State vs. Government

We already know that “government” is one among the elements of the State (and hence, not really the same with it). However, for purposes of clarity, let us spell out the difference between the two:

1. Government changes, the State lingers through.

In the Philippines, the government changes every six years, or every time people overthrow it during EDSA’s (we have two (in 1986 and 2000), plus another two (in 2001 and 2006) if you simply count the incidence of people going to the Edsa Shrine shouting chants God-only- knows-what). However, amidst these changes, the Philippines, as a state, remains as a State – that is, as an entity that is both sovereign and Independent.

It is also correct to point out that we could change the form of government (i.e. from Presidential to Parliamentary), even the structure of government (i.e. from Unitary to Federal) or even the system of governance (from Democratic to Communistic), but these do not change the existence of a State.

It is important therefore to take note, that States are abolished not by abolishing the government but by abolishing all its features (its people abandoning their own State by becoming a citizen of another States, by abolishing its territory in an invasion.

2. There cannot be a State without a government; but there can be a government without a State.

In the 70’s there was no Palestinian State yet (but the Palestinian people, through the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), seek this, and their struggle against Israel has caused a lot of troubles in the region then). However, even with the absence of a Palestinian State, the Palestinian liberation Organization (PLO) was afforded by the United Nations a seat in the General assembly, which for many observers, is tantamount to recognizing a government but not a State.

3. The state is an ideal person (i.e. self-sufficient) while the government is just one of its mere instruments.