The Philippines

The Republic of the Philippines (The Philippines), with its capital in Manila, shares maritime borders with China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Palau, Vietnam, and Taiwan. The Philippines has total area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers and consists of more than 7,000 islands. It has a population of 94 million (2010 est.) comprised of multiple ethnic groups, the three largest being the Tagalog, Cebuano and Ilocano.

The official languages of the Philippines are Filipino (based on Tagalog) and English. The majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholic with a small Muslim population in the southern island of Mindanao.

The Philippines is a constitutional republic with a presidential system. The president and vice president are elected by popular vote for a single six-year term. A bicameral Congress (Kongreso) is made up of the Senate (Senado), with 24 members popularly elected to six-year terms, and the House of Representatives (Kapulungan Ng Nga Kinatawan) with 230 members representing districts and 57 members representing special minorities.

The Philippines has the fifth largest economy of the ASEAN Member States, and sits in sixth place in terms of its per capita GDP (gross domestic product). Remittances from overseas Filipino workers comprise an important part of the Philippines’ economy.

The Philippines joined the United Nations (UN) in October 1945, a year prior to its independence from the United States of America in 1946. The country is a member of several UN specialized agencies and international organizations, including, the: International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), International Labor Organization (ILO), World Trade Organization (WTO), International Organization of Migration (IOM), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), International Finance Cooperation (IFC), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).