Research Paper 27 - Achieving Reforms in Oligarchical Democracies: The Role of Leadership and Coalitions in the Philippines

Research Paper 27

John T. Sidel, April 2014

This paper examines the role of developmental leadership in two major reforms introduced in the Philippines in 2012: the passage into law in December of excise tax reform which significantly raised taxes on cigarettes and alcohol – generally referred to as the Sin Tax Reform – and, in July, the re-registration of voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). 

These reforms have a) strengthened government finances and healthcare; and b) improved the quality of elections and promoted good governance and conflict resolution in the southern Philippines.

Key points: 

These reforms were not achieved exclusively through the executive leadership of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, this paper argues. A broader form of developmental leadership was critical to their passage into legislation and their subsequent implementation, made up of reform coalitions that incorporated elements of government, the legislature, and civil society. 

While these coalitions were diverse and flexible in their form and composition, their core strength came from established advocacy groups and experienced activists. These groups and activists used highly labour-intensive, specialized and complex forms of mobilization.

The success of these reform coalitions, it is argued, has implications for economic and governance reform in the developing world, particularly in systems characterised by oligarchical democracy, where competition for elected office is closely linked to the entrenched interests of business and industry. 

 

About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

Find out more

News

New role for Alina Rocha Menocal

Monday 31st October 2016

After many significant contributions to DLP's research, events and impact, Alina Rocha Menocal is now moving on to take up a USAID Senior Democracy Fellowship. Alina will also continue her role as a Research Fellow in ODI's Politics and Governance Programme, on a part-time basis, and we are delighted that she will retain close links with DLP as a Research Associate.

Read more

2016 Adrian Leftwich Memorial Lecture

Thursday 27th October 2016

The University of Manchester's annual lecture in memory of DLP's founding Director of Research, Adrian Leftwich, will be given this year by Nic van de Walle, Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, on Wednesday, 16 November.

Read more

Follow: @dlprog