DEMOCRACY IN THE PHILIPPINES: SETTLING THE BASELINE FOR LIBRARIES
Ma. Esmeralda A. Abarabar
University of the Philippines Diliman Email address: [email protected] Abstract
Democracy is one of the binding elements in the collective consciousness of Filipinos. As a societal group, we pride ourselves as a democratic nation, giving high regard to civil liberties and people involvement in governance. The structure of our government and its institutional mechanisms are patterned to support it. Socializing agents have made so much of it such that it is considered as inherently good. In this grand scheme of affairs, the author finds it noteworthy to examine how libraries are supporting or making these democratic ideals work.
As a social agent, libraries have the responsibility to inculcate or impress upon its community the set of values, communal virtues, or societal ideals to which it adheres. The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) states in its Code of Ethics for Librarians and Other Information Workers that libraries have responsibility to individuals and societies.
This paper aims to establish an index by which libraries may be measured as to how they are supporting or can contribute to make democracy work in the Philippines. This would be done by comparing and contrasting various democratic indices and create a new set of aggregate based on the data of the Philippines for the past three to five assessment periods. From this new index forged after the Philippine experience, this paper would propose a set of criteria that enumerates ways in which libraries may be guided or may assess their collection, practices, projects, and advocacies with respect to making or keeping democracy alive.
Keywords: democracy; libraries; social agents