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  “Which among the solutions is most applicable; charter change or reforms in the government?”  Through the years, the Philippine experience with democracy has undergone many phases of ups and down. The areas that democracy has failed us, or the democratic deficits, have sparked the interest of the people to look for possible solutions to counter these deficits. What comes to mind then is the process of Charter Change which has long lingered in the field of politics and the less radical means of implementing much needed reforms in the government. Which among the solutions is most applicable; charter change or reforms in the government!emocracy or the rule of the people has conveniently been accepted and embraced by the ilipino people. Through the years, it has been evident that the deficiencies and problems of the present presidential form of government have both or the politicians and other citi#ens concerned.!emocratic deficits manifest in not only one aspect of governance. !emocratic deficits are present whenever there is a lack or absence of transparency, accountability, and predictability. There are deficits in the democratic institutions that we have, such as political party system, the electoral system, the presence of political dynasties, the $ustice system and the rule of law; the existence of corruption, the relationship of local government and the national government and also in the % P and P&P. With the democratic institutions experiencing deficiencies, the social and economic systems are affected as well.!emocratic deficits have also been plaguing the social and economic systems like the 'ducation, (ealth, 'nvironment, Population and public)private sector partnership. The democratic institutions constitute a big part of the democratic framework of our government. *ut as these institutions become deficient, the big idea of it being in line with the democratic principles becomes doubtful. +ur present political party system shows that turncoatism is still practiced by our politicians instead of creating and maintaining political parties based on political views and platforms. sing it as a vessel for candidates to be elected is done instead. -ack of party loyalty thus contributes to the existence of weak political parties. The absence of accountability of campaign funds and clear rules for funds and auditing leads the way to the emergence of failures and shortcomings in the government offices.n our country, the mention of political dynasties is no longer surprising. These political dynasties make it difficult to level the playing field in the political arena against candidates who are capable but less financially endowed. The rule of law is also being lenient and lacking of effective /  policies related to the $ustice system. The $ustice system of today still needs improvement when it comes to the access to $ustice by the poor and disadvantaged. The local government and national government could sometimes be strained by politics or differences when it comes to budget allocation. With the changing trends the needs for the local government units to keep in professionali#ation and interaction with other -01s worldwide becomes imminent. The %rmed orces of the Philippines along with the Philippine &ational Police 2% P and P&P3, which have the same purpose of protecting the state and its citi#ens to those who pose threat to the security and welfare also become deficient. Throughout some of the recent administrations, the country has witnessed a series of coup attempts which only manifests the politici#ation of the % P. +n the other hand, the politici#ation of the P&P is manifested through the influence of -0s through supporting financially and giving recruitment recommendations. *ut among the aforementioned democratic institutions with deficits, probably the existence of corruption in the one that has the most impact on people1s lives since it is a combination of deficits that deprive ilipinos of the opportunities for improvement while the corrupt parties benefit through their vested interests. +ther deficits involved in special concerns like insurgencies and in food security indicated the derailment of development in rural areas due to communist and 4+5+ insurgencies. n the food security, the lack of proper means on how to manage these problems is amiss.With the democratic institutions showing deficits, the social and economic systems were not spared from the existence of deficits. The education system struggles from its problems with the allocated budget as compared to other countries. This then affects the 6uality of teachers and the 6uality of education being given. The need to further evaluate the education system since standards and 6uality of other countries put us at the bottom. n the health care system, financing and fund sourcing are problems being faced. There is a lack of unifying standard or integrated regulatory functions for health professions. (ealth governance is at times overlooked. The environment and other related rights have been under mind by environmental degradation. The adverse effects experienced by the Philippines are yet to be mitigated. The population or rather the overpopulation strains on limited resources for health care, housing and other basic services. The relationship or partnership between the public)private sectors is crucial for the economic growth of a country. *ut in the Philippines there is an absence of a strong partnership between the government and the business7private sector as the engine of growth which slows the economic development as compared to countries with strong public)private sector partnership. The deficits found in both democratic institutions and social economic systems are interlinked and inter)related. %s the democratic institutions 8  directly affect the governance. The social and economic systems become comprised such that irregularities, imbalances and other negative effects follow through. 