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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 WWII, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Philippines attained their independence. The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a widespread popular rebellion 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 widespread demonstrations led to his ouster. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term in May 2004. The Philippine Government faces threats from armed communist insurgencies and from Muslim separatists in the south.


Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam

Geographic coordinates:

13 00 N, 122 00 E


total: 300,000 sq km
land: 298,170 sq km
water: 1,830 sq km

Land boundaries:

0 km


36,289 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: irregular polygon extending up to 100 nm from coastline as defined by 1898 treaty; since late 1970s has also claimed polygonal-shaped area in South China Sea up to 285 nm in breadth
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation


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


mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Philippine Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Apo 2,954 m

Natural resources:

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

Land use:

arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 16.67%
other: 64.33% (2005)

Irrigated land:

15,500 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis

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

Geography - note:

the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait


89,468,677 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 35% (male 15,961,365/female 15,340,065)
15-64 years: 61% (male 27,173,919/female 27,362,736)
65 years and over: 4.1% (male 1,576,089/female 2,054,503) (2006 est.)

Median age:

total: 22.5 years
male: 22 years
female: 23 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.8% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:

24.89 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:

5.41 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:

-1.48 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 22.81 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 25.59 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 19.89 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 70.21 years
male: 67.32 years
female: 73.24 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.11 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

less than 0.1% (2003 est.)

people living with HIV/AIDS:

9,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:

less than 500 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:

degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever and malaria are high risks in some locations
animal contact disease: rabies (2005)


noun: Filipino(s)
adjective: Philippine

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)


Roman Catholic 80.9%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, Aglipayan 2%, other Christian 4.5%, Muslim 5%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.6%, none 0.1% (2000 census)


two official languages - Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English; eight major dialects - Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 92.6%
male: 92.5%
female: 92.7% (2002)

Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of the Philippines
conventional short form: Philippines
local long form: Republika ng Pilipinas
local short form: Pilipinas

Government type:




Administrative divisions:

79 provinces and 117 chartered cities
provinces: Abra, Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Aklan, Albay, Antique, Apayao, Aurora, Basilan, Bataan, Batanes, Batangas, Biliran, Benguet, Bohol, Bukidnon, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Camiguin, Capiz, Catanduanes, Cavite, Cebu, Compostela, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Eastern Samar, Guimaras, Ifugao, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Isabela, Kalinga, Laguna, Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, La Union, Leyte, Maguindanao, Marinduque, Masbate, Mindoro Occidental, Mindoro Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental, Mountain Province, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, North Cotabato, Northern Samar, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Quirino, Rizal, Romblon, Samar, Sarangani, Siquijor, Sorsogon, South Cotabato, Southern Leyte, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Tarlac, Tawi-Tawi, Zambales, Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay
chartered cities: Alaminos, Angeles, Antipolo, Bacolod, Bago, Baguio, Bais, Balanga, Batangas, Bayawan, Bislig, Butuan, Cabanatuan, Cadiz, Cagayan de Oro, Calamba, Calapan, Calbayog, Candon, Canlaon, Cauayan, Cavite, Cebu, Cotabato, Dagupan, Danao, Dapitan, Davao, Digos, Dipolog, Dumaguete, Escalante, Gapan, General Santos, Gingoog, Himamaylan, Iligan, Iloilo, Isabela, Iriga, Kabankalan, Kalookan, Kidapawan, Koronadal, La Carlota, Laoag, Lapu-Lapu, Las Pinas, Legazpi, Ligao, Lipa, Lucena, Maasin, Makati, Malabon, Malaybalay, Malolos, Mandaluyong, Mandaue, Manila, Marawi, Markina, Masbate, Muntinlupa, Munoz, Naga, Olongapo, Ormoc, Oroquieta, Ozamis, Pagadian, Palayan, Panabo, Paranaque, Pasay, Pasig, Passi, Puerto Princesa, Quezon, Roxas, Sagay, Samal, San Carlos (in Negros Occidental), San Carlos (in Pangasinan), San Fernando (in La Union), San Fernando (in Pampanga), San Jose, San Jose del Monte, San Pablo, Santa Rosa, Santiago, Silay, Sipalay, Sorsogon, Surigao, Tabaco, Tacloban, Tacurong, Tagaytay, Tagbilaran, Taguig, Tagum, Talisay (in Cebu), Talisay (in Negros Oriental), Tanauan, Tangub, Tanjay, Tarlac, Toledo, Tuguegarao, Trece Martires, Urdaneta, Valencia, Valenzuela, Victorias, Vigan, Zamboanga


