Self-help at the barangay level encourages initiative and group decisions Multiplicity of NGO’s and PO’s encourages people to posit an abstract tran skin good Hegemony of liberal democratic ideas gives democratic freedoms legitimacy. Many centers of power prevent power from being concentrated in a small group to the exclusion of the majority.
“Self-help” refers to a group of individuals or families who undertake an activity in response to a problem affecting all, with little or no intervention by the government. There are activities that are spontaneous and involve little planning. It is activities that involve several households, especially those not related by kinship, and are institutionalized in varying degrees that strengthen the nation that all of us are ultimately equal to each other as human being and should therefore work together for a common goal.
Private developmental organizations have multiplied since the return of liberal democracy under Corazon Aquino. Their concerns are various: providing legal aid, training in citizens’ rights, assisting street children and so on. They thus liberate people from thinking only of their family or of their own particular locality. The emphasis of NGOs on consensus- building through “proseso” is praise worthy. But their weakness is there is that they may be difficult to sustain, for many NGOs rely on foreign grants.
The Philippines has long stood out in the region for its adherence to the formal political freedoms of liberal democracy, expect during the Marcos dictatorship. Thus the Philippines take pride in being able to openly criticize key public figures without fear punishment. Rallies opposing positions taken by the government and strikes on behalf of workers’ right take place. The freedom to vote is dearly held right and was defended heroically in February 1986.
For democracy to exist as system, economic and political power should be dispersed, so that no one individual or group of individuals can exercise undue influence over the decisions of others. This is the rationale underlying universal suffrage; the classic separation of the three powers (legislative, executive, and judicial); and decentralization and devolution of power. In the economic sphere, wealth is concentrated in the hands of landowning and capital owning families.
However what need stressing are two things: First, these families do not present a united front. They compete with each other, too, and this creates space for democratic initiatives. Second, the sources of wealth have become increasingly diversified. Land as a factor of wealth is no longer as important as before.