4ore often than not, the effects of having deficient democratic institutions are directly proportional to the progress of the social and economic systems. 0overnment corruption hinders the smooth flow of effective governance over the services that are to be rendered to the people. 5arely does it happen that corrupt government officials or agency does bring about positive results for the betterment of the ilipinos. The existence of democratic deficits suggests the many failures of political institutions, political systems and even the failure of the people to cope up. 9olutions to these deficits are urgently needed to put a halt to or even $ust lessen its existence. The list of possible solutions go on but at the end it all goes down to whether the ilipino people are ready to take a leap towards charter change or the shifting of presidentialism to parliamentarism, or instead implement political structural and institutional reforms. Charter Change or the proposal to change the form of government has been around the Philippines for some time. +ur present form of government which is presidential in form is being claimed by some to be the cause that such deficits exist. +nly by providing clear and concrete solutions to these problems that Philippines may be able to head towards development. Parliamentarism, it carried out will change the form of government. That we have in this set)up the way elections are done will change due to the privilege of the parliament to give out :no confidence votes to the incumbent leader who they might perceive undeserving of the position. Parliamentarism will not or may have a big possibility of bringing out positive effects to the party system. t will be a party government and loyalty from party members will be compelled thus the emergence of strong political parties compared to the parties of a presidential form of government. *ut then, by shifting towards a different form of government, is there an assurance that the problems and challenges of political, social and economic sector will be abolishedCharter Change re6uires time, effort and approved by the people. Changing the form of government that the ilipinos have become used to, is a difficult task. !espite the fact that the changes may bring will be beneficial to our democracy, the steps towards reali#ing these changes will re6uire long political debates. The focus that should be given to the pressing issues is instead shifted to the implementation. %ll new changes entail time for familiari#ation. The complete transition from one form of government to another will have citi#ens scrambling for ways on how to ad$ust. The many years of groundwork laid out on the present form of government will be scrapped in favour of a new one. Parliamentarism being a different concept does entirely assure of governance free from problematic situations. <  %lternative   to charter change, another solution can be considered in the 6uest to fixing the problems. +ther options in addressing the deficits such as reforms in the government should also be considered. Political structural and institutional reforms can take place instead of charter change. *y reforming the pre)existing laws, policies or even institutions, the deficits may be abolished or lessened. %dding certain provisions to address the problems and to cater to the needs of the people is a way of reformation. 5eforms could also mean modifying those that did not work in the present system. 5eforming is much easier than charter change, because the latter re6uires the overhauling of the whole system or the dissolution of the current constitutions in favor of a new one. The implementation of reforms would also re6uire time, effort and approval from the people, but unlike charter change the process is less tedious. n choosing the appropriate solution for the democratic deficits, other factors are also considered. The democratic deficits are also results of the nature of the Philippine politics itself. ilipino culture also plays a big part in the contribution of the problem and even in the solution itself. The very core values that make up the identity of a ilipino like :awa, :pakikisama, :pakikiramay, and the recognition of :utang na loob. These and some of the fable ilipino traits give rise to the information institutions like patron)client system. !emocratic deficits cannot be blamed for the shortcomings of the government alone but also for the culture, tradition and traits that ilipinos have inherently. These culture and traits enable the government to take advantage of the weak sense of social responsibility and along with the aforementioned traits. %lthough positive in nature, these traits become contributors to the deficits for the misuse and abuse. The shortcomings of the government could not be pinpointed to one particular cause. The result of the interaction of the disregarding of the democratic principles, the flawed system, the politici#ation of government agencies, the abuse of power, and even the nature of the ilipino culture is the emergence of deficits and other failures. The idea of resorting to charter change re6uires a big leap of faith. !espite the positive changes that it can bring, the road towards its reali#ation and implementations long. 5eforms in the government are not far from being made. With the full cooperation from the three branches of the government, the necessary steps towards countering the deficits can be attained. =
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