Philippine Society: Searching for Social Development with People in the Leading Role
Friday, September 13, 2019 (18:30-20:30)
Science Hall,Fukuoka City Science Museum 6F(External link)
FUJIWARA Kiichi (Director, Institute for Future Initiatives / Professor, Graduate School for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo)
Dr. SHIMIZU Hiromu (Specially Appointed Professor, Kansai University, Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University)

Prof. Randolf DAVID, who founded the Third World Studies Center at the University of the Philippines and had conducted researches on the issues and measures of emerging sovereign states, gave a passionate talk on the People Power Revolution in the Philippines (1986) and its society which centralized the political power after the revolution.

FUJIWARA Kiichi (Director, Institute for Future Initiatives / Professor, Graduate School for Law and Politics, The University of Tokyo)
SHIMIZU Hiromu (Specially Appointed Professor, Kansai University; Professor Emeritus, Kyoto University)

Part 1: Keynote Speech

History, Culture, and Politics ― The Unique Experiences Generated by People Power

Professor David is a Filipino sociologist who has also worked as a TV host and a producer. In this public lecture, he talked about Philippine politics, culture, and history as well as the important events that led to the formation of Philippine society.

The talk began with professor David posing a question: “Do you know what is happening in the Philippines right now?” He said that the answer is not simple and began explaining the experiences unique to the Philippines.

First, regarding culture and history, he explained that the ethnic communities in the Philippines are not unified and described how these regional differences could not be overcome during the Spanish rule. After this, he discussed how landowners exercising minority rule still existed when democracy began to take root under American rule. Discussing the various factors that contributed to this context, he explained that “Filipinos were angry at the elites who controlled the country for a long time, so they wanted a leader to emerge from the people who could take the power back.”

Next, he touched on the two types of politicians that have succeeded in the Philippines. The first type is the authoritarian leaders like President Marcos and President Duterte, while the other type is the moral leaders like President Aquino, but the Filipino people have always been drawn to the former. After this, he provided commentary on recent administrations— namely, how Marcos strived to concentrate all kinds of power, how Aquino’s moral character gave her credibility, and how the charismatic Duterte earned the support of people angry at society and past leaders.

He talked passionately about the People Power Revolution and how the assassination of Benigno Aquino, an opponent of the ruling government, led to the people rallying behind his widow Corazon Aquino to oust Ferdinand Marcos from power. According to David, the concept of People Power is now a global framework for peacefully overthrowing authoritarian regimes, and it still remains as a part of the political consciousness of the Filipino people. He ended his lecture, by stating, “Our search for social development with people in the leading role will not end until we can find the right formula for bridging the gap between law and culture and between the modern Constitution and national loyalty. And this will likely remain an issue for the current generation and the next.”

Professor David discussed Philippine society by effectively weaving in the experience of him and his late wife Karina who worked with him. His speaking style, which was reminiscent of a news caster, fascinated the audience.

Part 2: Interview

The problems that the Philippines face are not its problems alone

In part two, professor David and professor Fujiwara discussed the impact that the progressive measures taken at the time had on the people and industry, including university professors appearing on current affairs programs, and people speaking in Tagalog instead of the customary English. Next, in an up-tempo dialogue with the interlocutor, he talked about a range of topics including how the People Power Revolution was unable to create an alternative form of government, the global spread of populism today, and how social media is drastically reshaping the political landscape.

The audience asked questions about the best way to enjoy the Philippines and the country’s educational system, and professor David replied, throwing in the occasional joke. The session served to provide the audience with more knowledge about politics in the Philippines and the world, and most certainly aroused their interest in the topic.

Panel discussion

Public Lectures 2019