Watch part two

Forty years ago the Philippines was touted as the "New Japan". Since then, it has not just failed to live up to that promise, it has fallen behind its South-East Asia neighbours, with tens of millions living in poverty and a political system widely seen as corrupt and inefficient. 

That is despite more than 20 years of democratic rule since the fall of Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

Many observers blame the Philippines' problems on the country's political dynasties - a small, self-serving elite of 250 families who have effectively run the country, almost without interruption, since independence in 1946.

It is a largely feudal system with each of the country's 80 provinces kept under the thumb of at least one dynasty. Critics argue that such dominance has resulted in a political system dominated by patronage, corruption, violence and fraud.

This week, 101 East asks if the dominance of clan politics is holding the Philippines back.

Joining 101 East host Teymoor Nabili to discuss the issue is Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri, Ben Lim from the Center for People Empowerment in Governance, and Alex Brillantes from the National College of Public Administration and Governance at the University of the Philippines.

This episode of 101 East aired on Thursday, May 22, 2008.