CHAPTER 16 GLOBALIZATION AND NATION-BUILDING IN THE PHILIPPINES: State Predicaments in Managing Society in the Midst of Diversity ROMMEL C. BANLAOI Introduction When the Philippines acceded to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, the country demonstrated its determination to face the challenges of globalization. Recognizing that globalization is the buzzword of the 21st century and inevitably affects the growth and governance of many nation-states, the Philippines bravely entered the WTO to prepare itself for global competitiveness and reap the benefits that globalization may bring. Despite its great optimism on joining the WTO, the Philippines is still lagging behind its Southeast Asian neighbors in terms of economic performance. Whereas Philippine economic growth was second only to Japan’s in the 1960s, the Philippines at present is viewed as one of the sick men of Asia. This chapter argues that the difficulties encountered by the Philippines in meeting the challenges of globalization stem from the nature of the Philippine state. The Philippines entered the global economic arena with its domestic political economy unprepared. The Philippine state has failed to create the kind of fertile socioeconomic environment that would have prepared the country for global competition. The Nature of the Philippine State The state that developed after the declaration of Philippine independence in 1945 may be described as both a “premature” and “weak” state. It is a premature state because it was born before reaching the full term of statehood. That is, it became a state not through the development of a cohesive national consciousness, but through the actions of its former colonial masters. As a result, the state’s legitimacy is contested in some regions. The Philippine state’s weakness, meanwhile, stems from its lack of relative autonomy from the parochial interests of dominant Filipino social classes, powerful political families and clans, an influential landed elite, and wealthy Filipino capitalists.1 The Philippines lacks the following characteristics of a mature and strong state:
See Temario C. Rivera, Landlords and Capitalists: Class, Family and State in Philippine Manufacturing (1994).
1. The ends and purposes of government have become settled and founded on a significant ideological consensus; 2. Most social groups (ethnic, religious, linguistic, and the like) have been successfully assimilated, or have achieved protection, equality, or self-determination through autonomy, federalism, or other special devices; 3. Secessionism no longer constitutes a major goal of minorities. Territorial frontiers have become legitimized and sanctified through legal instruments; 4. Leaders are selected on the basis of a regular procedure like elections. No group, family, clan or sector can hold power permanently; 5. Military and policy organizations remain under effective civilian control; 6. The mores of governance preclude personal enrichment through various political activities.2 A Premature State The Philippine state is a premature state because its claim to statehood is predominantly based on anti-colonial sentiment rather on the “natural” bonds formed through common historical experience, consanguinity and identification with a common language or a common religion.3 The anti-colonial sentiment in the Philippines was not even anchored on a popularly accepted notion of “nationalism” but rather on a limited or narrow elite conception articulated by 19th century Filipino thinkers initially spearheaded by Jose Rizal.4 Anti-colonial sentiments developed in the Philippines not as a result of a natural blossoming of “national consciousness” but as a result of overwhelming exasperation with the three centuries of oppression under the Spanish colonial administration and a half-century of resentment under American rule with a four-year colonial interruption during the Japanese occupation.5 Another characteristic of a premature...