Political and Social Foundations for Reform: Anti-Corruption Strategies for the Philippines

October 5, 2011 • 1:30 – 3:00 pm EDT

Corruption in the Philippines diverts, delays, and distorts economic development, undermines the quality and credibility of democracy, and reduces the quality of life. That is so not just because of its extent but also because it comes in particularly disruptive and intractable forms. Philippine corruption is an example of the Oligarch-and-Clan syndrome---one found in countries offering significant and expanding political and economic opportunities in a setting of weak institutions, but a pattern shaped by historical, cultural and geographical influences specific to the country. Oligarch-and-Clan corruption is particularly disruptive in development terms. Because of institutional weaknesses and the power of corrupt oligarchs and their followings, it often faces ineffective opposition. More than other syndromes, it is closely linked to violence and sharply limits the state’s ability to perform such basic functions as revenue collection, maintenance of institutional foundations for the economy, law enforcement, conflict resolution, and dealing with security threats.

Professor Michael Johnston undertook a series of consultations to design a new approach to anti-corruption in the country. Based upon a series of meetings with a wide range of Philippine businessmen, government officials and citizens, Professor Johnston offers a unique and comprehensive strategy for reform. “Political and Social Foundations for Reform: Anti-Corruption Strategies for the Philippines” is the result.

Murray Hiebert
Senior Associate (Non-resident), Southeast Asia Program