Reclaiming the Philippines’ Democracy Narrative


Riding a strong populist wave and exerting a brand of crisis, Rodrigo Duterte was elected to power in the Philippines in mid-2016. More than a year into his presidency, Duterte’s authoritarian tendencies threaten to undo core democratic gains made in the years following the 1986 People Power Revolution, a peaceful uprising that drew upon the strength of many different groups and helped ignite a wave of similar movements around the world.

Capitalizing on popular frustrations over the incremental pace of change, Duterte has attacked a central piece of People Power’s main product, the 1987 Freedom Constitution, blaming it for the continuing ills of the country. He has now commandeered the People Power’s narrative, sounding crisis after crisis and calling for revolution, to serve a core of interest groups close to him, rather than Filipino democracy as a whole.

In a forthcoming presentation, Maxine Tanya Hamada will speak from her twenty years of experience—working in both the government bureaucracy and civil society—about the cycles of moving from crisis to governance and the importance of reclaiming the narrative of People Power that has been hijacked by Duterte. Hamada will also discuss gains made by People Power and what the international community can do to help safeguard Filipino democracy.

Ms. Maxine Tanya Hamada served most recently as the executive director of the Institute for Leadership, Empowerment and Democracy or iLEAD, a Philippine think tank focused on public fiscal responsibility, meaningful devolution, and defending civic spaces.  She is currently a member of the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy.  

Tanya Hamada

Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow

moderated by

 Brian Joseph

Senior Director, Asia and Global Programs

National Endowment for Democracy

Wednesday, January 10, 2018
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

1025 F Street, N.W., Suite 800, Washington, D.C. 20004
Telephone: 202-378-9675


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