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      ASIA
      You are here: Asia > Phillipines

      Philippines

      General background information

      General background information including politics, international relations and economic overview.

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      Mount Fuji
      University of the Philippines - UP Diliman

      Republika ng Pilipinas
      Republic of the Philippines

      Flag of the Philippines

      Coat of arms of the Philippines

      Flag

      Coat of arms

      Location of the Philippines

      Capital  

      Manila
      14°35′N 121°0′E

      Largest city  

      Quezon City

      Official language  

      Filipino and English

      Government  

      Unitary presidential republic

       - President  

      Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

      Area

       Total  

      300,000 km² (72nd)
      115,831 sq mi 

       Water (%)  

      0.6

      Population

       July 2005 estimate  

      85,236,913 (13th)

       2000 census  

      76,504,077

       Density  

      276/km² (42nd)
      715/sq mi

      GDP (PPP)  

      2005 estimate

       Total  

      $453 billion (25th)

       Per capita  

      $4,923 (102nd)

      Human Development Index  (2003)  

      0.758 (medium) (84th)

      Currency  

      Philippine peso (piso) (PHP) 1 peso = 100 centavos

      Hours ahead (+) or behind (-) SA:  

      +6

      Internet TLD  

      .ph

      Calling code  

      +963

      ISO code  

      PH

      Background

      The Philippines (Filipino: Pilipinas), officially the Republic of the Philippines (Republika ng Pilipinas), is an island nation located in the Malay Archipelago in Southeast Asia, with Manila as its capital. It comprises 7,107 islands called the Philippine Archipelago, with a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers or 116,000 square miles, making it the 72nd largest country by area.

      Modern day Filipinos are mostly of Austronesian stock, although there are a number of Filipinos with Spanish, Chinese, American, and Arab ancestry.

      The country was named "Las Islas Filipinas" by Ruy López de Villalobos after King Philip II of Spain. Spanish colonial rule began in 1565 and lasted for about three centuries until the Philippine Revolution of 1896. The United States gained possession of the Philippines after the Spanish-American War in 1898 and ruled the country for about five decades. Philippine culture has many affinities with the West. Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion, and Filipino is an official language, along with English.

      Politics

      The government of the Philippines is organized as a presidential-unitary republic, where the President functions as head of state, the head of government, and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote to a 6-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet of secretaries.

      The bicameral Congress comprises the Senate and the House of Representatives; members of the former are elected at large and those of the latter by geographical district. The 24 senators serve 6-year terms, with half retiring every three years, while the House of Representatives comprises 250 members serving 3-year terms.

      The judicial branch of government is headed by the Supreme Court, with a Chief Justice as its head and 14 associate justices, all appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council. Other courts include the Court of Appeals, the Regional Trial Courts and the Metropolitan Trial Courts.

      As of June 2006, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is hoping to get agreement to amend the constitution to a unicameral parliament under a federal setting similar to the German constitution. The country would be split into "states" with each one having a local legislature responsible for certain functions. Included in the amendments are plans to remove/ease the current ban on foreign ownership of property, land and commercial organizations in the Philippines. Plans have been announced to decentralize government by moving departments from Manila to the provinces, such as the Department of Tourism to Cebu City, the Department of Foreign Affairs to Angeles City, and the Department of Agrarian Reform to Iloilo City.

      International relations

      The Philippines is a founding and active member of the United Nations since its inception on October 24, 1945 and is a founding member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

      The Philippines is also a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS), an active player in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union and a member of the Group of 24. The country is a major non-NATO ally of the U.S., but also a member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

      The Philippines is currently in a dispute with Taiwan, China, Vietnam and Malaysia over the oil- and natural gas-rich Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal, and with Malaysia over Sabah. The Sultan of Sulu, who received Sabah as a gift in 1703 having helped the Sultan of Brunei defeat a rebellion, has given the Philippine Government power to reclaim his lost territory. To this day, the Sultan of Sulu's family receives "rental" payments for Sabah from the Malaysian government.
      See also: Foreign relations of the Philippines,

      Economic overview

      The Philippines is a developing country with an agricultural base, light industry, and service-sector economy. The Philippines has one of the most vibrant business process outsourcing (BPO) industries in Asia. Numerous call centers and BPO firms have infused momentum into the Philippine market, generating thousands of jobs, including Fortune 500 companies.

      The resiliency of the Philippine economy due to low foreign inflows and an agriculture-based economy allowed it to snap back from international crises as evidenced by 3% growth in 1999 and accelerated to 4% in 2000. By 2004, the Philippine economy catapulted to over 6% growth after the East Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pledged to turn the country into a First World state by 2020.

      Government initiatives are designed to match the pace of development in the newly industrialized countries (NICs) of East Asia. Economic strategies are implemented to manage a public debt comprising 93% of the GDP. This priority manifests as a budget allocation set higher than the budget for education and defense combined. The Philippine middle class is essential to economic prosperity. Although proportionately smaller, the Philippine middle class is scheduled to grow.

      Strategies for streamlining the economy include improvements of infrastructure, more efficient tax systems to bolster government revenues, furthering deregulation and privatization of the economy, and increasing trade integration within the region and across the world.

      On November 1, 2005, a newly expanded value added tax (E-VAT) law was instituted as a measure to bridle the rising foreign debt and to improve government services such as education, healthcare, social security, and transportation. As of 2006, The Philippines' economic prosperity also depends in large part on how well its two biggest trading partners' economies perform: the U.S. and Japan.

      The Philippines is a member of the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other international economic associations, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Colombo Plan, and the G-77.

      In 2005, the Philippine peso was said to be Asia's best-performing currency. The Philippines' 1st quarter GDP growth was within the government's programmed growth of 5.5% buoyed by the rebound of the agriculture sector and a strong service sector performance however, the economy is still vulnerable to high world oil prices and political instability. There are few promising developments though: one is the strong fiscal performance that the government has put in place; another is the mining boom, which will help generate additional revenues and additional jobs but may permanently damage the environment. The country’s export rose by more than 15% in January-April this year, while investments increased by $2 billion over that of the same four-month period last year.

      Despite the growing economy, the Philippines will have to address several chronic problems in the future. Income inequality remains persistent; about 30 million people lived on less than $2 per day in 2005. China and India have emerged as major economic competitors, siphoning away investors who would otherwise have invested in the Philippines, particularly telecom companies. Regional development is also somewhat uneven, with the main island Luzon and Metro Manila gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions.

      This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Metasyntactic variable".

       

       

       

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