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Philippines Ramon Casiple

Casiple is a founder and executive director of the Manila-based Institute for Political and Electoral Reform


Bruno Kaufmann: ‘People Power’ was the slogan when former dictator Ferdinand Marcos was toppled almost 30 years ago. What’s left today?

Ramon Casiple: Quite a lot actually. The ‘People Power’ spirit has shaped our laws and institutions. This means that our constitution and institutions are without a doubt some of the most democratic ones across Asia.

B.K.: But still, specific circumstances still receive criticism.

R.C.: And rightly so! At the end of the day, our elite has not changed as much as it might appear.

Up until this very day, only offspring from the super rich elite have managed to hold a high political office.

This is the result of weak political structures in combination with strong family ties. If you want to become head of state, you have to cough up at least half a billion Swiss francs.

B.K.: It’s a difficult combination: on one hand your political system has adopted direct democracy, and on the other hand the social structures of you country still encourage inequality. How can this be overcome?

R.C.: We need comprehensive reforms. Switzerland can be a great role model in this, and I particularly envisage authorising individual citizens to take on more responsibilities.

Since the regime of Marcos was toppled, not a single government in the Philippines has dealt with this question or invested in political education.

Translated from German by Billi Bierling

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