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Developmental Status of the Philippines Essay Sample

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The Philippine islands are an archipelago of over 7,000 islands covering 300,000 sq km and lie about 500 miles off the southeast coast of Asia. The Republic of the Philippines is a sovereign state, bordering with Taiwan to the north across the Luzon Strait and Vietnam to the West across the South China Sea. The island of Borneo lies on the southwest and bounded on the east by the Philippine Sea as shown in Figure 1.

The Philippines was originally inhabited by the Negritos and the Malays, who later, in the 9th and 16th centuries, were joined by the Chinese and the Spaniards respectively. In 1521, Ferdinand Magellan claimed the Philippines belonged for Spain and it was controlled by the government of North America that was Spanish at the time. Unsuccessful revolts throughout the Spanish colonial era were organized and finally succeeded in 1896 with the help of the United States fleet which was controlled by the Admiral George Dewey at the Battle of Manila Bay. The Philippines declared its independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.

The defeated Spanish ceded the country to the United States in 1898 in the Treaty of Paris. In 1899, revolutionary leader General Emilio Aguinaldo led rebellion against American rule that lasted three years and is known for killing tens of thousands of Filipinos and Americans. On July 4, 1902, both sides agreed to a truce. The US government emphasized that it did not seek permanent colonial control over the Philippines, and set about instituting governmental and educational reform.

In 1935, the Philippines were set up as a self-governing, democratic, commonwealth with Manuel Quezon as the first President. Japan invaded the Philippines in 1942, killing over a million Filipinos and driving out the US under General Douglas MacArthur, who later, in 1945, retook the islands. On July 4, 1946, the Philippines became a Republic.

According to the demographic data of the Philippines, shown in Figure 2, the population of the country was estimated to be 103,775,002 in 2011 with a population growth rate of 1.873%. Individuals under the age bracket of between15 to 64 years formed the majority of the population at 61.1% (male 31,103,967/female 31,097,203), while those between 0 to 14 years made up 34.6% (male 17,999,279/female 17,285,040). Individuals above 65 formed 4.3% of the total population (male 1,876,805/female 2,471,644).

Philippines birth rate was estimated at 24.98 births per 1,000, while the death rate was at 4.98 deaths per 1,000 of the population. Infant mortality rate was at 18.75 deaths per 1,000 live births whereby male infant deaths constituted most deaths at 21.21 deaths per 1,000 live births while female infant deathswasestimated at 16.18 deaths per 1,000 live births. Maternal mortality rate was at 94 deaths per 100,000 live births.

The ratio of male to female of the total population is: 1 male(s) to 1 female whereby at birth the ratio is 1.05 male(s)/female, under 15 years the ratio is 1.04 male(s)/female between ages 15 to 64 years the ratio is 1 male(s)/female while those above 65 years is 0.76 male(s)/female. Life expectancy of the population at birth was estimated at 71.94 years, where male population may live up to 68.99 years while their counterparts might live to 75.03 years. The total fertility rate was approximated at 3.15 children born per woman.

Physical growth of urban cities was not only influenced by birth and death rates, but by immigration where the Net migration rate stood at -1.27 migrant(s) per 1,000 in a population resulting in the growth of urban population by 49% in 2010 at an annual urbanization rate of 2.3% contributing to an urban population of 11.449 million in the Capital, Manila; 1.48 million in Davao; 845,000 in Cebu City and 827,000 in Zamboanga.

The dominant religion in the Philippines is Catholic 82.9% where Roman Catholic was at 80.9% while Aglipayan made up 2%, Muslim religion was at 5%, Evangelical 2.8%, Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%, other Christian affiliations at 4.5%, while other religions made up 1.8%. According to the year 2000 Census data on ethnic groups, Tagalog made up 28.1% of the ethnic groups, Cebuano made up 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other groups made up 25.3%.

The languages spoken included: Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); and eight major dialects: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan. In Academia, education expenditures from the Department of Education were estimated as 2.8% of the Gross Domestic Product. Literacy level was thereby based on the individuals able to read and write at the age of over 15. From the year 2000 Census data, literacy levels were fairly high: 92.6% of the total population was literate where 92.5% were male and 92.7% were female. From the 2008 research survey, it was estimated that school life expectancy from primary to tertiary education was at 12 years in both male and female students.

