Can Democracy Survive in the Philippines?

August 10, 1990

Report Outline
Special Focus


Four years after the Philippines' democratic revolution, the country is still plagued with poverty, corruption and $27 billion in foreign debt. Although President Corazon C. Aquino is still personally popular, she is accused of being indecisive and unable to deal effectively not just with the moribund economy, but also with rebellious factions in the military and Communist rebels. Many experts say the Philippines now must chart a course independent of the United States—a move that could affect the outcome of the current negotiations over the future of the U.S. military bases there.

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By the time Philippine President Corazon C. Aquino visited Washington in September 1986, the United States had been consumed by the same euphoria that had swept her homeland seven months earlier. America's closest Asian ally—and former colony—had cast off years of despotic and corrupt rule by ousting Ferdinand E. Marcos. And Americans, via the wonders of instantaneous, worldwide communication, had watched as the diminutive, former housewife dressed in yellow rallied her countrymen during the dramatic final days of the Marcos regime.

Aquino quickly became America's darling, as was evident the morning of Sept. 18 when Aquino addressed a packed, joint session of Congress. Members of Congress, diplomats, Cabinet members and even journalists were wearing suits, dresses, ties and handkerchiefs bearing Aquino's trademark yellow. House Majority Leader Jim Wright, D-Texas, ordered that 200 yellow roses line the approach to the dais where the Philippine president would speak.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 10, 1990  Can Democracy Survive in the Philippines?
Feb. 06, 1987  Philippine Politics
Oct. 28, 1983  Political Unrest in the Philippines
Oct. 24, 1980  The Philippines Under Stress
Apr. 25, 1975  Philippine Instability
May 17, 1967  The Philippines: Time of Frictions
May 17, 1950  Philippines in Transition
Apr. 12, 1945  Rehabilitation of the Philippines
Aug. 05, 1933  Independence Contest in the Philippines
Dec. 12, 1931  Economics of the Philippine Problem
Nov. 06, 1926  The Problem of the Philippines
Jan. 28, 1924  Philippine Independence
International Economic Development
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific