Philippines Country Report Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1700 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Asian

Philippines

Country Background: The Philippines is a Southeast Asian counter in the western Pacific Ocean. It is southwest of Vietnam and between Indonesia and Borneo. Rather than an island nation, The Philippines is an archipelago that comprises over 7 thousand islands, grouped into three major political divisions with the capital in Manila. The Philippines is the 12th most populous country in the world at about 92 million people with an additional 11 million who live in other countries but retain Philippine citizenship. The country has extensive rainforests and biomes and is one of the world's most diverse biomes with a predominately tropical maritime climate. It has a national economy with an estimated 2009 GDP of $161 billion, making it the 48th largest in the world. Primary exports include semiconductors and computer parts, garments, copper, petroleum and coconut products as well as fresh fruit. Major trading partners include China, Japan and the United States. The country is newly industrialized and is transitioning between an agricultural-based economy to one based more on services and manufacturing (Philippines, 2010).

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International Relations Brief -- For most of its history, the Philippines has been characterized by a period of colonization by Spain. In the late 1800s though a nationalist movement emerged and in 1898, at the culmination of the Spanish-American War, the Philippines were ceded to the United States for $20 million under the Treaty of Paris. War broke out, however, when the United States refused to recognize a free Philippine Republic. Finally, in 1935, the Philippines received Commonwealth status, but the upcoming tension with Japan delayed additional plans for independence (Gates, 2002). The Japanese invaded the Philippines in 1941 and occupied the country until the end of the war in the Fall of 1945. A number of atrocities occurred during the war years with a total estimated 1 million dead at the end of the war. On July 4, 1946, though, the Philippines finally attained full independence (Tan, 2009).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Philippines Country Report Assignment

Current Relationship with the United States- Post independence relations with the United States have typically been congenial and supportive. In 1965, Ferdinand Marcos was elected president; but at the end of his term used the Cold War, communist insurgency and political division to effectively rule by decree. In August, 1983 Marcos' rival opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated when he returned to Manila for a new election. After the assassination, mountain pressure finally forced Marcos into elections in 1986 at which time Corazon Aquino, Benigno's widow, ran for election. Although Marcos declared victory, most believe the election was rigged. After two high governmental officials barricaded themselves inside a military camp and international opinion renounced Marcos, he and his wife Imelda fed into exile in Hawaii and Mrs. Aquino was elected President (Komisar, 1987).

The Philippines was part of the founding of the United Nations, and remains an active participant in the organization, as well as the Human Rights Council and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The country actively promotes relations and economic/cultural growth in the region which now results in a great deal more cooperation than during the 1960s and 1970s, at which time the country was considered nothing more than a client state of the U.S. (The Philippines and the United Nations, 2010).

Since independence, though, the Philippine/U.S. tie has been quite strong. It supported the United States during the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and is a major non-NATO ally in the war against terror

Despite a long history of goodwill and assistance with bases and logistics in the Asian region, controversies still abound in relation to former U.S. military bases and the Visiting Forces Agreement. This agreement is a bilateral agreement allowing the U.S. government to retain jurisdiction over U.S. military personnel posted to the Philippines. The controversy arises because it is often used to keep U.S. Military personnel under U.S. jurisdiction, disallowing due process under Philippine Courts (Facts about the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement, 2006). The Constitutionality of the agreement has also risen to the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The first, a 2000 case Bayan v. Zamora, was dismissed; while a second challenge, Nicolas y Sombilion vs. Alberto Somulo, is still under appeal, but grants the Philippine government more legal powers than previously (Phlipippine Prosecutors File Rape Charges, 2005). Essentially, this is the public persona of the law, but the intent is to allow the U.S. To have unrestricted access to the country.

Possibly to continue to project an air of friendship, possibly to assure China and India that the U.S. has a strong partner in the region, annual bilateral military exercises are held and focus on terrorist controlled or plagued areas, mostly in the southern portion of the Philippines. These exercises are not limited to combat military training, but also civil military and humanitarian projects. Most analysts see these exercises as an important tool in U.S.-Philippine relations (Background Note: The Philippines, 2010).

Additionally, in the fiscal year 2009, the U.S. Government and several private sector donors provided almost $150 million in additional grant funds designed specially to fund programs that promote internal economic growth, lessen conflict, and promote peace and security. These programs focus on grass roots style diplomacy; governance at the local level, promotion of law and human rights, address trade and investment barriers, and increase health care, education, agrictulrual productivituy, micro-enterprise development and the management of key natural resources (Ibid.).

Cooperation also spills over into environmental issues, preservation of the oceans, and control of pollution. The Philippines also sends as many students as possible to U.S. institutions for advanced education, hoping that will also buttress the sophistication of its managerial and technical sectors.

Transnational Issues- Now that the Cold War is over and communism no longer the perceived threat to the Asian world, relations between the Philippines and China have greatly improved, allowing important trade. Most focus of recent Philippine foreign policy has understandably been in two areas: improving economic relations (imports and exports) with other Asian nations and increasing the viability and amount of their own technological exports (Backgound Note: The Philippines, 2010).

Similarly, the population that still remembers the Japanese atrocities and the use of Philippine women as "comfort women" for Japanese soldiers is waning. Japan is a huge importer of fish and fresh fruit and, as such, is one of the largest contributors of official development assistance to the country (Japan's ODA Disbursements to the Philippines, 2009).

Relations with other countries are also generally positive. Both Western and Eastern Europe see the Philippines as a country with similar values and a desire to modernize and move into developed status. In fact, Filipino workers are common in the EU, as well as the Middle East. The thrust of relations with these countries are naturally economic in flavor, with the Philippines seeking an increased trade base. This has also led the Philippines to participate in political organizations in Latin and South America, as well as most recently campaigning for observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference (DFA: Technicalities Blocking RP Bid, 2009; Philippines - Relations with Asian Neighbors, 2009).

Conclusions- Globalism is now an economic reality. Countries like the Philippines that are developing, but are committed to strong democratic governments, a high level of human rights, and a partership with the developed world should be encouraged in every way possible. While the Philippenes is not as populace as India or China, their strong ties and history with the United States provides a greater degree of ease into several economic sectors. In addition, with the long history of military bases and activities, the Philippines remains idea as a partner for the United States in the Asian/Pacific sphere of influence. Its long history of regionalism, membership in SEATO, and consistent support of U.S. goals also makes them a valued trade partner that should be encouraged to grow responsibly.

It is clear that the Philippines is a country that continues to actively covet a role in international affairs. It is at a cusp of change and economic evolution. The new President, "Noynoy" Aqiono is committed to aggressively confronting poverty and corruption, and acting as a bation for human rights development in the region. There are so many areas in which the United States can help guide the Philippines into a more rapid course of development, all the while helping the U.S. with certain types of exports, employment opporunities, and even investment opportunities for American companies. The U.S. has a very real opportunity to use the U.S./Philippine relationship as a model for what is possible in the global environment when a developed nation and a developing nation commit to working together in a positive manner. Continuing ties can, in fact, only benefit both nations (Burns, 2010).

REFERENCES

Phlipippine Prosecutors File Rape Charges. (2005, December 27). Retrieved August 2010, from Asian Political news: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0WDQ/is_2005_Dec_27/ai_n15971603/

Facts about the U.S.-Philippines Visiting Forces Agreement. (2006, January 20). Retrieved August 2010, from Embassy of the United States in Manila: http://web.archive.org/web/20080122140502/http://usembassy.state.gov/manila/wwwhr711.html

DFA: Technicalities Blocking RP Bid. (2009, May 26). Retrieved August 2010, from GMA… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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