Image by Bernard Spragg, Flickr under CC0 1.0

Image by Bernard Spragg, Flickr under CC0 1.0

Philippines Project collaborative research grant recipients 2018

10th April 2018

The Philippines Project is excited to announce the results of the 2018 Collaborative Research Grants scheme. Applicants submitted a number of high-quality applications, resulting in a competitive selection process.

A new round of research grants will be on offer next year.

2018 Recipients

Congratulations to the following projects awarded grants in the 2018 round:

Truth, Lies and politics: The political economy of the Philippines media

Research team: Dr Ross Tapsell (ANU) and Prof Clarissa David (University of the Philippines)

Abstract: This project will conduct an exploratory study that examines the political economy of the Philippines media. It is envisioned to be the first phase of a longer-term collaborative project which helps us understands the Philippines’ shifting information society, and its impact on news, information and politics. While internationally the Philippines has generated significant attention around President Duterte’s ‘battle’ with online news site Rappler, it is equally important to take a systematic look at the broader media landscape in the country, including the increasing power of social media companies.

This collaboration conducts preliminary research to map the current political economy of the media in the Philippines, and the relationship between the State and media companies. The approach involves data collection and working with media NGOs, but also ethnographic research including personal interviews with media owners, business executives, chief editors, journalists and government officials.

Complex Emergency: Engagements between Civil Society Groups and the Philippine Military during the 2017 Marawi Crisis

Research team: Prof Rosalie Arcala-Hall (University of the Philippines Visayas), Dr Gail Ilagan (Ateneo de Davao University), and Dr Imelda Deinla (ANU)

Abstract: Security is a vital state function for which the military is the main actor. Civil-military relations is assumed hierarchic, with civilian authorities directing this coercive instrument towards legitimate policy ends. Democratic civil-military relations broadens the scope of civilian actors to include non-state actors, and includes the normative push towards transparent and accountable ways in which the military is mobilised and deployed beyond state interests. Civil society groups play an important role as a check to excesses in the use of force and ensure protection of human rights.

Using the Marawi siege as an illustrative case of complex emergency, the proposed research project examines how engagement between civil society actors and security providers changed from previous (2001-2013) emergencies in the Bangsamoro area. It probes the extent to which this changed engagement has been influenced by crisis management committees and similar response coordination platforms. The project identifies the gains and gaps towards humanitarian provisioning that are effective and accountable.

Recent Trends in the Gender Gap in the Labor Market in the Philippines

Research team: Dr Alfredo Paloyo (University of Wollongong), Prof Marites Tiongco (De La Salle University) and Dr Mitzie Conchada (De La Salle University)

Abstract: The gender gap in the labor market is of primary concern as it translates to eventual differences in human and social capital. The Philippines is a country where there are large disparities in both pay and participation in the labor market for men and women. The project aims to document the recent trends in these differences and to estimate the source of these differences. We use a Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition for linear and nonlinear models based on the Labor Force Surveys of the Philippine Statistical Authority to estimate the sources of differentials. Understanding the source of these differentials, and whether they are changing over time, will allow policymakers to craft effective solutions in achieving gender parity in measures of labor-market performance, particularly in employment probabilities, the hours of work, and the wage rate.

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – Do the 4Ps mitigate the impact of natural disasters?

Research team: Dr Ben Edwards (ANU), Prof Judith Borja (University of San Carlos), Dr Mathew Gray (ANU), Rena Dona (United Nations Population Fund – Philippines)

Abstract: The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (commonly referred to as the 4Ps) has been a key component of the Philippines’ government focus on addressing poverty of families with children and explicitly focusses on a number of the SDGs. Using new data from a United Nations funded nationally representative longitudinal cohort study of children and their families, we test whether the 4Ps program mitigates against the effects of natural disasters in the Philippines on a number of educational, economic, physical and psychological wellbeing and family violence indicators. The analysis will also inform policy on the kind of families for which 4Ps tend to be most effective in mitigating disaster-related effects (i.e. households with parents with low education, etc.)

Free but Fake?: Facebook, Digital Inequality and Polarisation in Contemporary Philippines

Research Team: Dr Aim Singpeng (University of Sydney) and Dr Aries Arugay (University of the Philippines Diliman)

Abstract: In a digitally divided society like the Philippines, where only 50% of its population is online, Facebook has sought to narrow the access gap by offering the free version of its platform. While Facebook Free Basics has enabled millions of low-income Filipinos to go online for the first time without data charges, concerns have been raised over its actual contribution to reducing digital inequality beyond access. This project compares political news consumption of Filipinos on free versus paid Facebook apps to measure potential variations in their online experiences. We are especially interested in examining whether Facebook 1) helps spread misinformation and 2) deepens political polarisation in society. Based on a planned survey experiment and network analysis of Facebook users in Manila, Makati, Roxas, Cebu, Davao and Legazpi, we hypothesise that Facebook free app makes false information easier to share due to its limited technical functionalities, thereby helping to spread fake news. We also assert that younger Filipinos from the lower economic status (SES) are more likely to be victims of fake news. Moreover, political engagement on Facebook is likely to remain polarised as people opt to only exchange opinion with those politically like-minded, thereby creating politically divided digital enclaves and reducing neutral space for constructive discussion. This research will provide a methodological innovation to understanding Facebook users’ experience online that distinguishes between those on free versus paid platforms that can be replicated for other types of news such as health and education. Empirically this work will be the first systematic study on the impact of Facebook on political polarisation in the Philippines under Duterte. The implications of its results will also suggest whether Facebook hinders inclusive digital growth by disadvantaging those in the lower SES who consume Facebook news from limited and biased sources.

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Image by Bernard Spragg, Flickr under CC0 1.0

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