To say there’s a lot going on in politics in the Philippines is most definitely an understatement. When I left the United States I was excited to go to a country where people actually tried to do something when they were unhappy with their government. And it has added an element of excitement to living here, just thinking about the possibility of a change in government.
I’ve only been here for two weeks, but increasingly I’ve gotten the feeling that no one actually has control of anything around here. The bureaucracy is unimaginably huge. At least two leaders (that I know of) have been toppled by popular protest here in the last two decades.
I know the system is modeled on America’s political system, but I couldn’t help but feel there’s something distinctly different about how government works here. I just couldn’t put it into words…until I read this article in the Boston Globe, that calls the political system “democrazy.” The article says that politics have been so crazy in recent years that Ferdinand Marcos was ranked number one in a recent poll that asked citizens to rank the best of the last five Philippine presidents.
Filipinos are no longer sure how to remember the man whom they drove from power in a massive but peaceful revolution in 1986, turning him into an international byword for dictatorship and corruption.
These days, watching their cast of politicians fiddle while poverty deepens and Asia’s economy takes off without them, many Filipinos look at the Marcos era as happier times, the good old days before their democracy turned into what they now call ”democrazy.”
They ask: Was Marcos really a tyrant, or just another Asian strongman imposing order on a country desperate for stability? Was he a crook who stole from his people and stuffed billions into Swiss bank accounts, or just a politician no different from the rest, in a country where corruption is considered the oxygen of politics?