Political Parties Agree on Reform Bill
14 August 2012
Political parties in the Philippines gathered on August 10-12, 2012 in Manila
to discuss the Political Party Development Act of 2011 (PPDA) that is currently
pending in Congress. The workshop-conference, in its Declaration,
tried to consolidate the House and the Senate versions particularly on the definition
of turncoatism, called for stricter and well-defined standards and parameters
for the registration of political parties, and proposed to include incentives
and disincentives to ensure its implementation.
“The Philippines will never attain political maturity not unless we stop
basing political parties on personalities but rather look at their ideological
stance,” said Commission on Elections Chair Sixto Brilliantes who opened
the plenary session. The campaign for party reform was initiated 10 years ago,
but the bill never gets through the third reading in Congress to pass as a law.
The bill seeks to a) promote accountability and transparency through institutionalizing
reforms in financing electoral campaigns; b) provide financial subsidies to political
parties in order for them to augment their expenditures for campaign purposes
and for the improvement of their party; c) impose party loyalty and discipline;
and d) encourage and support the ongoing voter’s education and civic literacy
Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) Executive Director Ramon Casiple
emphasized that the bill is another step towards good governance. National Institute
for Policy Studies (NIPS) Board Member Dr. July Teehankee supported this. “The
political system has ‘clientelistic cluster networks’ that result
in a complicated relationship of patron-client and towards a weak citizen-party
linkage. Political patronage can be avoided through state subsidy,” he said.
Representatives from the Liberal Party (LP), Nationalist People’s Coalition
(NPC), Centrist Democratic Party (CDP), Akbayan, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas
ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) as well as from
the Senate and the House of Representatives, Commission on Elections, and political
institutes were present at the event. It was co-sponsored by the Friedrich Naumann
Foundation for Freedom, a German liberal foundation.