Improving conditions for the entire world may seem like a daunting task. It may be more beneficial to look at a single piece of the puzzle and its experience of improving conditions. Narrowing the field of study to a single country allows for a more detailed analysis of the path taken to achieve improved conditions for the single country. Improving the conditions of a country through a process of change is called development. Measuring development in a single country allows us to understand some of the policy, historical trends and natural conditions that are better for development. By looking at the Philippines background, recent political and economic issues, and the economic performance of the past and perspective future, a better understanding of development will be achieved.
The Philippines became known to the western world in the early 1500’s with the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan. In 1565 Spain officially colonized the area under Miguel Lopez. Spain controlled the area for over 300 years before, with the help of America, Spanish control was lost and an American-Philippine joint rule occurred. The colonial system had two major influences on the path of development that the Philippines took.
The manorial system set up by Spanish colonialists brought a strong divide in the wealth of the country that is still seen today and the religious influence of the Roman Catholic Church makes the Philippines the only country in Asia that is predominately Christian. Over ninety percent of the population is Roman Catholic or Protestant (A CTD Berkley).
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These influences took the development path through a constant fight of poverty and western ideas. The isolation provided by a mountainous terrain and an island country was used by the United States to keep influence on the area until occupation during World War II. After the defeat of Japan, the Philippines gained their independence on July 4 th, 1946. The country experienced dictatorial rule until President Marcos was ousted in a snap election held in the beginning of 1987.
Soon after, the Constitution was written and ratified on February 11 th, 1987 (CIA Philippines).
This point marks the beginning of an important institutional strength in the form of democratic rule. The Freedom House measuring political rights and civil liberties gave a rating of free in both categories in 1988 and except a short stint of partially free rating during the early 90’s the Philippines has maintained a free rating. With a population of 84.
5 million people and only 300, 000 square miles of land, the Philippines has a high level of population density at 282 people per square kilometer. The country has no landlocked neighbors, but not far is Taiwan to the north, Malaysia and Indonesia to the south, and continental Southeast Asia to the west (CIA Philippines).
This makes the area very relevant because of its surrounding high development rates. It makes the Heritage Foundation measurement of economic freedom very important to understanding the economic institutions govern the country.
The Philippines received a rating of 2. 85 overall, which makes it mostly economically free. It was most free in the area of trade and least free in the area of regulation. This shows that the Philippines may be on a very outward looking development path with tight regulation to recover and protect from economic crisis. The recent past provides us with some major events that have helped shape the development path the Philippines has taken. In 1997, the Asian Financial Crisis began to slow the economy.
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The major problem became non-performing loans as in many other countries affected by the crisis. This has led to greater regulation in the banking sector and fiscal spending to try and help the economy to recover. The crisis also had political implications because of the lack of performance in the economy. From 1998 till 2001, weak Presidential leadership hurt the recovery path. The lack of leadership gave rise to current domestic security issues that include terrorism and local conflict (World Bank Country Profiles).
The island of Mindanao faces violent uprisings among Moro Islamic Liberation Front, Ahu Say yat Guerilla, and government military personal.
The current position of the government is a “peace and development” policy (Economist Intelligence Unit).
The policy is designed to bring help to the highly impoverished Islamic minority and promote peace at the same time. The future economic outlook is improving slowly. The strengths are the increased exports of electronics, increasing foreign direct investment, and banks beginning to lower interests rates again in response to the monetary authorities lowering key interests rates (World Bank Country Profiles).
These are important because all promote a greater amount of investment that can lead to growth. Exports create larger tax revenues and industry revenues, so firms and the government can invest in the economy.
Foreign direct investment will provide added capital to the country. Similarly, lower interest rates will allow firms to take loans for investment. Two major problems still exist in the recovering economy, first is non-performing loans in the banking sector and the second is the fiscal budget deficit that has arisen. The World Bank has put together a development package for 2003 to 2005 that addresses these concerns and focuses on poverty reduction. The poverty reduction focus revolves around human capital investment, providing basic services and providing access to productive assets (World Bank Country Profiles).
