Direct Democracy

The Philippine constitution provides for Direct Democracy mechanisms to complement the representative form of government. These mechanisms are designed to become corrective measures for the excesses or the lack of the electoral process.

Moreover, the direct democratic mechanisms provided by law are aimed to advance democratization and citizen’s participation in governance.

Below are the following direct democratic mechanisms available in  the Philippines:

Referendum. It is consultative in nature, it gives people the power to directly enact or reject laws both at the local and national levels.

Plebiscite. The people initiates to make a decision whether to approve or reject the call for a constitutional convention to propose changes to the Constitution, approve or reject proposed changes in the Constitution and, at both the local and national levels, express their will with respect to certain issues.

Recall. It is a process where an elected leader can be removed in office when the people are not satisfied with his/her performance.

People’s Initiative. The people may directly  propose amendments to the Constitution by a petition of at least 12% of the total number of registered voters, in which 3% of registered voters in each legislative district is represented.

Barangay Assembly.  It is also referred to as the People’s assembly. It is a meeting of all over-15-year-old residents of the Barangay. It is a plenary body that has the power to hear and pass upon the Sangguniang Barangay’s (SB) ( Barangay Legislative Assembly) performance. it can recommend measures for legislation by SB. The Barangay Assembly is one manifestation of people’s power and a direct and participatory democratic exercise.

Local Sector Representation. The Philippine Constitution and the Local Government Code

mandated the local sectoral representation in the legislative bodies of local governments. It allows basic sectors to participate in legislative proceedings. However, to date, no enabling law has been passed to exercise the constitutional provision.

People participation is also provided for by the Local Government Code through representation in consultative bodies such as the local health boards, local school boards, local peace and order councils, and local devel


Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) (2012). Citizen-Voters Education Module. Quezon City, Philippines

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