Philippines: Failed State?

Little Gamers

The Philippines is No. 56 in the Failed State Index. Global Guerrillas explains what failed states are, and the criteria for determining a failed state: the definition relies heavily on the CIA, or to be precise, a policy paper on defining what failed states are. The Global Policy Forum has links to articles on failed states.

Overlooked yesterday was Rigoberto Tiglao’s acerbic commentary on the impeachment charges. One thought triggered by his admittedly partisan pointers: if the impeachment fails because of the incompetence of those pushing the complaint, would any popular action against the government be justified?

Torn & Frayed has the following comments on my post on Partyless Democracy:

Very interesting pieces. Just a few points.

(1) I’m interested that Valenzuela claims that “Bolivia has recently become one of Latin America’s democratic success stories”. This is presumably a different Bolivia from the country whose last two presidents have had to resign after street riots and the threat of civil war and is the most politically unstable state in Latin America today. So unstable in fact that, according to Bush and Co, it is being target by Castro and Chavez as a country with revolutionary potential.

(2) When Thatcher was forced to resign I rejoiced for a week, but I’m not sure that allowing a handful of Tory grandees to force a prime minister elected only two years earlier to go is to be applauded (from a democratic point of view anyway).

(3) In theory I like the idea of plebiscites. Let the people judge. The best example is probably the Swiss cantons, where almost everything is put to the vote. On the other hand, won’t plebiscites be open to the same kind of vote buying and coercion as elections for public office?

This also reminds me, a reader, who is also a blogger (but who doesn’t want his email or blog quoted), suggests that everyone read Juan Ponce Enrile’s privilege speech promoting charter change.

In the news and the punditocracy, the movie “Masahista” does well abroad (in which blog did I read of that Filipino horror movie supposedly doing well abroad, because the producer of “The Ring” was impressed with it?); Federico Pascal describes being slightly puzzled over the way the President kept thanking him for his help; Dong Puno and Alex Magno are both focused; Connie Veneracion writes on child labor; Tony Abaya discusses ethanol.

In the blogosphere, Miron notices a general decline in interest in politics:

We are sensing this in the form of fewer hits in even the hottest news sites; the sparser and cooler exchanges in chatrooms and blogs; and the waning ratings of primetime news programs: Viewers are sick of this shit.

Yugatech discusses proposals to register even prepaid SIM cards. Parallel Universes says, before we start walking to save gas, we better have more breathable air.

There are some end of World War II in the Pacific related posts: by The Unlawyer (coolest part of the blog entry: a link to an audio file of the Emperor Showa broadcasting the surrender of Japan); Love & Light (a Filipina living in Japan); there’s also a series of blog posts on the Department of Education (which still lacks a leader since Sec. Butch Abad quit with the rest of the Hyatt gang), and its harnessing business and civic groups to help deliver textbooks: I believe Piercing Pens was the first to blog about it; mongster’s nest does, too (somewhat skeptically); Jove tackles the question too, in this post, but spends much more time describing his first interaction with the President’s defense team.

There are some meditative posts: Edwin Lacierda takes a cue from Blaise Pascal and writes his own “Pensées,” or thoughts; Paeng muses on how risk-averse the “middle forces” and businessmen are; Banketa Republique has some thoughts on economics and economists; Leon Kilat writes on where he got his name.

And bloggers on blogging and journalism. Buzz Machine reproduces the thoughts of a journalism professor, Jay Rosen, calling for a reexamination of the profession:

The ethics of journalism begin with propositions like: the world is basically intelligible if we have accurate reports about it; public opinion exists and ought to be listened to; through the observation of events we can grasp patterns and causes underneath them; the circle of people who know how things work should be enlarged; there is something called “the public record” and news adds itself meaningfully to it; more information is good for it leads to greater awareness, which is also good; stories about strangers have morals and we need to hear them, and so on. These are the ethics I would teach first….

JJ Disini asks if bloggers are parasites, and answers, no:

Information is supposed to flow freely and bloggers who link back to their source are just being courteous. To require bloggers to pay a royalty to cite news items in my view would be an impermissible burden upon the freedom of expression. If democracy thrives because of the free exchange of ideas, then bloggers (particularly, political bloggers) should have the right to make use of news items for purposes of comment and criticism. Intellectual property law recognizes this, calls its “fair use” and removes it from the exclusive rights granted to copyright owners.

Finally, Howie Severino observes that blogging at work can lead to trouble, but sometimes it may be good trouble.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

8 thoughts on “Philippines: Failed State?

  1. People are beginning to realize there is much more to life in this country than whining about the government. We are moving forward to a consciousness of bayanihan, coming back to our grassroots traits and values.

  2. I hope that happens, reynard…
    sooner rather than later.

    mlq3, sir…sure glad to know somebody great passes by…salamat! i appreciate that.

  3. On the Failed State Index Rankings, we are given very poor/ unstable ratings in Uneven Development (9.0). I believe this is accurate, socially and geographically. On Public Services, we are given a stable rating of 3.8. I think this is open to debate. Many would argue that we have bad public services. On Human Flight, we have a relatively benign rating of 8.2. I would suppose that this is because most flight is legal, in the form of job contracts or migration. But it is large in absolute numbers. Economic Decline is also a benign 4.7. Perhaps this is to a large degree due to the money sent by OCW’s and expatriates. With the scorching energy crisis, this economic decline could deteriorate very quickly. On External Intervention, we also rate a benign 4.0. This is perhaps because there is very little official intervention from foreign countries in our internal affairs. However, this probably does not take into account unofficial intervention, as is the case with Jema’ah Islamiyah or Al Quaeda or counterterrorist operations by the U.S. and her allies. With a little provocation, this rating could easily go up. On the other hand, on Deligitimization of State we rank a rather unstable 9.3. Although this could be very volatile, I find this rating unrealistic in the present circumstances. I am not, however, discounting that this could deteriorate very quickly. Finally, on Factionalized Elites, I find the unstable 9.2 rating a bit misleading. The Philippine elite may engage in outrageous free-for-alls among themselves to gain the political or economic upper-hand. But in the end, they come around and take care of their own.

  4. hmmm… maybe this should be good enough reason for a little debt relief from the Philippines creditors… on the premise that we could be a future location for terrorist activity…

  5. Allow me to say that this form of blogging you used, referring frequently to various pundits on a specific topic, is very much appreciated.

    Re: the Philippine political/cultural scene– I’ve been looking for a blog that features the thoughts of our intelligentsia on one hand and factors in responses from the masses. and are good references as to format. I know that has moved towards the same direction. I invite you to take a look. That represents the right and the left in the U.S.

  6. mike: thanks very much. am checking out your links. don’t know if we have enough bloggers from different points of views to come up with blogs like the ones you mentioned.

  7. reynard, the bayanihan is uneven though, you see it in provincial towns, some are very progressive, others hopelessly stuck in a non-progressive mindset.

    taipan, i like you blog, you know that.

    carl, i agree with most of your observations.

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