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The highly imbalanced development of the Philippine economy has become an enduring threat to the country’s supposedly people-centric national security. Although the Philippines had earlier on served as a model economy for many of its neighbours, particularly during the post-war period between 1950s and 1960s, however, things went downhill beginning in the 1970s.1 Since then, the country has never quite recovered. The country’s dramatic fall from the top had earned it unenviable titles such as, ‘the sick man of Asia’, and ‘East Asia’s stray cat’ (Noland 2000; White III 2015). At the crux of the Philippines’ extremely uneven economic development is a deeply entrenched patronage system ruled and maintained by powerful Filipino oligarchs. The term ‘oligarchs’ is defined as ‘actors who command and control massive concentrations of material resources that can be deployed to defend or enhance their personal wealth and exclusive social position’ (Winters 2011, p. 6). Accordingly, the ultimate goal of the oligarchs is to continuously expand and secure their position of extreme wealth and power against all forms of threats (Bourguignon & Verdier 2000; Winters 2011).
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