Oxford Business Group - Philippines 2012 Report


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Oxford Business Group - Philippines 2012 Report

  1. 1. 9Country ProfileA complex history dates back more than 60,000 yearsPopulation of 95.8m with a median age of 22.2Vast archipelago spread across major sea trade routesEnergy exploration is set for the near future
  2. 2. COUNTRY PROFILE 11 The country is divided into three distinct administrative regionsPrioritising educationA complex, rich history gives way to a diverse and hospitable cultureLying south of Taiwan and east of Vietnam, the Repub- ure expected to jump to 101.2m by 2014. The countrylic of the Philippines is an archipelago of over 7000 has a median age of 22.2, and the UN has predictedislands. The country’s geography and complex history that the working-age population will start becominghas given rise to a diversity of cultures and languages particularly prominent in 2015.across the country’s 1000 inhabited islands. The country’s robust annual population growth of While political instability has sometimes undermined 2% is a contentious issue and a comprehensive repro-the nation’s progress, the Philippines’ young and edu- ductive law aimed to address the growth rate has beencated population coupled with its leadership’s new- debated throughout 2011 and into 2012. Additional-found focus on eliminating corruption and red tape has ly, around 11% of the country’s citizens live and workled to renewed attention from international investors overseas, and the remittances they send back to theirin recent years. families in the Philippines account for a significant partGEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE: An archipelago made up of of the economy.7107 islands, only about 1000 of which are inhabited, HISTORY: The Philippines’ long and complex human his-the Philippines is located in the western Pacific Ocean tory dates back at least 67,000 years, to the first knownon several vital sea routes linking it directly to the two human remains. Until the 10th century, several tribeslargest economies in the region: China and Japan. It is and speakers of Malayo-Polynesian languages (a branchbordered on the west by the South China Sea/West of Austronesian) occupied the islands and remained rel-Philippine Sea, on the east by the Philippines Sea and atively isolated for millennia. In the 10th century CE,to the south by the Celebes Sea. the Tondo dynasty formed one of the first unified polit- The country is separated into three distinct admin- ical states emerging from the islands, which lasted untilistrative and economic regions, represented by the Spanish colonisation in the 16th century.three stars on the Philippine flag. The northern region Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in 1521 started the longof Luzon, home to the capital city of Manila, is the eco- history of Spanish influence on the country. Thoughnomic hub of the country and its industrial base. Visayas Magellan was later killed in battle by forces loyal to islandcomprises the Philippines’ central islands, and Min- tribal leader Lapu-Lapu, survivors returned to Spaindanao makes up the southern region. and inspired additional expeditions. Like all tropical countries, the Philippines has hot, It was Ruy López de Villalobos that, in 1544, claimedhumid weather and is dominated by a long rainy sea- the islands of Samar and Leyte for King Philip II of Spain,son that lasts from June until November. In those six naming them Las Islas Filipinas (the Philippine Islands)months, the south-west monsoon brings plenty of rain in his honour. Finally, when Miguel López de Legazpiand at least 15 typhoons a year. arrived in 1565, the Spanish established a permanent The Philippines is located along the Pacific Ring of settlement in the archipelago. As their influence expand-Fire and is therefore subject to numerous active volca- ed, so did Las Islas Filipinas, encompassing more islands.noes and earthquakes. The most recent major erup- The Spanish colony largely thrived for over threetion was at Mount Pinatubo in 1991, killing about 800 centuries, unifying nearly the entire archipelago andpeople and affecting another 2.1m, and costing more bringing with it a Catholic culture that has remainedthan $100m in damages and relief. The country also deeply engrained to this day. Repeated attempts toexperiences an average of 20 earthquakes a day. overthrow Spanish rule were suppressed for years, andPOPULATION: The Philippines is 12th-most-populous even the Philippine revolution in 1896 was largelycountry in the world at 95.8m in 2011, with that fig- unsuccessful until it received support from the US. THE REPORT The Philippines 2012