According to the 2009 demographic survey, health expenditures accounted for 3.8% of the Gross Domestic Product. It was estimated that Physicians density was at 1.153 physicians per 1,000 in the population, while the hospital bed density was 0.5 beds per 1,000 patients. It was also found out that there was a high risk of contracting infectious diseases such as bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever, dengue fever, malaria and Japanese encephalitis and leptospirosis. Adult prevalence rate with HIV and AIDs was less than 0.1% while people living with HIV/AIDS were approximately 8,700 which accounted for fewer than 200 deaths.

Economically, Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product (purchasing power parity) as demonstrated in Figure 3 grew 7.6% to $391.1 billion in 2011, a rise from $376.4 billion in 2010 and $349.7 billion in 2009. GDP (official exchange rate) was $221.2 billion in 2011 while the economy got real growth rate of 3.9% the same year a reduction from 7.6% in 2010 and 1.1% in 2009. The GDP - per capita (PPP) increased from $ 3,800 in 2009 and $4, 000 in 2010 to $4,100 in 2011. This was attributed to the growth in the developmental sector in 2011 as the GDP in agriculture was at 12.8%, in industry it was at 31.4% while services and allied sector it was at 55.8%. This was spurred by consumer demand and a rebound in exports and investments.

According to 2010 economic analysis of the country, the lowest household income share was at 2.6% while the highest was at 33.6%. 26.5% of the population thereby lived below the poverty line. The unemployment rate, subsequently, decreased since in 2011, 40 million citizens were in the labor force, 33% of who were in agricultural sector, 15% in industrial sector and 52% in the services sector reducing unemployment rate from 7.3% to 7.3%.

The same year, the Country’s Gross Investment was at 19.1% of the GDP, benefiting from the revenues collected at an estimation of $31.4 billion, where taxes and other revenues made up 14.2% of the GDP. The expenditures of the Government were at $35.96 billion to bring about a budget deficit of 2.1% of GDP to reduce public debt by 2.4% and increase inflation rate on prices of commodities by 0.6%.

In 2011, agricultural and industrial production growth rate went up by 1.1% although the export income from semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits to Japan 18.5%, US 14.8%, China 12.7%, Singapore 8.9%, Hong Kong 7.7%, South Korea 4.6%, increased from $47.23 billion in 2011 to $50.75 billion in 2010. In the same year, Imports of electronic products, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic from Japan 10.8%, US 10.8%, China 10.1%, Singapore 8.1%, South Korea 7.3%, Thailand 5.8%, Saudi Arabia 5.4%, Malaysia 4.4% increased from $62.68 billion in 2011 to $61.71 billion in 2010. External debt thereby reduced from $72.34 billion in December 2010 to $72.22 billion in December 2011

According to the International Monetary Fund's World Economic Outlook Report, April 2012, Philippines can be categorized as a semi-developed country because: one-third of its population lives in poverty and its economy is failing. There are 30.6 million Filipinos who are languishing in poverty, which accounts for 28% of the workforce who struggle with employment and finances.

The Philippine economy has quickly recovered from the recent recession that struck the Globe with GDP sharply rebounding to 7.9% in first semester of 2010 from 0.9% over the same period in 2009. Growth was buoyed by strong recovery in exports, robust domestic consumption and growth in the services sector. Substantial macro-financial components ensured flexibility of the Philippine economy. Below 4% inflation was easy to monitor and control. Banking system is keeping stable. The confidence of the increasing number of consumers and investors has been restored partly due to a new administration with strong popular support and a strong commitment to economic reform and good governance. 

Regardless of the current performance, the Philippine economy has a tendency to lag behind and there is much to be done to sustain and expand impact of efforts. There should be increased transparency, greater trading competition, infrastructure development, improved fiscal policy and management, sustainable agricultural productivity, micro-finance and a well-structured government and education systems to ensure that the country develops from a struggling economy to a robust and flourishing economy.

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