Press Release
June 18, 2012



Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan weighs in on the issue of state funding for political parties, saying that state subsidies will help build stronger political parties and "level the playing field" for all political players.

"A key component to strengthening political parties is to provide state subsidy to the major party organizations," he says. "By doing so, we level the playing field and allow for various political parties of different leanings and persuasions to compete in the elections. This weakens the hold of a monopolistic administration party on the party system in the country, and strengthens democracy."

A staunch advocate of liberal democracy, Pangilinan points out, "All vibrant democracies in the world--whether in North America, Europe, or Asia--have a form of state support. This subsidy has helped institutionalize the political party system in their countries, which in turn gave rise to political parties with clear ideologies."

"Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand enjoy state funding of their parties," he adds. "The same goes for the US, the UK, Germany, and France. Australia and New Zealand, too, allow for state funding to political parties. All strong democracies in both the East and the West recognize political parties as institutions that are fundamental to a vibrant democracy."

Pangilinan emphasizes, "Such parties are necessary for our political debates to move away from the politics of personalities and popularity to the politics of programs and policies."

He also adds that state subsidy is not a new idea in the Philippines, with such a system having been in place during the pre-Martial Law years.

"Political party funding was one reason why the two-party system held sway in the country before Martial Law. The law allowed for party watchers to draw their poll duty allowances from the national treasury. This form of state subsidy allowed for a degree of stability in the party system. What we ought to do is restore this form of subsidy and build on it with provisions against turncoatism among others."

"The lack of state funding to political parties created the situation wherein politicians jump ship and join the administration party to ensure access to government funds and support," Pangilinan points out. "Hence, it was KBL during the Marcos years, LDP under Cory, Lakas under Ramos, LAMMP under Erap, and Lakas again under GMA. This vicious cycle of turncoatism and opportunism must end. Levelling the playing field by providing government subsidy to political parties will help solve this."

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