When democracies hit midlife crisis


Democracy in the Philippines turned 34 last week. The nation commemorated the peaceful mass demonstration that ousted the dictator Ferdinand Marcos from power, analyst Nicole Curato observes.

A group of protesters wore facemasks to protect themselves from the “Duterte virus” infecting the majority of Filipinos who overwhelmingly approve of a President who shows little regard for human rights. Others heard mass, laid wreaths in memorial shrines, and warned the nation of history repeating itself, she writes for the Lowy institute:

“The nightmare that should’ve ended back in February of 1986 is finding its way back,” lamented a congressman from the opposition. How is it possible for a country that ousted a dictator three decades ago to bring a strongman back to power? Just like the Marcos regime, the Duterte administration has been called out for detaining members of the opposition, planting evidence to arrest activists, threatening to shut down media organisations, and filling his cabinet with military men. “Night falls on the Philippines”, Time Magazine declared.

But the Philippines is not out of inspiration for remaking itself, Curato adds. RTWT

In a presentation at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) (above), Maxine Tanya Hamada spoke 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 also discussed gains made by People Power and what the international community can do to help safeguard Filipino democracy.

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