These are effective because they focus on enhancing the capabilities of the poor and not just their economic welfare.
Poverty reduction is an important part of development and by focusing on it; it can reduce suffering and improve quality of life quicker. The structure and economic performance of the Philippines has promoted high economic development. The aggregate growth performance is very positive for the long-term and recent trends. From 1990 to 1997 gross domestic product (GDP) grew at three percent (World Development Report).
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After falling in response to the Asian Financial Crisis, recent trends have seen three and four percent growth in 1999 and 2000.
Further positive signs are the purchasing power parity (PPP) per capita GDP that reached 4000 dollars in 2001 (CIA Philippines).
The economy has shown an ability to recover and this is important for stability in economic and political institutions that have developed. The structure of the economy has also become more developed over the last twenty years. Comparing agricultural, industrial, manufacturing, and service industry, the Philippines has become much more reliant on the service industry with almost fifty three percent coming of GDP coming from the service industry in 2000 (See appendix for other sectors).
With development comes the hope of greater income equality and poverty reduction. The distribution of income is very similar to the United States levels when comparing an overall scale like the GINI index.
As calculated in 1997 the Philippines had an index of forty-six and the U. S. had an index of forty-three. However, an astonishing statistics points out that in 1994 twenty-six percent of people in the Philippines live off one dollar per day under PPP and sixty-two percent under two dollars per day (World Development Report).
This would lead to the statistic that the lowest ten percent of the population earn only two percent of the GDP and the highest ten percent make thirty-nine percent of GDP (CIA Philippines).
Other issues in poverty like population and health issues and education issues show mixed results. Population growth rate is at 1. 99 percent now, but has historically been higher than both the world growth rate and the growth rate of low-income countries. Other health issues are very positive as under-5 mortality rate has declined and is under the low-income countries level and life expectancy is as long as most developed countries (see appendix).
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Educational attainment has reached higher and higher levels through development.
Improving the quality and decreasing the drop out rate are the most important issues for future educational development. The international linkages have proven to be one of the strongest areas for the Philippines. Looking at the degree of openness, the Philippines are recovering from the crisis still by holding some regulation but still have relatively high degree of openness. Before the crisis imports and exports where well greater than the GDP and currently they are about seventy-five percent (CIA Philippines).
The key export, electronics, has again begun to see positive increases in exports. The largest importer of Philippine goods is the United States.
This is very promising because of the large market that the U. S. presents. The main import is intermediate goods, which shows that development is progressing. Current debt is lower than GDP at only 50 billion dollars and current aid is at one billion dollars (CIA Phillipines).
The economic performance in the last twenty years and especially in the early 1990’s has shown that development has been occurring for the Philippines.
It has also been a very rapid development that has reduced poverty. With economic recovery from financial crisis happening rather quickly, it shows that stability in institutions exists and that can only come through development. The future of development for the Philippines would be most effective by focusing on the reduction of poverty and income inequality. Bibliography 2002 World Fact Book: Philippines, updated March 19 th 2003: Central Intelligence Agency, [April 1 st, 2003].
Available from World Wide Web: web Talent Development Program, U. C. Berkley, 1996-2003, [April 1 st, 2003]. Available through World Wide Web. web Philippines Economy, The Economist, August 10 th, 2003: The Economist Print Group, [April 1 st, 2003]. Available from World Wide Web.
web Development Report 2000/01: Attacking Poverty, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 2000: Oxford University Press, [April 1 st, 2003]. Available through Lexus-Nexus. A World Free of Poverty, World Bank Report, 2002: The World Bank Group, [April 1 st, 2003]. Available from World Wide Web: web.
... Government banks (the Central Bank of the Philippines, the Philippine National Bank, and the Development Bank) were established to encourage business, ... labor system and industry is successfully beginning to decrease the poverty level. President Joseph Estrada is the ruler today.He ... gives hope to its people as well as the whole world community.Bibliography:Lee, Charles. The Next Domino? Far Eastern ...