12 June 1898 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 12 June (1898); note - 12 June 1898 was date of declaration of independence from Spain; 4 July 1946 was date of independence from US


2 February 1987, effective 11 February 1987

Legal system:

based on Spanish and Anglo-American law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations


18 years of age; universal

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 Mga Kinatawan (212 members representing districts plus 24 sectoral party-list members; members elected by popular vote to serve three-year terms; note - the Constitution prohibits the House of Representatives from having more than 250 members)
elections: Senate - last held 10 May 2004 (next to be held in May 2007); House of Representatives - elections last held 10 May 2004 (next to be held in May 2007)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - Lakas 30%, LP 13%, KNP 13%, independents 17%, others 27%; seats by party - Lakas 7, LP 3, KNP (coalition) 3, independents 4, others 6; note - there are 23 rather than 24 sitting senators because one senator was elected Vice President; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Lakas 93, NPC 53, LP 34, LDP 11, others 20; party-listers 24 (2004)

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)

Economy - overview:

The Philippines was less severely affected by the Asian financial crisis of 1998 than its neighbours, aided in part by its high level of annual remittances from overseas workers, and no sustained runup in asset prices or foreign borrowing prior to the crisis. From a 0.6% decline in 1998, GDP expanded by 2.4% in 1999, and 4.4% in 2000, but slowed to 3.2% in 2001 in the context of a global economic slowdown, an export slump, and political and security concerns. GDP growth accelerated to about 5% between 2002 and 2005 reflecting the continued resilience of the service sector, and improved exports and agricultural output. Nonetheless, it will take a higher, sustained growth path to make appreciable progress in the alleviation of poverty given the Philippines' high annual population growth rate and unequal distribution of income. The Philippines also faces higher oil prices, higher interest rates on its dollar borrowings, and higher inflation. Fiscal constraints limit Manila's ability to finance infrastructure and social spending. The Philippines' consistently large budget deficit has produced a high debt level, and this situation has forced Manila to spend a large portion of the national government budget on debt service. Large unprofitable public enterprises, especially in the energy sector, contribute to the government's debt because of slow progress on privatization. Credit rating agencies have at times expressed concern about the Philippines' ability to service the debt, though central bank reserves appear adequate and large remittance inflows appear stable. The implementation of the expanded Value Added Tax (VAT) in November 2005 boosted confidence in the government's fiscal capacity and helped to strengthen the peso, which gained 5.7 percent year-on-year, making it East Asia's best performing currency in 2005. Investors and credit rating institutions will continue to look for effective implementation of the new VAT and continued improvement in the government's overall fiscal capacity in the coming year.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$451.3 billion (2005 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):

$90.3 billion (2005 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:

4.6% (2005 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$5,100 (2005 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:

agriculture: 14.8%
industry: 31.7%
services: 53.5% (2005 est.)

Labor force:

36.73 million (2005 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 36%
industry: 16%
services: 48% (2004 est.)

Unemployment rate:

12.2% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line:

40% (2001 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:

lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 31.9% (2003)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

46.6 (2003)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

7.9% (2005 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):

16.3% of GDP (2005 est.)


revenues: $12.38 billion
expenditures: $15.77 billion; including capital expenditures of $2.4 million (2005 est.)

Public debt:

77.4% of GDP (2005 est.)

Agriculture - products:

sugarcane, coconuts, rice, corn, bananas, cassavas, pineapples, mangoes; pork, eggs, beef; fish


electronics assembly, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing

Industrial production growth rate:

0.5% (2005 est.)

