IN A FIELD of restored and restricted democracies, and repressive regimes, the Philippines’ so-so score in the 2010 Open Budget Survey is cause enough to celebrate. One of Southeast Asia’s economic laggards, the Philippines did one better: it tops 10 other countries in the region in terms of budget transparency.
This is even as the Philippines scored a measly 55 out of a possible 100.
BANGKOK — “Political conditions.” That was what the Thai Airways lady at the Chiang Mai airport scribbled as the reason for the cancellation of our Nov. 27 flight from Bangkok, crossing out the word “weather” stamped on our e-ticket. Minutes earlier, an AirAsia staffer had done a similar thing for our other cancelled flight, writing “political disturbance at Bangkok airport” on our tickets.
BANGKOK — Anti-government protesters make up a sea of yellow and the other side, red. Look familiar? To Filipinos, yes: Yellow, after all, is the Pinoy color of protest, bringing back the angry-turned-euphoric days of the civilian-led revolt against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in February 1986. Red, meanwhile, was favored by the Marcos loyalists.
The political divisions in the Thai political drama are quite different from 1986 Philippines, not least because the anti-government groups actually want to go back to a time of fewer elective positions in government and argue that democracy has not worked in this country. But several other scenes unfolding here trigger memory buttons for Filipinos, who consider themselves veterans in the culture of protest.
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