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Philippines areas under dynasties are poorest– Study

/ 09:30 PM September 26, 2011

While saying it hasn’t yet established a connection between political dynasties and poverty, a policy think tank released initial results of a study showing that areas under the rule of dynasties are among the poorest in the Philippines.

The study, being prepared by the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center (AIMPC), said seven out of every 15 legislators are members of families that are considered political dynasties.

Legislators belonging to political dynasties tend to represent areas with lower per capita incomes, and higher and more intense poverty levels, the study said.

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Roland Mendoza, AIMPC executive director, said the study isn’t yet linking political dynasties with poverty which, he said, needed further study and analysis.

Mendoza presented the study’s initial results last Friday at a policy forum, “Pathways to High and Inclusive Growth,” at the AIM Conference Center in Makati City.

The AIMPC study said dynasties continued to dominate Congress. Current members of Congress, it said, tend to belong to richer families but have poorer constituents compared with legislators that are not members of dynasties.

The forum was organized by the Kondrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation, Unicef and Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility. At least 200 representatives from the academe, international organizations, business sector, civil society, humanitarian organizations, diplomatic corps and media were in attendance.

Dynasty categories

The initial AIMPC study results listed four categories of legislators belonging to dynasties:

Dynasty 1. These are members of the 15th Congress with kinship ties to legislators in the 12th, 13th and 14th Congresses.

Dynasty 2. Members of the 15th Congress with kinship ties to legislators in the 12th, 13th and 14th Congress or with local officials elected in 2001, 2004 and 2007.

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Dynasty 3. Members of the 15th Congress with kinship ties to legislators in the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Congress or local officials elected in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Dynasty 4. Members of the 15th Congress with kinship ties to legislators in the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Congresses and local officials elected in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

According to AIMPC, 115 legislators (68 percent of Congress) belong to the Dynasty 3 category or those with relatives who were legislators since the 12th Congress until the 15th Congress or local officials elected in 2001 or currently occupying elective posts.

At least 144 legislators are related to legislators or local officials who were elected in the 2001, 2004 and 2007 elections, AIMPC said.

Mendoza said while political dynasties also exist in other democracies, like the United States, there is an increasing number of dynasties winning Congress seats in the Philippines.

Wealthier legislators

AIMPC said based on statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) that members of Congress are required to submit, legislators belonging to political dynasties tend to be wealthier, with an average net worth of P52 million, than those not belonging to dynasties with an average net worth of P42 million.

The wealthier legislators tend to represent poorer areas, according to Mendoza.

AIMPC also said members of political dynasties also dominate major political parties. It said 76 percent of members of the former ruling party Lakas-Kampi are members of dynasties. At least 57 percent of members of the now ruling Liberal Party belong to dynasties. So do 74 percent of members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition and 81 percent of the Nacionalista Party.

Young legislators, AIMPC said, are often perceived to represent reforms and innovation, but political dynasties are dominant among all age groups of legislators, including the youngest.

AIMPC said 77 percent of legislators in the 26-40 age group are members of dynasties. At least 64 percent of those in the 41-55 age bracket are members of dynasties.

Mendoza told the Inquirer there was a need for “sober evidence-based discussion” on how to institute reforms in the political and electoral system before the next elections in 2013.

He noted how reform-minded political leaders, like former Pampanga Governor Fr. Eddie Panlilio and former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, initially won but were later defeated in dynasty-dominated elections.

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TAGS: Political Dynasties, Politics, Poverty, Poverty Incidents, Regions, Study
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