Philippines: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, size, population, and government of the country the Philippines.



Location--"Pearl of the Eastern Sea," a chain of 7,100 islands 500 mi. off the coast of Southeast Asia; directly east of Vietnam, south of Taiwan.

How Created--The Philippines as a nation is the creation of Spanish colonial conquest. It is named after King Philip II of Spain. In 1898 Spain passed the title to the U.S., which granted formal independence in 1946.

Size--115,830 sq. mi. (300,000 sq. km.).

Population--43 million: Cebuano, 24.1%; Tagalog, 21%; Ilocano, 11.7%; Hiligaynon (Illongo), 10.4%; Bicolano, 7.8%; Pampanga, 3.2%; other, 21.8%. 83.8% Roman Catholic, 5.2% Aglipayan, 4.9% Muslim, 2.9% Protestant, 3.2% other.

Who Rules--Before September, 1972, the Republic of the Philippines was governed according to a constitution modeled after the American one. On September 22, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, dissolved the Congress, and imprisoned the opposition (Liberal party) leadership. Soon after, he staged public meetings as part of a plebiscite to adopt a new constitution under which he would retain the powers of President and Premier indefinitely. Marcos prefers to call his Government "authoritarian" rather than "a dictatorship."

Who REALLY Rules--Marcos, his wealthy cronies, the military, and the Philippine Constabulary exercise day-to-day power, but they could not do it without the support of the U.S. The U.S. Government props up the Philippine economy with economic aid, and it maintains the Marcos regime by training and supplying the military and police.

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