The Politics of NGOs in Southeast Asia: Participation and by Gerard Clarke

By Gerard Clarke

The Politics of NGOs in S.E. Asia strains the heritage of the emergence of NGOs within the Philippines and Southeast Asia and the political elements that inspired it them.

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Additional info for The Politics of NGOs in Southeast Asia: Participation and Protest in the Philippines

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In conclusion, chapter 9 locates the Philippines in a South-East Asian context in an attempt to explain the increasing political significance of NGOs and their roles as political actors. NGOs, it argues, have played an important role in the emergence, consolidation and development of civil society in South-East Asia. Yet, the type of civil society to which NGOs contribute is multi-faceted. It differs across the region according to regime type. F. Hegel, Alexis de Tocqueville and Antonio Gramsci and, finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, it differs from the type of civil society which many NGOs seek.

Korten’s typology, echoed in Elliot’s (1987) charity-development-empowerment typology of Northern NGO orientations, captures the main strategic, and in part, ideological, orientations of (1) First generation strategies: ‘Relief and welfare’. Direct delivery of services to a beneficiary group or population such as food, health care and shelter. (2) Second generation strategies: ‘Small-scale, Self-Reliant Local Development’. Breaking the dependency resulting from charity or humanitarian assistance.

Much of the political significance of NGOs in South-East Asia or the Philippines however can only be appreciated with reference to specific NGOs and chapters 7 and 8 present case studies of two of the largest and most politically prominent NGOs in the Philippines. Chapter 7 documents the history of the PRRM, the largest rural development NGO in the Philippines, the oldest (founded in 1952) and one of the most politically controversial and experimental. This chapter is significant in part because it is the first independent study of PRRM available in the public domain since 1961 and contrasts sharply with studies by its own management which, for understandable reasons perhaps, ignore or underplay significant aspects of its political history and current strategy.

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