ADRi vTHD: “State of Philippine Governance: A Five-Year Review of the Duterte Presidency”

It has been five years since President Rodrigo R. Duterte was elected to office. Under his administration, the country has seen an infamous war on drugs, a widespread infrastructure campaign, an increase in public debt, the shutdown of a major news outlet, tensions in the West Philippine Sea, and the COVID-19 global outbreak. These are key issues that have revealed gains and gaps in public governance. Both leaders and constituents agree that much remains to be done in building the nation especially as it recovers from the pandemic.

Though public trust ratings in the President remain high, other statistics indicate the need for a closer examination of Duterte’s leadership. Freedom House includes the Philippines in the list of countries with the largest democratic decline in 2020. Currently, the group labels the country as “partly free.” It notes that media freedom is barely present and that safeguards against corruption are not strong and effective. Transparency International, on the other hand, ranks the Philippines at 115 out of 180 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index. For the pandemic response, the country is still far from reaching its target herd immunity by the end of the year. It ranks 25 out of 192 countries based on the number of confirmed positive COVID cases.

President Duterte’s leadership has been marked by strongman politics, a pro-China “independent policy”, suppression of press freedom, and the longest lockdown in the world. But has his heavy-handed governance achieved results that are beneficial to the general population? Is the country still a functioning democracy?

In response to President Duterte’s final State of the Nation Address (SONA), the Stratbase ADR Institute hosted a special virtual town hall discussion (vTHD) entitled, “State of Philippine Governance: A Five-Year Review of the Duterte Presidency” to be held on 28 July 2021 Wednesday from 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM (Manila Time).

This virtual event sought to bring political experts and analysts together in reacting to the President’s SONA. This was also an avenue to assess the key accomplishments and governance missteps and gaps of the outgoing government. In doing so, ADRi hoped to provide a space for critical thought and engagement where civil society can hold government accountable.


Opening Remarks
Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit
President, Stratbase ADR Institute

Keynote Address: Strengthening Institutions in Populist Democracies
Judge Raul Pangalangan
International Criminal Court;
Former Dean, University of the Philippines College of Law

Duterte @ 5: The Duterte Administration’s Anti-Corruption Policies
Dr. Edilberto de Jesus
Professor Emeritus and Former President, Asian Institute of Management

The Imperative for Democratic Reforms in the Country (P-G-D Framework)
Ms. Mardi Mapa-Suplido
Chairperson, INCITEGov

Patronage Politics in the Duterte Administration
Dr. Julio Teehankee
Full Professor of Political Science and International Studies,
Former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, De La Salle University

Philippines and the Pro-China Foreign Policy
Mr. Richard Heydarian
Non-Resident Fellow, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Professorial Chairholder in Geopolitics, Polytechnic University of the Philippines

Public Spending in the Duterte Administration
Ms. Zy-Za Suzara
Executive Director, Institute for Leadership, Empowerment, and Democracy (iLEAD)

Survey Data: West Philippine Sea under the Duterte Administration
Dr. Mahar Mangahas
President, Social Weather Stations

Discussion on the Latest Government Performance Survey
Dr. Ronald Holmes
President, Pulse Asia Research, Inc.;
Full Professor of Political Science, De La Salle University

Closing Remarks
Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales
Former Ombudsman of the Philippines

Host and Moderator
Dr. Francisco Magno
Trustee and Program Convenor, Stratbase ADR Institute;
Full Professor of Political Science, De La Salle University

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