The government in the Philippines is dangerously unstable and cries out for greater sensitivity on the part of the Aquino regime.
In a four and one-half-year tenure, President Corazon Aquino has survived seven different military revolts, the most recent of which was crushed only last week. A renegade colonel surrendered two days after seizing military garrisons in two cities and proclaiming independence for the country's second-largest island.Aquino and her advisers cavalierly dismiss all the coup attempts as "power grabs" and efforts to crush democracy. But critics of the government believe that in spite of questionable motives and methods on the part of perpetrators of coups, they have raised some valid issues.
There is widespread concern about favoritism in military promotions, government corruption, poverty and failure to deliver basic services in a land of 60 million people.
Many think that the Aquino government shows little interest in the demands of special interest groups, including Moslems, workers, teachers, or soldiers.
Some criticize Aquino for poor leadership and lack of vision. Many have said that unless she takes steps to correct the root causes of the coups, that the government remains "an accident waiting to happen."
Some have also suggested that well-organized political parties are needed in order to speed up legislation and avoid back room deals. Some have suggested shifting to a unicameral, parliamentary-style government in which the government could be changed constitutionally if it were to lose its mandate.
Critics say the system is too highly centralized for an archipelago of 7,100 islands with more than 80 languages and dialects.
It has been demonstrated that a pro-coup sentiment exists in at least 12 major units within the 160,000-member armed forces. In spite of the fact that no revolt has yet succeeded, the Aquino government is well-advised to respond positively to well-intentioned criticism.
The numerous close calls only tarnish the reputation of the government and demoralize the people.