Political dynasties remain powerful in Philippine politics to this day. However, in recent years, the Philippines has experienced some significant transformations in the realm of traditional politics. Some politicians have emerged at the local level willing to confront those supported by dynastic politics. Since most literature on Philippine politics have emphasized the durability of elite domination, such changes have not yet been fully studied. This article addresses how progressive politics evolves in contention with a political dynasty based on a qualitative, exploratory case study approach by highlighting the case of Dinagat Islands where a progressive congresswoman who ran for Congress defeated a candidate from an entrenched political dynasty by practicing programmatic governance. It explores how government capacity to respond to demands of the people can be improved. As a result of this, the article clarifies a new, though not common, dynamic of Philippine politics in the 2010s and provides important implications for the possibility of future political development and theorizing in the country.
While the COVID-19 pandemic presented itself as a global challenge that greatly hampered progress everywhere, its combination with other national emergencies and political developments in the country made 2020 a year of crises for the Philippines. The year of crises presented itself as a litmus test for the effectiveness of Rodrigo Duterte’s populist leadership and for the resilience of Philippine democracy. It was a year of reckoning that unmasked the government’s misplaced priorities and exposed systemic deficiencies in various areas of governance. Likewise, the year of crises also provided an effective rationale for greater executive aggrandizement, aggravating the continued trend of democratic backsliding since 2016. This year-end review outlines how the government has managed the year of crises, and how its responses led to these two thematic developments that define 2020 for the Philippines. The essay provides local contextualization in terms of how democratic backsliding is aggravated by situations of crises, and how these crises unmask systemic deficiencies in weak democracies such as the Philippines.
Measures of presidential satisfaction have long been in the public’s attention, but the factors that drive them have brought about much discussion. As a contribution to the literature, this study empirically examines presidential approval data in the Philippines using a unique survey of 1200 low-income voting age residents of Metro Manila. Using individual-level data, this study unpacks the possible factors underpinning survey results on citizens’ satisfaction with leadership in the Philippines. While accounting for the personal circumstances of the respondents, this study finds evidence of bandwagoning among survey respondents; and partial evidence of personal economic conditions and disinformation possibly linked to presidential satisfaction. The findings here suggest there should be more caution in interpreting presidential satisfaction indicators.
In the late 1970s, after the tumultuous period of the Cultural Revolution, the policy of the government of the People’s Republic of China (prc) in terms of scientific and technological exchanges and cooperation with the United States changed from rejection and exclusion to active participation and promotion. In this process, ideas and views played an important role. The outlook of the Chinese leadership and particularly Deng Xiaoping on science redefined China’s national interests, turning the promotion of Sino-U.S. science and technology cooperation into an active policy of the Chinese government. During the 1970s, the two countries conducted large-scale intergovernmental cooperation in the field of civil science and technology, signed the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation and dozens of memorandums of understanding and protocols, and finally, in 1979, established a long-term scientific and technological cooperation system. The article explores Sino-American relations through the prism of scientific and technological cooperation, showing how this contributed to creating long-term friendly relations beyond other high politics issues.
In 1975, the explosive growth of Sino-U.S. trade that only had resumed after 1971 ended with a severe decline from $920 million a year to just $461 million. The cause of the collapse was the unilateral decision of the People’s Republic of China (prc) to cancel several orders from late 1974 to early 1975. Scholars have advanced three reasons for the prc’s action, blaming to trade disputes, Beijing’s desire to punish the Americans for slow progress on the Taiwan issue, and Chinese trade officials preventing radicals from labeled them “compradors.” Each explanation, however, overstates the importance of high-level politics and ignores mid-level exchanges, as trade delegations shuttled back and forth across the Pacific in 1975. The article demonstrates that the real obstacle to trade in 1975 was China’s limited ability to purchase American grain in the same quantities as in the last four years, along with indications of a good future harvest in China emerging at the end of 1974. Economic factors therefore better explain the decline in prc-U.S. trade, providing an example of how in the last years of the Cultural Revolution, Beijing’s economic policy was more pragmatic than one would expect.