DEMOCRATIZING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND BRINGING THE PEOPLE BACK IN: THE PHILIPPINE CASE

By EDUARDO C. TADEM, Ph.D. & TERESA ENCARNACION TADEM, Ph.D.

People-to-people relations is a view less studied in the discourse of inter-national relations, a field which has been dominated by attention to the role of the state and state-to-state interactions. But there is a significant number of international networks and cross-border ties that are initiated and maintained by non-state players, principally civil society organizations (CSOs), nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and social movements. The existence and vibrancy of these non-state players show that an alternative foreign policy that emanates and is nurtured from below is possible. Focusing on the Philippine experience, this paper looks at initiatives directed at democratizing international relations through people-to-people linkages.

This paper is framed by analytical concepts that revolve around the principles of people-empowerment, popular participation and broadening democratization; decision-making and policy-formulation from below; accountability and transparency by state actors to their constituencies; civil society engagement with the state and the market, and popular mobilization as an antidote to possible state authoritarianism. It touches on three general aspects of people-to-people relations: political, economic, and socio-cultural. It examines these three general aspects through four major historical periods in the Philippines, i.e. pre-martial law period, martial law period, the transition from authoritarianism to a democracy, and the advent of neo-liberalism.

This paper found that during these four major historical periods in the Philippines, the state saw the emergence and strengthening of people-to-people relations. It shows that meaningful change, both at the national and international levels, are defined by people and not only by states.