Country of the World Philippines

About the country Philippines, its location, size, population, leaders and rulers.




Lay of the Land: The Philippines is a nation of 11 major islands and more than 7,000 smaller ones stretching north-south for 1,200 mi., about 700 mi. east of the coast of southeast Asia. The island chain, which merges with Taiwan in the north and Indonesia and Malaysia in the south, divides the South China Sea from the Pacific Ocean proper. Two thirds of the land area is concentrated on two islands, Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. The varied terrain includes plains, valleys, marshlands, plateaus, and coastal mountain ranges. There are many natural harbors along the 14,000-mi. coastline.

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

Population: 45.3 million.

Who Rules: Since Sept. 22, 1972, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos has governed under martial law. Since that date the government has staged three nationwide referenda at open barangays, or citizens' assemblies, to reaffirm its rule.

Who REALLY Rules: The U.S. props up the Philippine government with military and economic assistance, and America's large military facilities in the Philippines provide additional financial support. In recent years, however, the U.S.-led World Bank has taken over America's historical role as overseer of the Philippine economy. Since the imposition of martial law, the World Bank has actively participated in the highest levels of Philippine economic planning.

The Philippines host the only American military bases remaining in southeast Asia; there are about 16,000 U.S. military personnel at the Subic Bay naval complex, Clark Air Force Base, and several other smaller installations.

Officially, some 50,000 persons have been detained by the government, at one time or another, for alleged political crimes since the declaration of martial law. best known of the detainees is Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr., the wealthy Filipino who was expected to succeed Marcos as president. The government has curtailed the republic's free press and banned strikes. Continued violations of human rights have created new opposition, including that of Catholic leaders, within the Philippines and from members of the U.S. Congress. Marcos claims that demonstrations against him are led by "subversives and people under the influence of drugs."

Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, has been called "the de facto vice-president" by Foreign Secretary Carlos Romulo. Mrs. Marcos has carried out major diplomatic missions on behalf of her husband's government, and in late 1975 he appointed her the first governor of Metropolitan Manila. Imelda, reputed for her beauty, was the victim of a political knife attack in December, 1972. A top-notch American plastic surgeon was brought to the Philippines to repair her face. Some observers of the Philippine political scene consider Imelda a potential rival to her husband, as she is surrounded by her own independent coterie of advisers.

In 1977 Pres. Marcos decreed that every able-bodied Filipino aged 10 or older must plant and maintain one tree for each year for five years.

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