Think Pieces

Browse Think Pieces and other opinion articles published on G-Watch as well as other websites. 


16 August 2019
Why Sovereignty Should Concern Every Filipino Today

The government needs to reclaim being the government of this country that protects and cares for its people by asserting and advancing Philippine sovereignty on the West Philippine Sea. Filipinos need to remind the Duterte government of what their being the government for and who ultimately owns the power that those in government temporarily hold. 


16 August 2019
How Participatory Reforms Can Enable Voice But Fall Short Of Transformation

Reforming the budget process to be more open and participatory to civil society and citizens has become a popular approach around the world. This trend represents great potential for democratic transformation, especially in countries where the allocation of public resources has long been left in the hands of a few. However, attempts to undertake such reforms in the Philippines have had mixed results. The Philippine experience with Bottom-Up Budgeting (BuB) offers valuable insights into the pitfalls that must be avoided for participatory reforms to be transformative.


17 June 2019
How International Solidarity Forged Filipino Nationalism

By Francis Isaac and Joy Aceron


13 May 2019
My List of the Good and Worse about the 2019 Philippine Elections

Overall, huge reasons to be worried and disappointed about, with little positive to hold on to.


31 January 2019
Bangsamoro as a "New Unity"

Last January 21, parts of Muslim Mindanao held a plebiscite to determine what will form the new Bangsamoro entity created through the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), a landmark piece of legislation that is a product of decades of struggle of Moros for their right to self-determination. 

There is a critical misconception that is quite common even to those who would opt to give peace in Mindanao a chance. Some people who are mostly doubtful of the peace process are under the impression that the ratification of BOL is a victory for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that comes with a reward, including (to some, at least) the power over the to-be Bangsamoro entity itself. This is wrong. It is a big misconception and a misunderstanding. 


13 December 2018
‘Closing Civic Space:’ A Space for a New Movement-Building

The agenda ‘closing civic space’ has been taken up extensively of late in transparency, participation, accountability, open government and anti-corruption spaces. I have been asked to give talks on this topic in three separate international events, namely the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Tbilisi, Georgia in July; the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Copenhagen in October; and this week in UNODC’s workshop in Bangkok, Thailand. This is recognized as a key issue in the Philippines. In the event of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in the Philippines that G-Watch attended in Tagaytay several weeks ago, the challenge of ‘closing,’ ‘shrinking,’ ‘constraining’ civic space has been pointed out in all workshop groups when asked what are the main challenges confronting Philippine civil society today. 


30 October 2018
Notes on Chantal Mouffe's Lecture ‘Linker Populismus’

By Francis Isaac, Government Watch (G-Watch)

SO36 is a large music bar in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, known for hosting punk rock concerts and has been a fixture of Germany’s counter-cultural scene for the past four decades. But on the evening of 3 October 2018, this rebel hangout (that once featured Iggy Pop and David Bowie) was converted into a lecture hall that could accommodate close to three hundred people.


16 July 2018
10 Open Government Myths

As I attend my 3rd Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Tblisi, Georgia, I am hoping to see progress in this network in breaking what I refer to as "open government myths." 

Let me share ten of my most favorite:


6 July 2018
Duterte's ChaCha Committee is Accountable to the Public

By Joy Aceron*

It is reported that one of the members of the Consultative Committee to Review the 1987 Constitution created by President Rodrigo Duterte thinks that the Committee does not owe the public a copy of their proposed Constitution. According to him, this is because the Committee only reports to the President and because he thinks the public is not capable of studying Constitutional Change proposal. Confidently, he argued that unlike him, the public did not study the Constitution and laws for years.


4 June 2018
‘Para kanino tayo kumikilos?’: Planting the seeds for a new social movement

“What can we do amidst these concerted efforts to strike down accountability? The people in the roundtable ask. What can we do against the overwhelming arrogance of power?
“The suggestion, coming from Government Watch — an action-research organization embedded in various civic groups all over the Philippines — is to revive the power of social movements. Or more specifically: revive the movement-building approach, especially in light of a society that feels more divided and fragmented than ever.”

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