Formal Democracy and Its Alternatives in the Philippines: Parties, Elections and Social Movements

  • Joel Rocamora
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The Philippines has the most persistently undemocratic democracy in Asia. Except for the period of dictatorship under Ferdinand Marcos between 1972 and 1986, the Philippines has had a functioning democracy since independence from the United States in 1946.1 At the same time, a small group of powerful families has dominated politics and kept the economic benefits of power to themselves. Many analysts use the modifier ‘elite’ when referring to Philippine democracy. Effective participation by citizens outside of elections is limited. Unlike Malaysia and Singapore (much more obviously unlike the military dictatorship in Burma) with their Internal Security Acts, the Philippine state does not impose too many formal limits to the self-organization of disadvantaged groups. But a combination of bureaucratic rules and informal means including violence continues to make organizing difficult; without effective popular pressure, government is generally not accountable.


Central Government Political Party International Capitalism Party System Local Politics 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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  • Joel Rocamora

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