International Studies in the Philippines (An interview with Brian U. Doce)

Chapter 11: “Religious expertise, public theology, and Philippine regime compliance” authored by Brian U. Doce

Although religious groups still wield influential power in the Philippine political setting, studies exploring their role in shaping Philippine behavior in international affairs are scarce. Previous research surveying the state of political science and international relations in the Philippines lends credence to such claims. While some assumptions were offered to provide explanations to this claim, this chapter aims to contribute to the further development of scholarly inquiries concerning the topic. This chapter explores the role of religious actors in Philippine adoption of international norms despite strong opposition from an influential domestic religious actor. Framing the legislation of the Reproductive Health Law and Divorce Bill as acts of compliance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) regimes, this chapter investigates the reason behind the successful institutionalization of the former compared to the latter. Employing the explanatory capability of the epistemic communities approach, this chapter argues that the failure of progressive Christian religious actors to formulate a coherent public theology concerning the morality of reproductive health and marriage dissolution serves as the reason behind the differing outcomes of reproductive health and divorce politics during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III despite persuasion and pressure coming from both international and domestic political groups.

International Studies in the Philippines: Mapping New Frontiers in Theory and Practice” edited by Frances Antoinette Cruz & Nassef Manabilang Adiong

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