ADRi vTHD: “Continuing Political Development Toward a Better (New) Normal: Making Public Institutions Matter”

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Insofar as to what have been claimed about the achievements of the Duterte Presidency and as we are fast approaching the remaining years of its political timeline, the Filipino citizenry should in turn look into four challenges under which we can move and act together to recover, heal, develop, and build forward better.

The first challenge is the stand for institutions. While political leaders and thought leaders are capable of providing episodic changes, they simply come and go based on fixed political timelines. In this respect, institutions stay and endure more than leaders. More so, institutions provide the necessary breeding ground for new and young competent leaders. This is the reason why institutions matter more in political and societal development.

Legislative challenge is the second task. A deeper understanding, nonetheless, of legislative dynamics pertains to the process of translating legislation for the benefit of the people, that is, in the delivery of responsive services. The formulation and implementation of our laws is hence at the heart of the legislative challenge.

As the pandemic crisis proffers different areas of adaptive and innovative response, e-governance, and digital transformation begs to be implemented. Sequentially, open governance and the development of a digital infrastructure are critical in the realization of a transparent and accountable way of doing things.

Lastly, continuing political development also requires a processual undertaking called nation-building. Civil society, alongside responsive public institutions, is tasked to elevate participatory governance and responsible citizenship. Non-government organizations, formations, and platforms including the media, private sector, and independent thought leaders are enjoined to partake in and oversee the continual development of a Filipino nation.

With President Rodrigo Duterte delivering his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) last July 27th, we believe the Filipino citizenry should evaluate the country’s present condition. This is particularly relevant given the rapid developments in crucial areas such as press and civil freedoms. These past weeks have seen historic changes, including the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Law and the controversial non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise. These issues, and the alleged lack of transparency in the administration’s anti-COVID-19 efforts and suppression of legitimate political dissent, have set the stage for President Duterte’s SONA. We must take the initiative to address the emerging challenges and build a better normal.

We are in need of stronger public institutions, responsive legislation, good governance, and more responsible citizenship. The vTHD focused on the importance of whole-of-society solutions, strengthening institutions and legislation, the shift to e-governance, and continuous political development in building a new and better normal for the country. We hoped that our dialogue will be the starting point for collaboration towards a democratic society founded on responsive, rules-based governance, and an engaged citizenry.

Program

Introduction
MR. FRANCESCO “PACO” A. PANGALANGAN
Executive Director, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Lead Convenor, Democracy Watch Philippines

Opening Remarks
PROF. DINDO MANHIT
President, Stratbase ADR Institute

Speakers

DR. RONALD MENDOZA
Dean, Ateneo School of Government

DR. JULIO TEEHANKEE
Full Professor of Political Science and International Studies,
Former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University

DR. RIZAL BUENDIA
Non-Resident Fellow, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Independent Consultant and Researcher in Southeast Asian Politics and International Development, Wales, United Kingdom

PROF. AYAME SUZUKI
Professor of Faculty of Law, Doshisha University;
Visiting Professor at the Department of Political Science, College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University

PROF. DANILO ARAO
Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines

MR. RAMON CASIPLE
Advocate for Political Reforms

JUDGE DOLORES ESPAÑOL
Chairperson, Transparency International – Philippines

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