Duterte’s ‘revolutionary government’: Just another POLITICAL solution that will fail

‘Revolutionary’ governments have been a Filipino obsession since 1898 when the first such government was supposedly established by Emilio Aguinaldo to mark the Philippines’ so-called “independence” from Spain. Several “revolutions” later, including the recent 1986 EDSA “revolution”, Filipinos continue to pin their hopes on the anticipated revolutionary outcomes of these revolutions. What makes revolutions so appealing the Filipinos, it seems, is that these supposedly pave the way to a prosperous future.

It is easy, in hindsight, to take stock of the results delivered by these hopes in a better future that marked the euphoria following the 1898 and 1986 “revolutions”. They are similar to the same sort of hope that was in the air when the Philippines was granted “independence” by the United States in 1946 and then when Ferdinand Marcos launched his “New Society Movement” following his declaration of Martial Law in 1972. The short of it is that whether the momentous occassion involved a “revolutionary” transition of power or a sudden win for “freedom” (or whatever else was supposedly “fought” for), the long-term outcome was mostly that of abject disappointment.

Out of the 1898 “revolution”, an independent Philippines did not materialise — at least one recognised by the rest of the world (evidently something important to Filipinos as we observe today). The 1946 granting of independence to Filipinos, likewise, turned out to be the Philippines’ peak year and, from there, it was all downhill. The New Society Movement held promise — but much of the wealth this created is owed to oligarchic enterprise and not much to the capital-creation prowess (or rather lack of it) of the Philippines’ indigenous population. Finally, the 1986 EDSA “revolution” raged on the promise that where there is freedom, prosperity will follow. Sadly, that too did not turn the Phlippines into a competitive economy at the leagues of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand which all powered ahead leaving Filipinos in their dust.

The lessons in all the dashed hopes that swirled around these “revolutionary” events in the Philippines’ history is that neither greater autonomy nor greater freedom translates to economic prosperity for the average Filipino. This lesson should then be applied when evaluating this most recent talk of “revolutionary government”, this time under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

As usual, the Philippine National “Debate” is missing the point of this issue by a mile. Much of this “debate” involves mere quibbles over legalities and technicalities, the predictable drawing of parallels with the Marcos regime, and speculations and conspiracy theories on people’s hidden agendas and sinister motives. In that regard, the Philippines’ political discourse, as usual, fails to offer real insight on this issue as it remains the sad meeting of small minds it has long been known as.

The true issue surrounding the effectiveness of any proposed political solution regardless of how “revolutionary” it is or not lies in the character of the Filipino. The right question Filipinos’ “thought leaders” should be raising is quite confronting:

Do Filipinos, as a people, possess the right character to seize the opportunities in the changes that will follow Duterte’s “revolutionary” government?

As was exhibited in the past, Filipinos have, throughout history, shown a lack of capability to capitalise on “more freedom” and “greater autonomy” (much less off full independence and unfettered “democracy”) to lay the foundation for real inclusive prosperity.Indeed, it can be generalised that political solutions do not deliver results for Filipinos — which brings to question the astounding energy Filipinos pour into their politics, their partisanism, and their political chatter on social media.

If such “revolutions” in national independence and transitions from “dictatorships” to free democracy throughout the Philippines’ history have consistently proven to be non-events as far as delivering tangible results to the ordinary Filipino (or to the overall value of the Philippines to the world, for that matter), perhaps it is high time we consider the common denominator across these failures. That common denominator is staring back at us when we look into the mirror.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

Leave a Reply

16 Comments on "Duterte’s ‘revolutionary government’: Just another POLITICAL solution that will fail"

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Only this time I won’t agree with you Benigno. All revolutions from the past were all either US LED or US espionage backed. Aguinaldo was a traitor. Ninoy Aquino was a saboteur, so much more for Cory. Only this time, DU30’s revolution will succeed. πŸ‘ŠπŸ‘ŠπŸ‘Š

Just as what former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew said, our country doesn’t need a democracy (or any form of government be it a federal or a Communist or a Fascist one), but we need DISCIPLINE in order to make a progress and feel a REAL CHANGE in our country. Revolutionary thing will not really work in our country, the Filipinos should discipline ourselves & in order to do that, we need GOOD EDUCATION to use that discipline by educating yourself, your family, your friends & your community and we should love & respect our country as well rather… Read more »

Empiricism teaches that there is a real world of fixed things on the outside and that ideas of these outside things are stamped on the mind which is at the beginning of life a blank.

If you are mired in a rut, not of your own making. you can do these things :(1) stay mired in the rut, and not complain about it; (2) get out of the rut, cleanse yourself , and move on. (3) Damn to your heart’s content on the people who were responsible for the rut. Governments are like tools. They can be changed, if they are not working well anymore, and no longer useful to you. The Cory Aquino 1986 Constitution, catered well to their Feudal Oligarchy interest. The elections, can be easily rigged; when you have a COMELEC Chairman,… Read more »
Mr. BenignO How can Filipinos be revolutionary and have a national character when we as a people do not even embrace some kind of an ideology? Common Filipinos generally look down upon almost anything and everything of its own endemic culture and identify themselves first as a citizens of the world (we really have a lot of jealous and envious filipino poseurs!). Marcos in one interview explains: “…the Philippines had somehow lost its original and indigenous culture. It became necessary for the Philippines, therefore, in order to reestablish its identity and for the Filipinos – especially the Filipino who was… Read more »
Propaganda Boy


What if we wanted constitutional authoritarianism just like that in Singapore, Deng-Era China and modern federal Russia that way?