The article talks about how middle-class citizens came about in the course of Philippine history. It details how the middle classes gradually emerges from the American colonialization to post martial law era. Emerging population of middle class was attributable to the industrialization being promoted after the American colonialization. The Philippines was so dependent to the United States and so upon carrying out gradual independence from American country, industrialization was being promoted. Industries have emerges both in public and private sectors, paving the way to the increase of middle class men in the country. However, it must be recognized that the number of “new” and “marginal” middle-class elements increased considerably in the government sector, due to the dissemination of mass education, including higher education, throughout the country and the implantation of American democratic political institutions that had continued from the early stage of American rule, combined with the Filipinization of the government organizations carried out in preparation for independence. Moreover, various middle class occupations were proliferating in Manila, the country’s political and economic center.
Because industrialization is a continues effort to developed and nurture industries, a period of stagnation was reach, maybe due financial crisis being experience all over the world. During this period, the growth in number of middle class has been stable and its ratio to the total population has been relatively low. However, although they are distinct from the lower classes, they are not necessarily homogeneous. In fact, the middle classes are composed of diverse elements. Most importantly, the income differentials within them are so wide that it is difficult to characterize the middle classes in terms of income. Middles classes before Martial law days were basically intellectuals that are mostly activists and were involved in communism and other political activity and also patron client networks which do not have any political motive whatsoever.
But during Marcos time, were abuses in power is very evident, the middle classes undoubtedly played their most significant political role in Philippine history. Although we cannot ignore the middle-class people including the cronies and technocrats who sided with Marcos on the one hand, 4 and those who avoided direct political involvement on the other hand, a large segment of the middle classes actually participated in the organizations forming the protest movement and some of the middle-class people assumed the movement’s leadership together with anti-Marcos capitalists. After the “revolution,” as democracy was restored and the political situation normalized, the ordinary citizens, including those belonging to the middle classes, returned to normal life, distancing themselves from political activism.
Currently in the Philippines, according to the most recent research done by Philippine Statistics Authority, only 3 out of 20 households belong to the middle class population, with two thirds of them residing in urban areas. The middle class, as can be define now, plays within the gap between the poor and the rich, and basing on these numbers that line seems to be a lot thinner than what many of us perceived. Nowadays, the middle class were plainly classified as middle class through their income difference from lower class and the rich ones.
Their influence on the society as a whole may not be significantly felt since most of these people prefer to maintain their low key profile on the society and focus more on rebuilding themselves. Primarily, the middle class is dependent on salary as their main source of income. This means that the bulk of the middle class population are working class; this is true not just to the Philippines, but even on a global scope. It cannot be denied that the biggest threat to the middle class is economic stability.
While everyone in the population gets affected eventually with its rise and fall, the middle class on the other hand are the first in line to experience its strain.