Q:

What are the key political problems in the Phllippines?

A:

One of the biggest political problems in the Philippines is that most of the power rests with elite families. In addition, political parties there are weak.

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One example of elite families holding power is the Ilocos Norte region, which in 2006 was under the continued control of the Marcos family. Although politicians attempt to promote policies, outside influences can prevent them. For example, President Ramos tried to promote birth control, but pressure from the Catholic Church prevented this. As a result, the Philippines population grows rapidly. In addition, presidents there serve single six-year terms. This, coupled with the lack of power behind politicians, means none seem able to fulfil their constitutions and implement policies.

There is a severe class divide in the Philippines. In contrast with the ruling elite, 25 percent of the country's population was unemployed as of 2006. As a result, many people leave the country to go and work. However, as there is no strong middle class, creating political stability is difficult. Because of the stark contrast between classes, Muslim and Communist rebellions are frequent.

Democracy in the Philippines is still a young concept. After abandoning sultanistic rule under the pressure of martial law in 1972, there was a power struggle within the country's subsequent Catholic leaders. The modern political system takes influence from the U.S. model, but is not entirely successful.

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