Philippines Country Overview
Southeast Asian country, formed by the Philippine archipelago. The Philippines is made up of 11 large islands and more than 7,000 islets.
The archipelago is home to Asia’s largest Christian country. The island of Luzon concentrates 55% of the national population and, in it, is the capital Manila.
Agriculture represents a fundamental part of the Philippine economy, with an emphasis on the cultivation of sugar cane, coconut, rice, bananas, corn and pineapples. The country has pig, goat and buffalo herds, in addition to an expanding poultry sector. Fishing is important for domestic consumption.
In mining, there is the exploitation of nickel, copper, bromine, gold and silver. It has oil reserves.
The industry, until recently underdeveloped, has been growing at a fast pace, to the point of placing the country among the new “ Asian tigers ”.
Philippine industrialization relies mainly on assembly and processing operations in the manufacture of electronic products and other high-tech components, chemicals, fishing, clothing, food processing, footwear, oil refining, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding and products wooden. Regarding the extraction sector, the production of chromite, mineral coal, copper, nickel and oil stands out.
Despite industrialization, the country has a strong participation in the agricultural sector, which involves almost a third of the population and represents more than 10% of GDP, with production of coconut (the world’s largest exporter), pineapple, sugar cane and rice.
According to PROEXCHANGERATES, the Philippines was dominated by the kingdom of Sumatra between the 5th and 9th centuries, and later by the Madjapahit empire of Java, replaced by the Muslims, who occupied Mindanao in the 15th century. Successive Spanish attempts to conquer the archipelago (since Magellan’s first expedition in 1521) failed, until, between 1565 and 1571, López de Legazpi concluded the occupation, crowned with the founding of Manila. However, Hispanization was less than in America, as the total submission of the archipelago was never completed. Independence movements started in 1872.
In 1898 the Spanish fleet was defeated by the American in Cavite and Manila surrendered. The Treaty of Paris put an end to Spanish domination in the archipelago, but that did not mean the independence of the country, which was subordinate to the United States. The Americans established a provisional protectorate in 1935.
During World War II, the archipelago was invaded by Japan. Between 1944 and 1945, Douglas MacArthur managed to expel the Japanese and fought the socialist and communist guerrillas, who continued to fight in the mountains for almost ten years.
In 1946, the Philippines gained independence and a favorable US government was formed. In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos came to power and established a dictatorial regime that faced the armed opposition of the New Communist People’s Army and the Mora Liberation Front, in addition to the growing discontent of broad social sectors. The assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino in 1983 forced the United States to withdraw its support for Marcos, who left the country in the face of popular pressure.
In the 1986 elections, Corazón Aquino, Benigno’s widow, was elected to the presidency. His government had to face the regressive attempts of the army, the action of the communist guerrillas and the economic bankruptcy. The 1992 presidential elections gave victory to Fidel Ramos, who initiated a policy of reconciliation with the guerrillas. In the same year, the US completed the withdrawal of its troops.
The main conflict in the country is the separatism of Mindanao, which has already left a balance of 100 thousand to 150 thousand dead, mainly of civilians, in four decades of confrontations of the government troops with the guerrilla Front Moro de Liberación Islamic (FMLI), founded in the 1970s, as a dissent from the Moro National Liberation Front (FMLN), founded in the 1960s.
Despite the peace pact between the FMLI and the government, made official in 2014, there are clashes between the army and the guerrilla Fighters for Islamic Freedom of Bangsamoro (BIFF) in the provinces of Maguindanao and North Cotabato.
In addition to fighting government troops, the BIFF guerrilla faces the FMLI, as it has been a dissident of that guerrilla since 2010, as they are opposed to peace negotiations with the government.
Another problem for the government in Mindanao is the presence of the Muslim terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and members of the Indonesian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (founded in Indonesia in the 1980s), which also operates in Singapore , Malaysia , Brunei and Indonesia itself . These Muslim groups are linked to Al Qaeda and want the application of sharia (Islamic law).