About the event
Riding a strong populist wave and exerting a brand of crisis, Rodrigo Duterte was elected to power in the Philippines in mid-2016. More than a year into his presidency, Duterte’s authoritarian tendencies threaten to undo core democratic gains made in the years following the 1986 People Power Revolution, a peaceful uprising that drew upon the strength of many different groups and helped ignite a wave of similar movements around the world. Capitalizing on popular frustrations over the incremental pace of change, Duterte has attacked a central piece of People Power’s main product, the 1987 Freedom Constitution, blaming it for the continuing ills of the country. He has now commandeered the People Power narrative, sounding crisis after crisis and calling for revolution, to serve a core of interest groups close to him, rather than Filipino democracy as a whole.
In her presentation, Maxine Tanya Hamada spoke from her twenty years of experience—working in both the government bureaucracy and civil society—about the cycles of moving from crisis to governance and the importance of reclaiming the narrative of People Power that has been hijacked by Duterte. Hamada also discussed gains made by People Power and what the international community can do to help safeguard Filipino democracy.
- Tanya Hamada, Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow
- Brian Joseph, Senior Director of Asia and Global Programs, National Endowment for Democracy
About the Speakers
Ms. Maxine Tanya Hamada served most recently as the executive director of the Institute for Leadership, Empowerment and Democracy or iLEAD, a Philippine think tank focused on public fiscal responsibility, meaningful devolution, and defending civic spaces. She is currently a member of the steering committee of the World Movement for Democracy. Previously, she was assistant secretary for monitoring and evaluation in the Philippines’ Department of Budget and Management (2014–2016), where she helped set up a national evaluation policy for the bureaucracy, oversaw the Grassroots Planning and Budgeting Program and relations with civil society, and assisted in the Open Government Partnership and the Cabinet Cluster on Good Governance. In recognition of her civic work, she was invited in 2011 to participate in the U.S. Department of State’s 100-Years-100-Women International Visitor Leadership Program. During her fellowship, Ms. Hamada has explored meaningful devolution and the power it has to improve livelihood in the Philippines, particularly when the budget is used as a primary political tool.
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