The Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines (CDP), “Ang Partido ng Tunay Na Demokrasya”, was founded September 12, 2012 as a full-pledge National Political Party upon COMELEC’s accreditation. Its roots however, go back a long way, from the time CHRISTIAN DEMORACY (CD) entered into the lexicon of political thought.
Emerging from the economic-political turmoil of the last century precipitated by the industrial revolution in Europe, it grew relentlessly as an evolving alternative to the two main paradigms at that time: liberal capitalism espoused by the developing economy of America; and socialism embraced by the Soviet Union.
The pedigree CENTRIST DEMOCRACY was originally called CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY, having had its genesis from the Catholic ideals of the 17th & 18th century. Briefly, the French revolution of 1789 initiated a rethinking by the Catholic Church of its institutional values and teachings as it precipitated a massive shift from feudal institutions to the concept of a State. Pope Leo XIII issued in May 15, 1891 the classic encyclical Rerum Novarum where he addressed the misery of the working class followed by his Graves de Communi Re which proclaimed Christian Democracy and its partisans as Christian Democrats, in opposition to what the socialists called Social Democracy. Here too, the dividing line between two opposing concepts Social Democracy and Christian Democracy was delineated.
A series of encyclicals followed with Pope Pius XI’s Quadragesimo Anno in 1931; Pope John XXIII’s Mater ET Magistra (1961); and Pope John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus (1991). For a hundred years, these encyclicals promoted concepts of social justice, preferential option for the poor and the value of Human Dignity, which is the Core of Christian Democracy. In the years after the Bolshevik revolution, there also appeared a world view parallel to that of the Christian Democracy which put into suspicion modernity, distrust for democracy and overall rejection of the legacy of the French Revolution (Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite). But the universal devastation of the 2nd World War brought about the advent of a new generation of Christian Democrat leaders who advocated that the movement would be openly Christian, but neither clerical nor strictly Catholic.(D.M. Coronacion).
To veer away from the exclusive Catholic identity of the Christian Democrats and encompass the adherents of various faiths, the word Christian was dropped. In time, the appellation Christian metamorphosed into Centrist- thus Centrist Democracy or simply CD. In the political & economic spectrum, the Centrist designation describes a body of beliefs roughly positioned between the socialist/communist planned economy to the left and the unbridled liberal capitalist concepts to the right.