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Philippines – country report

Data collected by Rosalia
Data updated:APRIL 6, 2010


  • Background

The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected president and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after a 10-year transition. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence. The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a “people power” movement in Manila (“EDSA 1”) forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA’s stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another “people power” movement (“EDSA 2”) demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2004. The Philippine Government faces threats from three terrorist groups on the US Government’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list, but in 2006 and 2007 scored some major successes in capturing or killing key wanted terrorists. Decades of Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines have led to a peace accord with one group and on-again/off-again peace talks with another.


  • Location
Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Oceania, group of islands including the eastern half of the island of New Guinea between the Coral Sea and the South Pacific Ocean, east of Indonesia
Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam
  • Area-total:/land:/water:
total: 300,000 sq km
country comparison to the world: 72
land: 298,170 sq km
water: 1,830 sq km
  • Climate

tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)

  • Terrain

mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands

  • Natural resources

timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, copper

  • Land use-arable land:/permanent crops:/other:
arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 16.67%
other: 64.33% (2005)
  • Total renewable water resources

479 cu km (1999)

  • Fresh waterwithdrawal(domestic/industrial/agricultural)-total:/per capita:
total: 28.52 cu km/yr (17%/9%/74%)
per capita: 343 cu m/yr (2000)
  • Environment-current issues

uncontrolled deforestation especially in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in major urban centers; coral reef degradation; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps that are important fish breeding grounds

  • Environment-international agreements
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants


  • Population
97,976,603 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
  • Birth rate
26.01 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
  • Urbanization
urban population: 65% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
  • Sex ratio-at birth:/under 15 years:/15-64 years:/65 years and over:/total population:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
  • Ethnic groups
Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3% (2000 census)
  • Religions
Roman Catholic 80.9%, Muslim 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, Aglipayan 2%, other Christian 4.5%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, none 0.1%
  • Education expenditure
2.5% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 158


  • Capital
name: Manila
geographic coordinates: 14 35 N, 121 00 E
time difference: UTC+8 (13 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
  • Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

  • Executive branch

chief of state: President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since 20 January 2001); Vice President (Manuel “Noli” DE CASTRO (since 10 May 2004); note – president is both chief of state and head of government

head of government: President Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO (since 20 January 2001)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president with consent of Commission of Appointments
elections: president and vice president elected on separate tickets by popular vote for a single six-year term; election last held on 10 May 2004 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO elected president; percent of vote – Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO 40%, Fernando POE 37%, three others 23%
  • Legislative branch
bicameral Congress or Kongreso consists of the Senate or Senado (24 seats – one-half elected every three years; members elected at large by popular vote to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Kapulungan Ng Nga Kinatawan (as a result of May 2007 election it has 269 seats including 218 members representing districts and 51 sectoral party-list members representing special minorities elected on the basis of 1 seat for every 2% of the total vote but limited to 3 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; note – the Constitution prohibits the House of Representatives from having more than 250 members; the number of members allowed was increased, however, through legislation when in April 2009 the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that additional party members could sit in the House of Representatives if they received the required number of votes)
elections: Senate – last held on 14 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2010); House of Representatives – elections last held on 14 May 2007 (next to be held in May 2010)
election results: Senate – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Lakas 4, LP 4, Nacionalista 3, NPC 2, PDP-Laban 2, PMP 2, Kampi 1, LDP 1, PRP 1, independents 3; note – there are 23 rather than 24 sitting senators because one senator was elected mayor of Manila; House of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Lakas 92, Kampi 54, NPC 25, LP 21, Party-list 22, independents 3, others 26; there are 238 rather than 240 sitting representatives because two died in office
  • Judicial branch

Supreme Court (15 justices are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Bar Council and serve until 70 years of age); Court of Appeals; Sandigan-bayan (special court for hearing corruption cases of government officials)

  • Political parties and leaders
Lakas-Kampi-CMD (Christian Muslim Democrats) [Gilberto TEODORO]; Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (Struggle of Filipino Democrats) or LDP [Edgardo ANGARA]; Lakas ng EDSA-Christian Muslim Democrats or Lakas-CMD [Prospero NOGRALES]; Liberal Party or LP [Manuel ROXAS]; Nacionalista Party or NP [Manuel VILLAR]; Nationalist People’s Coalition or NPC [Frisco SAN JUAN]; PDP-Laban [Aquilino PIMENTEL]; People’s Reform Party [Miriam Defensor SANTIAGO]; Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (Force of the Philippine Masses) or PMP [Joseph ESTRADA]; United Opposition or UNO [Jejomar BINAY]


  • Economy-overview

Philippine GDP grew barely 1% in 2009 but the economy weathered the 2008-09 global recession better than its regional peers due to minimal exposure to securities issued by troubled global financial institutions; lower dependence on exports; relatively resilient domestic consumption, supported by large remittances from four-to five-million overseas Filipino workers; and a growing business process outsourcing industry. Economic growth in the Philippines has averaged 4.5% per year since 2001, when President MACAPAGAL-ARROYO took office. Despite this growth, poverty worsened during the term of MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, because of a high population growth rate and inequitable distribution of income. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO averted a fiscal crisis by pushing for new revenue measures and, until recently, tightening expenditures to address the government’s yawning budget deficit and to reduce high debt and debt service ratios. But the government abandoned its 2008 balanced-budget goal in order to help the economy weather the global financial and economic storm. The economy faces several long term challenges. The Philippines must maintain the reform momentum in order to catch up with regional competitors, boost trade, alleviate poverty, and improve employment opportunities and infrastructure. Inadequate tax revenues could limit the government’s ability to address these issues.

  • GDP(purchasing power parity)
$324.9 billion (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 36
$322 billion (2008 est.)
$310.2 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
  • GDP-per capita (PPP)
$3,300 (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 163
$3,400 (2008 est.)
$3,300 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars
  • GDP-composition by sector-agriculture:/industry:/service:
Agriculture: 14,9%
Industry: 30.9%
Services: 54.2%
  • Labor force
37.73 million (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 17
  • Labor force-by occupation
agriculture: 35%
industry: 15%
services: 50% (2008 est.)
  • Unemployment rate
8% (2009 est.)
  • Electricity-consumption
48.96 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 46
  • Oil- consumption
313,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 39
  • Natural gas- consumption
2.94 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75


  • Internet users
5.618 million (2008)
country comparison to the world:42


04/24/2010 – 00:00


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