Philippines Population, Politics and Economy
Population of the Philippines
The Philippines’ population has grown rapidly in recent years. In 2010 the total population was approx. 92,338,000 residents, it already exceeded 100 million in 2015 and is currently (2018) at 106.6 million residents with an average population density of approx. 294 residents / km². The high population growth of 1.6% in the last few decades was mainly caused by the high fertility rate of 3 children per woman. As a result, the population of the Philippines is very young and on average only 23.4 years old. Some islands in the Philippines are among the most densely populated areas in the world and the population continues to grow by around 2 million people per year. According to directoryaah, around 5.7 Filipinos left the country in 2017 alone and moved to the United States, the United Arab Emirates, emigrated to Saudi Arabia, Canada or Japan. With only 0.2% of the population, the foreigner quota in the Philippines is one of the lowest in the world.
95% of the population is made up of ethnic groups who speak so-called Austronesian languages, who immigrated in successive waves from Taiwan and mixed with later immigrants from southern China. They can be divided into more than 90% Christians who were shaped by Spanish colonial rule, 5% Muslims who were not subjected until the US colonial era, and tribes that were barely influenced by Islam and the Spanish. These tribes live in inaccessible highlands, but also in remote lowland areas and on remote islands.
In addition, 1.5% of the Filipino people are Chinese, who have played an economic role in the Philippines since the 9th century.
Filipino, based on the Tagalog language, is the official language of the Philippines. In addition, a further eleven native languages are spoken by at least one million people in the Philippines. Spanish and English are widely used as foreign languages. Chinese and Arabic are also still widely spoken in some areas.
Over 80% of Filipinos are Catholics, approx. 5% Muslims, approx. 3% Lutherans, approx. 2.3% Iglesia ni Cristo and approx. 2% belong to the independent Philippine Church. Seventh-day Adventists, United Church of Christ, or Jehovah’s Witnesses make up less than 1% of the population. Unlike Malaysia and western Indonesia, the Philippines were hardly influenced by Buddhism or Hinduism.
Politics and economics in the Philippines
After the constitution of 1987, the Philippines are again a presidential republic. The President is the head of state and government of the Republic of the Philippines and has extensive executive powers. In addition, the president embodies the executive branch in the country, is the commander in chief of the army and all armed forces in the Philippines and convenes the cabinet. The President is authorized, among other things, after a judgment of the last legal instance, to approve time limits, to reduce punishment, to issue pardons and to reduce fees and compensation.
The Congress of the Philippines is the national legislature of the island state. It is a bicameral parliament, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate corresponds to the British House of Lords and consists of 24 Senators, half of whom are elected by the whole every three years. The House of Representatives consists of up to 250 members who, among other things, represent the (ethnic) minorities of the population who would not be represented by a purely geographical division of the country. There are also members of so-called party lists who represent various labor, legal and other organizations.
Voting is compulsory in the Philippines.
Although the Philippines are counted among the emerging economic countries, from a European perspective they belong to the poorer countries. There is a strong economic contrast between a small, rich upper class and the broad majority of the population. In the metropolitan region of Manila, for example, there is on the one hand the clean and safe skyscraper city of Makati City with numerous international companies, on the other hand there are also many extensive slums without adequate water and electricity supplies. Furthermore, there is a clear north-south divide in income. While on the main island of Luzon in the north of the Philippine archipelago there is an export-oriented industry mainly in the textile and electronics industry, agriculture (rice cultivation) is largely practiced in southern Mindanao.
The main export goods from the Philippines are electronics, machines and means of transport. The Philippines’ economic output has grown steadily by 6 to 7 percent annually in recent years, making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The main trading partners are the People’s Republic of China, the United States and Japan.
According to ebizdir, the Philippines has a very strong service sector due to the widespread knowledge of English. Call centers in particular that work for American companies are numerous in the Philippines. Other service branches are accounting and software development, as Filipino university graduates are very well trained in these areas, but still have quite low salaries. The tourism sector is also growing rapidly, with tourist visits almost doubling since 2010.
In 2017, around 25% of all workers worked in agriculture, 18% in industry and 56% in the service sector.
The unemployment rate was 5.7% in the same year, but many jobs are informal and underemployment is widespread.
The Filipinos who work abroad as so-called overseas Filipino workers represent an important economic factor. The remittances of these guest workers amounted to 10% of the Philippine economic output in 2016.
Transportation network in the Philippines
The entire road network in the Philippines comprises around 216,500 km of roads, of which around 62,000 km are paved in varying quality. On the larger islands, road traffic is concentrated in the metropolitan areas, while the smaller islands are circled by coastal roads. Motorway-like expressways also exist on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao. The Strong Republic Nautical Highway System, a network of national and provincial roads, bridges and ferries, which starts in the city of Laoag on the island of Luzon, leads across the island of Visayas and ends in Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao, also runs across the Philippines. The railroad system is underdeveloped and consists essentially of a single line of the Philippine National Railways into the Bicol region. Further rail projects exist on the islands of Panay and Mindanao. In Manila there is a modern light rail system, the elevated railway Mass Rapid Transit Manila and the Light Rapid Transit as a direct north-south connection. On the large islands, coaches run regularly between the major cities, most of which are air-conditioned. Almost across the country, jeep-like minibuses dominate short-haul transport in cities, followed by the auto rickshaw and the bicycle taxi. The plane is the fastest mode of transportation in the Philippines. The two main international airports in the Philippines are Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and Mactan-Cebu Airport. There is a brisk ferry traffic between the individual Philippine islands, with shipping being the most important means of transport in the Philippines, both in domestic and international transport. The port of Manilia is the most important sea port in the Philippines and an important (container) transshipment point in Southeast Asia.