  3. 3. 12 COUNTRY PROFILE tion, primarily in and around the southern Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. LANGUAGE: Although over 180 native languages and dialects are spoken throughout the Philippines, only two languages are official: Filipino, which is largely based on Tagalog, and English. Tagalog belongs to the Malayo- Polynesian group of languages, but Spanish heavily influences its modern-day variant. One of the Philippines’ greatest assets is its people’s command of the English language. Combined with their seemingly innate hospitability and adaptability, Filipino workers are largely sought after by global companies. A combination of Tagalog and English, aptly named Taglish, is very popular amongst young Filipinos and can be heard on radio and television programmes. EDUCATION: The Philippines boasts a reputation of hav- ing a better educated population than many of its regional counterparts. By constitutional decree, edu- cation receives the largest portion of budgetary spend- ing, placing it as a high priority.The Philippines’ two largest islands, Luzon and Mindanao, make up two-thirds of its entire land area Largely modelled after the American system, stu- The First Philippine Republic was formally established dents attend six years of primary school followed by in 1899, but its time was short-lived. After the brief Span- four years of secondary education. Reform of the edu- ish-American War, the US purchased Guam, Puerto cation system has been debated for years, and there Rico, Cuba and the Philippines from Spain for $20m have been recent efforts to lengthen primary and sec- through the Treaty of Paris. The ensuing Philippine- ondary education from 10 to 12 years, bringing the American War ended in 1901, but the Philippines did country in line with most international norms. not receive commonwealth status until 1935. The Japan- Tertiary education normally consists of a typical four- ese occupied the Philippines throughout most of Sec- year programme, also similar to the American system. ond World War until 1946 when the Philippines became Over 2.7m Filipinos attended the country’s 2000-plus an independent nation through the Treaty of Manila. higher education institutions in 2010. Throughout the following decades, the Philippines NATURAL RESOURCES: Natural resources are plenti- became more important in the regional economy, result- ful in the Philippines. Lying beneath its natural splen- ing in a period of prosperity that largely continued dour are significant deposits of nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, under President Ferdinand Marcos. But allegations of salt and copper. The rich minerals found in the coun- corruption, his declaration of martial law in 1972, and try are mostly a result of its volcanic history. The vol- the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno canoes also contribute significant geothermal resources, Aquino led to his ouster through the peaceful People placing the Philippines as the second-largest global Power Movement of 1986. The movement brought geothermal energy producer behind the US. Corazon Aquino, widow of Benigno Aquino, to power. While many neighbours have seen significant devel- Subsequent decades saw periods of economic suc- opment of oil and gas deposits, the Philippines has cess, though political stability has oftentimes been a remained largely dependent on energy imports. How- concern. The elections of May 2010 saw the late pres- ever, the exploration and development of at least 15 ident’s son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, come to pow- new energy blocks is set for 2012. With an estimated er. His efforts to stamp out corruption and attract more 2.7trn cu feet of reserves, the Malampaya gas-to-pow- foreign investment have been lauded by the business er project is the most prolific energy asset developed community, both domestic and international. thus far. Promising areas in the Benham Rise off the RELIGION & CULTURE: The influence of American cul- north-east coast and numerous areas in the South Chi- ture in the Philippines will seem prominent to newly arriv- na Sea have received significant attention, though the ing visitors, from the presence of numerous fast food latter areas are contentious due to numerous territo- restaurants and vast malls to Filipinos’ affinity for rock, rial disputes with the Philippines’ Asian neighbours. basketball and boxing. But the vestiges of Spanish rule Of the country’s total land mass of 298,170 sq km, still remain. Food, language and religion are all heavily only 19% is arable, 16% of which is used agriculturally. influenced by four centuries of Spanish occupation. The islands’ most important crops include rice, corn, Indeed, Spain’s heavy Roman Catholic influence sugarcane, coconut, abaca and tobacco. makes the Philippines one of two Asian countries with Rice and corn are the Philippines’ most important a majority Christian population (the other being East sources of food. The country must still import addition- Timor). Over 90% of Filipinos identify themselves as al rice from neighbouring countries in order to ensure Christian: 81% say they are Roman Catholic, 5% Protes- food security for its growing population. The current tant, while the remainder follow other Christian denom- administration has stated as one of its aims that it wish- inations. Muslims comprise about 5% of the popula- es the Philippines to be self-sufficient in rice by 2013. www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/country/Philippines