The Philippines may face some challenges in 2010 with the presidential elections, Constitutional amendment disagreements and fallout from the global financial crisis.
The Philippines has some certain advantages when it comes to coping with these challenges. For example, remittances from overseas Filipino workers could keep the domestic economy afloat.
The Presidential elections and the Constitutional changes proposal are somewhat linked. Amending the constitution is seen as an uphill task for President Arroyo as it has proven to be the case for previous administration. In the 1990s, President Ramos was one example in failing to carry out constitutional amendments.
Changes in the Constitution are suspected by its opponents of being a forerunner of a scheme to retain the Arroyo administration in power, indirect help for Arroyo’s congressional allies to stay in power or through term extension to shift to a parliamentary form of government for the President to run for prime minister. A parliamentary system would also entail concentrating power in the House of Representatives and doing away with the Senate.
Even peace negotiations have been entangled with political discourse on Constitutional changes. Critics of Arroyo suspected that the current administration was making use of peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to switch to a federal system to better control the local areas.
But the Philippines is much stronger to cope with economic crises compared with the 1980s or in the post-Marcos period. Nevertheless there are calls for the Constitution to contain new stipulations to postpone discussions of amendments until after 2010 elections.
Dumlao, Doris, "No smooth RP ride to 2010 -- US think tank" dated 29 September 2008 in the Philippine Daily Inquirer [downloaded on 29 September 2008], available at http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20080929-1634...