Country Spotlight on Mac-Nels Philipines

Country Spotlight on Mac-Nels Philipines

The Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (Filipino: Republika ng Pilipinas), is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam. The Sulu Sea to the southwest lies between the country and the island of Borneo, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia. It is bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and its tropical climate make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons but have also endowed the country with natural resources and made it one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world. An archipelago comprising 7,107 islands, the Philippines is categorized broadly into three main geographical divisions: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila.

With an estimated population of about 94 million people, the Philippines is the world’s 12th most populous country. An additional 11 million Filipinos live overseas. Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times, Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who brought with them influences from Malay, Hindu, and Islamic societies. Trade introduced Chinese cultural influences which remain to this day.

The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system of government. It is governed as a unitary state with the exception of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which is largely free from the national government. The President functions as both head of state and head of government and is the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The president is elected by popular vote for a single six-year term, during which he or she appoints and presides over the cabinet.

The bicameral Congress is composed of the Senate, serving as the upper house, with members elected to a six-year term, and the House of Representatives, serving as the lower house, with members elected to a three-year term. The senators are elected at large while the representatives are elected from both legislative districts and through sectoral representation.

The judicial power is vested in the Supreme Court, composed of a Chief Justice as its presiding officer and fourteen associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the President from nominations submitted by the Judicial and Bar Council.

There have been attempts to change the government to a federal, unicameral, or parliamentary government since the Ramos administration

The Philippines is divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. As of March 2010, these were divided into 17 regions, 80 provinces, 138 cities, 1,496 municipalities, and 42,025 barangays. In addition, Section 2 of Republic Act No. 5446 asserts that the definition of the territorial sea around the Philippine archipelago does not affect the claim over Sabah.

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands with a total land area, including inland bodies of water, of approximately 300,000 square kilometers (120,000 sq mi). Its 36,289 kilometers (22,549 mi) of coastline makes it the country with the 5th longest coastline in the world. It is bordered by the Philippine Sea to the east, the South China Sea to the west, and the Celebes Sea to the south. The island of Borneo is located a few hundred kilometers southwest and Taiwan is located directly to the north. The Moluccas and Sulawesi are located to the south-southwest and Palau is located to the east of the islands.

Most of the mountainous islands are covered in tropical rainforest and volcanic in origin.

The national economy of the Philippines is the 46th largest in the world, with an estimated 2010 gross domestic product (nominal) of $189 billion. Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.] Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand.] Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso

A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country’s total labor force of around 38.1 million, the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 13.8% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 13.7% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP. Meanwhile the 46.5% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56.2% of GDP.

The unemployment rate as of July 2009 stands at around 7.6% and due to the global economic slowdown inflation as of September 2009 reads 0.70%. Gross international reserves as of July 2011 are $75.174 billion. In 2004, public debt as a percentage of GDP was estimated to be 74.2%; in 2008, 56.9%. Gross external debt has risen to $66.27 billion. The country is a net importer.

Other incongruities and challenges exist. The economy is heavily reliant on remittances which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon¡ªMetro Manila in particular¡ªgaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions,] although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country. Despite constraints, service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country. Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the “Next Eleven” economies. But China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.

The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong City, the Colombo Plan, and the G-77 among other groups and institutions.

Population in Philippines increased from 1990 to 2008 with 28 million with 45 % growth. The first official census in the Philippines was carried out in 1877 and recorded a population of 5,567,685.] As of 2011, the Philippines has become the world’s 12th most populous nation, with a population of over 94 million. It is estimated that half of the population resides on the island of Luzon. The population growth rate between 1995 to 2000 of 3.21% decreased to an estimated 1.95% for the 2005 to 2010 period, but remains a contentious issue. The population’s median age is 22.7 years with 60.9% aged from 15 to 64 years old. Life expectancy at birth is 71.38 years, 74.45 years for females and 68.45 years for males.

There are about 11 million Filipinos outside the Philippines. Since the liberalization of United States immigration laws in 1965, the number of people in the United States having Filipino ancestry has grown substantially. In 2007 there were an estimated 3.1 million. According to the United States Census Bureau, immigrants from the Philippines made up the second largest group after Mexico that sought family reunification.] Some two million Filipinos work in the Middle East, with nearly a million in Saudi Arabia alone.

According to the 2000 census 28.1% of Filipinos are Tagalog, 13.1% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 7.6% Bisaya/Binisaya, 7.5% Hiligaynon, 6% Bikol, 3.4% Waray, and 25.3% are classified as other. These general headings can be broken down further to yield more distinct non-tribal groups like the Moro, the Kapampangan, the Pangasinense, the Ibanag, and the Ivatan.] There are also indigenous peoples like the Igorot, the Lumad, the Mangyan, the Bajau, and the tribes of Palawan. Negritos, such as the Aeta and the Ati, are considered among the earliest inhabitants of the islands.

Filipinos generally belong to several Asian ethnic groups classified linguistically as part of the Austronesian or Malayo-Polynesian speaking people. It’s believed that thousands of years ago Taiwanese aborigines migrated to the Philippines from Taiwan, bringing with them knowledge of agriculture and ocean-sailing, and displacing the earlier Negrito groups of the islands.

Eventually Chinese, Spanish, and American arrivals intermarried with the various indigenous ethnic groups that had evolved. Their descendants are known as mestizos. Chinese Filipinos number about two million.] Other migrant ethnic groups who have settled in the country from elsewhere include Arabs, Britons, other Europeans, Indonesians, Japanese, Koreans, and South Asians.

Metro Manila is the most populous of the twelve defined metropolitan areas in the Philippines and the 11th most populous in the world. As of the 2007 census, it had a population of 11,553,427, comprising 13% of the national population. Including suburbs in the adjacent provinces (Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal) of Greater Manila, the population is around 21 million.

Metro Manila’s gross regional product is estimated as of July 2009 to be ?468.4 billion (at constant 1985 prices) and accounts for 33% of the nation’s GDP. In 2008, it ranked as the 40th wealthiest urban agglomeration in the world and the 2nd in Southeast Asia, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Davao City and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao and Cebu City in the Visayas are other important urban centers.

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