I have a somewhat good understanding of the dynamic in Philippine society. I have thought about this for quite some time; what I am referring to is the endemic corruption at all levels in this society. The Philippines is a country that divides its loyalties at the tribal level. One's social affiliations define the parameters of loyalty to these personal affiliations. One has to look at a map to see that the country is divided into over 7000 islands. Historically, nationalism has been an elusive concept for the Philippines because interests are divided amongst each group both personally and politically. It is this loyalty to family, friends and one's inner circle that is the cause of endemic corruption. Strangers outside of one's circle are treated so vastly different than friends, acquaintances and loved ones.
By nature the political sphere is an arena in which impersonality is the norm. For example, voters select a candidate who is essentially a stranger to them privately. Government workers assist in the distribution of benefits to law abiding citizens that are only identified as a name, number and/or social class affiliation. Unfortunately, Filipinos personalize this sphere by transferring benefits to their inner circles, thus emphasizing loyalty over fairness. In the long term, this does not work. For the sake of the nation, Filipinos must set aside their cultural biases in order for this fledgling democracy to develop properly. Instead of an 'us' versus 'them' mentality, 'we' as a people must come together with participatory language. As we say here in the United States, there is no "I" in "team". Here, the group dynamic is an extension of "I".
The most ironic aspect I find about Philippine society is that it values team sports and decorum in politics. For decorum, one only has to look at the recent hearings concerning a certain Justice on the Supreme Court. However, behind closed doors personal loyalties divide the country as much now as it ever has. It is painful to choose fairness over loyalty but it is the sort of bitter pill that must be swallowed for the sake of the country's health in an increasingly competitive global environment.