig and so on tend to lean on social democratic and populist policies. Populist policies also tend when contracts for businesses like Toll Highways are not followed.
Then there is the whole institution that people in power can give dole outs on funerals, birthdays, and people in power are required to do so, which leads to the whole feudalism in the nation. You get the warlords, the gambling lords, and even politicians who have to give out money for hospitalization, for just about every emergency. And you get why our political parties are more dynastic, and why our Congress looks more like a House of Lords than a House of Commons.
Is the nation as a whole, politically liberal? It isn’t classically liberal. We don’t just believe in limited government. Hasn’t the presidency been so often described as an elected monarchy?
Looking at our constitution, on paper we believe in a bill of rights. And yet at the same time, culturally, the nation believes less in rehabilitating criminals, and more on jailing them. We treat humans less than than humans. We really don’t believe in innocent until proven otherwise. Our jails are littered with juveniles who should not be with hardened criminals for example.
On one hand, it would seem, at least anecdotally, our sexual mores as a people is turning liberal. But perhaps this is in partly due to the “macho,” image or the “man’s man” image of what is thought to be a true, “Filipino male,” and largely due too to women’s liberation. Women today are increasingly assertive, at least in the circles I travel in. Which, leads of course to the battle between Church and RH Bill proponents. The former thinks their political and moral authority is shrinking.
The question was asked “Is the Philippines Conservative and Liberal,” and the fact we are asking it seems to me that we are trying to understand who we are a nation and as a people.
Jester was right in that the government doesn’t know what it is. And if I should extend, our people too don’t know what they are for, except only that they are hungry.
Our people lean towards welfare because the situation is that bad. There is little to no capacity, economically. Hence the demand for the state to provide for everything from Basic Education to Higher Education to Healtcare, to even transportation, and the cost of oil. People say they want a free market in the oil industry, but still expect that the government bring down its price artificially. The framing for demand in public housing, that squatters are entitled to land is another such dimension, and it doesn’t help that our feudal system doles this out to people to keep the status quo.
This isn’t to pass judgement that social democracy is wrong. Neither is it to pass judgement that the Free Market is right. All I am saying, this is what is happening and this is what people expect.
To define our nation with the nomenclature, “conservative,” is a little simplistic. Marck was right that our politics is feudal in succession, colonial in framework, and imperialist in context. It explains our welfare state, and populist policies. It explains all our presidents, and our congress. It explains our political parties. It explains how we treat people. It explains our economics that while on paper it is supposedly a free market, it is in practice, largely protectionist. It is far, far easier to explain then what our Philippines is not. It isn’t liberal. We are a medieval society.