Two years into the Duterte administration, the Philippine economy’s gains are illusory and the political situation is on the brink of accelerated decline. The economy is on borrowed time. There is a limit to how long the government’s infrastructure spending frenzy and hype about sound fundamentals can disguise the problems. Agricultural and industrial backwardness is unresolved and the immediate vulnerabilities are very real. A more clear-eyed view of the data shows the people’s conditions getting worse even as the economy’s foundations erode.
Many of the political controversies have long ben recongized as signs of an unreformed ruling system particularly driven by the Duterte clique’s single-minded obsession to remain in power. They are undesirable in themselves. But there are even more destructive long-term anti-democratic consequences at stake – the Philippine state is descending into authoritarianism geared to protecting neoliberalism and its gross inequities from resistance and dissent.
These are not trends passively accepted and opposition is growing. Popular discontent is on the rise across classes nationwide and is steadily giving momentum to organized struggles. The resurgence of more radical transformative politics is the spearhead of real change for the better in the country.