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Post-EDSA Philippine Democracy and Disinformation: A Canary in a Coal Mine

Issues & Insights Vol. 23, SR11, pp. 26-34

Abstract

Several unique societal or institutional factors leave the Philippines vulnerable to social media-based disinformation. As patient zero for social media disinformation-based populist politics, the Philippines and its democratic allies must act to successfully contain disinformation. This paper examines how patronage-based, personality-driven politics, weak political institutions, and inadequate education systems are crucial to disinformation’s effectiveness in the Philippines. Moreover, it analyzes attempts to curb disinformation and proposes three policy recommendations: strengthen education systems, restore press freedom, and hold social media networks such as TikTok and Facebook accountable. This paper also analyzes current efforts to curb social media disinformation. These include the junked social media abuse bill of February 2022, lawsuits planned by the Robredo campaign’s lawyers, and non-profit disinformation monitoring campaigns. Analysis of these factors and disinformation-curbing measures assesses the Philippines’ path toward a healthier, fact-based democracy.

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About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the second U.S.-Philippines Next-Generation Leaders in Security Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy Manila. With backgrounds in academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Philippine relationship.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.


Japhet Quitzon is a research associate and program manager with the Scholl Chair in International Business at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). He received his bachelor’s degree in international relations with a minor in East Asian studies from Connecticut College.


Photo: Official logo of the Philippines’ Commission on Elections. Source: Public Domain