Capital city: Manila
Currency: Philippine peso
Official language: Filipino, English
The Philippines has a tropical maritime climate and is usually hot and humid. There are three seasons: tag-init or tag-araw, the hot dry season or summer from March to May; tag-ulan, the rainy season from June to November; and tag-lamig, the cool dry season from December to February. The southwest monsoon (from May to October) is known as the Habagat, and the dry winds of the northeast monsoon (from November to April), the Amihan.Temperatures usually range from 21°C (70°F) to 32°C (90°F) although it can get cooler or hotter depending on the season. The coolest month is January; the warmest is May.
The average yearly temperature is around 26.6°C (79.88°F). In considering temperature, location in terms of latitude and longitude is not a significant factor. Whether in the extreme north, south, east, or west of the country, temperatures at sea level tend to be in the same range. Altitude usually has more of an impact. The average annual temperature of Baguio at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) above sea level is 18.3°C (64.9°F), making it a popular destination during hot summers. Likewise, Tagaytay is a favored retreat.
Sitting astride the typhoon belt, most of the islands experience annual torrential rains and thunderstorms from July to October,with around nineteen typhoons entering the Philippine area of responsibility in a typical year and eight or nine making landfall.Annual rainfall measures as much as 5,000 millimeters (200 inches) in the mountainous east coast section but less than 1,000 millimeters (39 inches) in some of the sheltered valleys.The wettest known tropical cyclone to impact the archipelago was the July 1911 cyclone, which dropped over 1,168 millimetres (46.0 in) of rainfall within a 24-hour period in Baguio City.Bagyo is the local term for a tropical cyclone in the Philippines.
The national economy of the Philippines is the 45th largest in the world, with an estimated 2011 gross domestic product (nominal) of $216 billion.Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand.Its unit of currency is the Philippine peso (₱ or PHP).
A newly industrialized country, the Philippine economy has been transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. Of the country's total labor force of around 38.1 million,the agricultural sector employs close to 32% but contributes to only about 13.8% of GDP. The industrial sector employs around 13.7% of the workforce and accounts for 30% of GDP. Meanwhile the 46.5% of workers involved in the services sector are responsible for 56.2% of GDP.
The unemployment rate as of July 2009 stands at around 7.6% and due to the global economic slowdown inflation as of September 2009 reads 0.70%.Gross international reserves as of July 2011 are $75.174 billion. In 2004, public debt as a percentage of GDP was estimated to be 74.2%; in 2008, 56.9%.Gross external debt has risen to $66.27 billion.The country is a net importer.
After World War II, the country was for a time regarded as the second wealthiest in East Asia, next only to Japan.However, by the 1960s its economic performance started being overtaken. The economy stagnated under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos as the regime spawned economic mismanagement and political volatility.The country suffered from slow economic growth and bouts of economic recession. Only in the 1990s with a program of economic liberalization did the economy begin to recover.
The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis affected the economy, resulting in a lingering decline of the value of the peso and falls in the stock market. But the extent it was affected initially was not as severe as that of some of its Asian neighbors. This was largely due to the fiscal conservatism of the government, partly as a result of decades of monitoring and fiscal supervision from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in comparison to the massive spending of its neighbors on the rapid acceleration of economic growth.There have been signs of progress since. In 2004, the economy experienced 6.4% GDP growth and 7.1% in 2007, its fastest pace of growth in three decades. Yet average annual GDP growth per capita for the period 1966–2007 still stands at 1.45% in comparison to an average of 5.96% for the East Asia and the Pacific region as a whole and the daily income for 45% of the population of the Philippines remains less than $2.Despite enjoying sustained economic growth during the first decade of the 21st century, as of 2010, the country's economy remains smaller than those of its Southeast Asian neighbors Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore in terms of GDP and GDP per capita (nominal).
Other incongruities and challenges exist. The economy is heavily reliant on remittances which surpass foreign direct investment as a source of foreign currency. Regional development is uneven with Luzon—Metro Manila in particular—gaining most of the new economic growth at the expense of the other regions, although the government has taken steps to distribute economic growth by promoting investment in other areas of the country. Despite constraints, service industries such as tourism and business process outsourcing have been identified as areas with some of the best opportunities for growth for the country.Goldman Sachs includes the country in its list of the "Next Eleven" economies.But China and India have emerged as major economic competitors.
The Philippines is a member of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian Development Bank which is headquartered in Mandaluyong City, the Colombo Plan, and theG-77 among other groups and institutions.
The Philippines' international relations are based on trade with other nations and the well-being of the 11 million overseas Filipinos living outside the country.As a founding and active member of the United Nations, the Philippines has been elected several times into the Security Council. Carlos P. Romulo was a former President of the United Nations General Assembly. The country is an active participant in the Human Rights Council as well as in peacekeeping missions, particularly in East Timor.
In addition to membership in the United Nations, the country is also a founding and active member of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), an organization designed to strengthen relations and promote economic and cultural growth among states in the Southeast Asian region.It has hosted several summits and is an active contributor to the direction and policies of the bloc.The relations it currently enjoys with other Southeast Asian states are in contrast to its relations with them before the 1970s when it was at war with Vietnam and was heavily disputing Sabah with Malaysia; although, disagreements continue to exist due to the Spratly Islands.
The Philippines values its relations with the United States. It supported the United States during the Cold War and the War on Terror and is a major non-NATO ally. Despite this history of goodwill, controversies related to the presence of the now former U.S. military bases in Subic Bay and Clark and the current Visiting Forces Agreement have flared up from time to time.Japan, the biggest contributor of official development assistance to the country,is thought of as a friend. Although historical tensions still exist on issues such as the plight of comfort women much of the animosity inspired by memories of World War II have faded.
Relations with other nations are generally positive. Shared democratic values ease relations with Western and European countries while similar economic concerns help in relations with other developing countries. Historical ties and cultural similarities also serve as a bridge in relations with Spain and Latin America. Despite issues such as domestic abuse and war affecting overseas Filipino workers and obstacles posed by Islamic insurgency in Mindanao, relations with Middle Eastern countries (including Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates) are friendly as seen in the continuous employment of more than two million overseas Filipinos living there.
With communism no longer the threat it once was, once hostile relations in the 1950s between the Philippines and the People's Republic of China have improved greatly. Issues involving Taiwan, the Spratly Islands, and concerns of expanding Chinese influence, however, still encourage a degree of carefulness. Recent foreign policy has been mostly about economic relations with its Southeast Asian and Asia-Pacific neighbors.
The Philippines is a member of the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin Union, the Group of 24, and the Non-Aligned Movement.It is also seeking to strengthen relations with Islamic countries by campaigning for observer status in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
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