Electricity - production:

47.82 billion kWh (2003)

Electricity - consumption:

44.48 billion kWh (2003)

Oil - production:

14,360 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - consumption:

335,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)

Oil - imports:

312,000 bbl/day (2003)

Oil - proved reserves:

152 million bbl (1 January 2004)

Natural gas - production:

2.3 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:

2.3 billion cu m (2003 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:

106.8 billion cu m (1 January 2004)

Current account balance:

$3.872 billion (2005 est.)


$41.25 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports - commodities:

electronic equipment, machinery and transport equipment, garments, optical instruments, coconut products, fruits and nuts, copper products, chemicals

Exports - partners:

Japan 20.1%, US 18.2%, Netherlands 9%, Hong Kong 7.9%, China 6.7%, Singapore 6.6%, Taiwan 5.6%, Malaysia 5.2% (2004)


$42.66 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports - commodities:

raw materials, machinery and equipment, fuels, vehicles and vehicle parts, plastic, chemicals, grains

Imports - partners:

US 18.8%, Japan 17.4%, Singapore 7.8%, Taiwan 7.3%, South Korea 6.2%, China 6%, Malaysia 4.5% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$18.09 billion (November 2005)

Debt - external:

$67.62 billion (2005 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:

ODA commitments, $2 billion (2004)

Currency (code):

Philippine peso (PHP)

Fiscal year:

calendar year

Telephones - main lines in use:

3,437,500 (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

32,935,900 (2004)

Telephone system:

general assessment: good international radiotelephone and submarine cable services; domestic and inter-island service adequate
domestic: domestic satellite system with 11 earth stations
international: country code - 63; 9 international gateways; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean); submarine cables to Hong Kong, Guam, Singapore, Taiwan, and Japan

Radio broadcast stations:

AM 369, FM 583, shortwave 5
note: each shortwave station operates on multiple frequencies in the language of the target audience (2004)

Television broadcast stations:

225; note - 1373 CATV networks (2004)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

96,500 (2005)

Internet users:

7.82 million (2005)


256 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:

total: 83
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 36
under 914 m: 10 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:

total: 173
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 68
under 914 m: 100 (2005)


2 (2005)


gas 565 km; oil 135 km; refined products 100 km (2004)


total: 897 km
narrow gauge: 897 km 1.067-m gauge (492 km are in operation) (2004)


total: 200,037 km
paved: 19,804 km
unpaved: 180,233 km (2003)


3,219 km (limited to vessels with draft less than 1.5 m) (2005)

Merchant marine:

total: 413 ships (1000 GRT or over) 4,740,008 GRT/6,595,554 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 83, cargo 116, chemical tanker 13, container 7, liquefied gas 6, livestock carrier 17, passenger 10, passenger/cargo 72, petroleum tanker 47, refrigerated cargo 15, roll on/roll off 14, vehicle carrier 12
foreign-owned: 67 (Canada 1, Germany 2, Greece 7, Hong Kong 2, India 1, Japan 25, Malaysia 1, Netherlands 20, Taiwan 2, UAE 2, US 4)
registered in other countries: 45 (Australia 1, The Bahamas 1, Cambodia 1, Cayman Islands 1, Comoros 1, Cyprus 2, Hong Kong 15, Indonesia 1, Panama 17, Singapore 3, unknown 2) (2005)

Ports and terminals:

Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Iligan, Iloilo, Manila, Surigao

Military branches:

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP): Army, Navy (including Marine Corps), Air Force

Disputes - international:

Philippines claims sovereignty over certain of the Spratly Islands, known locally as the Kalayaan (Freedom) Islands, also claimed by China, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Vietnam; the 2002 "Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," has eased tensions in the Spratly Islands but falls short of a legally binding "code of conduct" desired by several of the disputants; in March 2005, the national oil companies of China, the Philippines, and Vietnam signed a joint accord to conduct marine seismic activities in the Spratly Islands; Philippines retains a dormant claim to Malaysia's Sabah State in northern Borneo based on the Sultanate of Sulu's granting the Philippines Government power of attorney to pursue a sovereignty claim on his behalf

Refugees and internally displaced persons:

IDPs: 150,000 (fighting between government troops and MILF and Abu Sayyaf groups) (2005)

Illicit drugs:

domestic methamphetamine production has been a growing problem in recent years; longstanding marijuana producer