Politics: Philippines and South Korea

The Philippines and South Korea are the two countries I am most familiar with. In the Philippines, we say that the three top interests of Filipinos are basketball, show business and politics. Here in Korea, they are soccer, show business and politics (based on what trends on portal sites)

Photo source:  http://www.crossed-flag-pins.com
Photo source: http://www.crossed-flag-pins.com

Two of the countries I’m most familiar are my home country, the Philippines, and my adoptive country, South Korea. I love both countries, but I wish that my native country could have a better government that will truly take care of its people. Anyway, here’s a rundown of how the two governments fare in terms of politics:

Election in the Philippines and South Korea

  • In Korea, voters don’t need to register. The national database automatically includes everyone who is eligible to vote. (Source: my experience)
  • In the Philippines, voters line up for hours and lose a day of work to register!
  • Campaign period in Korea is for two weeks before elections.
  • Campaign period in the Philippines “unofficially” starts after an election, e.g. the campaign for the presidential election in 2016 began after the senatorial elections last May.
  • In Korea, posters are not pasted on walls. They are placed together in public spaces. Campaign paraphernalia are sent to households.
  • In the Philippines, posters are everywhere and everything (including noodles) becomes a campaign material. Bribes like money and groceries are sent to voters.
  • In Korea, the candidates talk about their platform and don’t sing and dance.
  • In the Philippines, the candidates sing or dance to entertain the “audience”.
    More on Korean elections here.
  • In Korea, profile of candidates are posted online. The list includes their wealth and income.
  • In the Philippines, profile of candidates are posted online. The list does not include their wealth nor their income.

Politicians in the Philippines and South Korea


  1. Very well said Ms. Betchay!! Still not losing hope that we will be able to have a government truthfully working for its people.

  2. I really agree Miss Betchay! .by the the cross flag pin you posted .I actually print it out because I too really love South Korea.

  3. Since I don’t know much about politics, this was really interesting to read. I only read about foreigners complaining about the noise the election campaigns in Korea produce, but it’s good to know there’s also positive things.

  4. Uhmm…what about the Korean ex-president that hat put away huge slush funds during his term in office and stated he had only 290000 won available to him now (CDH)? What about the fact that about every Korean president who was elected democratically was charged for corruption basically as soon as they left office?
    What about the MP who said the subway ticket was 80 won? And what about the fact that the crying president (PCH) used the money that the miners and nurses send for his own devices? Sorry, but Korean politics is a dirty enough place as well!

    1. Yes. I think I mentioned about the presidents who had gone to jail for corruption. Korean politicians are also corrupt, but my point is the people themselves don’t tolerate it as much as we do. When the members of Congress and their spouses paraded in expensive designer clothing during the last SONA, people were excited to see the clothes and it got more coverage than the speech of the president! That’s why I mentioned about politicians here get criticized simply for wearing an expensive watch.
      Isn’t it a good thing that “every Korean president who was elected democratically was charged for corruption basically as soon as they left office”? For me, that’s good news.
      Recently, the news being reported in Korea is about Chun Doo Hwan and his family. They have to pay the penalty imposed on the former president and it runs into billions of won. The government has already seized their expensive art collection…

      1. I can’t think of a country where politicians are not corrupt. Maybe North of Europe is dealing with it a bit better then the rest, but even they have plenty of corruption. Kind of sad really

    2. PCH did not use others money for his personal use He made the system that money used for d purpose of
      economic development.
      when PCH died w gunshot 1979 he was brought to d hospital covering his face with towel. doctor never noticed if he is president coz his inner cloth난닝구was damaged with so many holes and velt metal was discolored like dalmasian… there were no evidence of corrupt of pres PCH. it was only rumor of corrupt spread by north korean spy.
      you should know about 100000 NK spies lived in south korea with reguar job.

  5. Sad to say these are all true..But we still have hope in our hands that someday, our country will prosper just like how South Korea did…

  6. Hi Betchay! Remember me? I’ve retired and am living in the Philippines now as of 1 August. I do agree with the substance of your post…but feel that an important point has been missed which allowed Korea to prosper and move ahead of the Philippines economically. Korea didn’t have allocate a large percentage of their GDP over the years to military expenses. They aren’t stupid on that account……Much easier to let the US shoulder the burden while spending money of everything else needed! Of course, this is a small generalization, but there is a lot of truth to it! The “Miracle on the Han” could not have happened without the US military being there. Now, the Philippines, on the other hand, chose to exercise their sovereign right and ask the Americans to leave. If you ask the man on the street here, they will tell you it was a HUGE mistake perpetrated by about 6 senators. You reap what you sew. As I look around the old Clark Air Base and Subic now, despite all the political hype of “green zones” and “tax-free economic zones” in these locations…they look like crap, businesses which started in the old bases have failed one after the other, and the nearby towns have suffered greatly economically…and are STILL suffering…20 years later. It is very sad to see. Now, the Chinese are trying to take islands in the Spratleys which are legally Philippine…and the Philippines can do NOTHING about it…except court the US military again! LOL

    1. Wow! I used to live near Clark Air Base and life when the Americans were still there was prosperous. I think Angeles City is still doing okay, but I prefer the “then” than the “now”. Sentimental much? Oh well, our business (as well as others) was affected with the pull-out of the bases. Life was really good before Pinatubo erupted and there was hope until the Americans left. So yeah, I hope the Americans will never leave Korea. And I know that many Koreans feel the same way, even when there was the anti-American sentiment 11 years ago.

    2. I would agree that the US contributed to South Korea’s progress as they had to show the North Koreans that democracy works. After World War II, it seems that the US abandoned their allies and helped Germany & Japan more. Then the Korean War followed almost just after. So the Philippines had to fend for itself. Aside from this, the protectionist policies that the Philippine gov’t chose to follow did not do it good as it allowed local companies to just go as they were used to, did not challenge them to compete and produce high quality goods. For example, we still have the jeepneys and not go on to higher value vehicles. Also, we did not try to build a strong middle class with good education and investment policies, so the disparity in income has been getting worse through the years. And a big overhaul of the government should be done. The Philippines should have a Park Chung Hee. And the Koreans have also worked hard, are disciplined and love their country. We can learn from them. We can achieve the same if Filipinos will have more concern for others and their country (rather than themselves and for their family), and will work diligently and honestly.

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