Philippines, Republic of The

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Philippines, Republic of The


(Republika fig Pilipinas; Repiiblica de Filipinas).

The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia, occupying the islands of the Philippine Archipelago, located in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. It has an area of 300,000 sq km and a population of 42.5 million (1975). The largest islands, which account for 96 percent of the country’s total land area, are Luzon, Mindanao, Samar, Negros, Palawan, Panay, Mindoro, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol, and Masbate. The capital is Manila. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into provinces (73 in 1975).

The Philippines is a republic. The constitution was adopted in January 1973 by a constitutional convention and approved by a national referendum. It vests legislative authority in the unicameral National Assembly, elected by the population for a term of six years. However, for a number of reasons the constitution has not yet been implemented. Since Jan. 1, 1974, during a so-called “transitional period,” the country has been governed according to the martial law of September 1972.

The president is head of state and government, as well as commander in chief of the armed forces. In October 1976 the term of office of the president then in office was newly extended by a referendum for an indefinite period. In carrying out his duties, the president is aided by the secretaries of the government departments and other members of the cabinet.

In each province executive power is exercised by the governor, who is part of a provincial board that also includes three other members. The cities and the rural municipalities are administered by elected mayors.

The judicial system includes the Supreme Court, a court of appeal, and courts of the first instance in cities and rural municipalities. All judges are appointed by the president upon the recommendation of a special commission.

Coastline. The Philippine Archipelago is a link in the island arcs of East Asia that extend for more than 1,800 km. The coastline of most of the islands is extremely indented, measuring more than 18,000 km in length. The eastern shores, along which extends the Philippine, or Mindanao, Trench of the Pacific, are primarily high and steep; coastal lowlands are few. Most of the gulfs and bays suitable for harbors are located along the western coastline, including Manila Bay, with its port. Coral reefs stretch for a considerable distance along the coasts. The inland seas, including the Sibuyan, Visayan, Camotes, Samar, and Mindanao, abound in islands and straits.

Terrain. The landscape is dominated by mountains, with elevations ranging from 1,500 to 2,000 m; the highest elevation is 2,954 m, at volcanic Mount Apo, on the island of Mindanao. The mountain ranges are, for the most part, steep and short (200–250 km) and heavily dissected by numerous gorges. Active volcanoes include Taal, Banahao, Bulusan, and Mayon, located on the island of Luzon; Makaturing, situated on the island of Mindanao; and Hibok-Hibok, located on the island of Camiguin. Considerable areas are occupied by low hills, uplands, and plateaus. Lowlands occupy less than one-fourth of the land area; the largest are the Central Plain and Cagayan Valley, on the island of Luzon, and the Cotabato and Agusan valleys, on the island of Mindanao. The mountains and intermontane basins generally have a submeridional extent and usually stretch in the direction of the axes of the largest islands, forming several parallel chains on the islands of Luzon and Mindanao.

Geological structure and mineral resources. The Philippine Islands are part of the system of the island arcs of the western part of the Pacific geosynclinal belt. They are thought to be a modern geosyncline or a structure that has arisen over a plate shift (sub-duction) zone. The oldest rocks, dating from the Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, and Middle Jurassic periods, are primarily schists, marbles, and quartzites, with some amphibolites, granites, and diorites. They are typical of the islands of Palawan, Mindoro, and Mindanao (the Zamboanga Peninsula). Younger formations of the Oligocene epoch are represented by graywacke, shale, carbonate, and flint-spilite strata, with intrusions of ultra-basic rocks, gabbroids, and diorites from the Late Jurassic period. The manganese and copper ores are linked with the Cretaceous basalts and spilites, the ores of chromium, nickel, platinum, and copper with the gabbroids and ultrabasic rocks, and the copper and iron ores with the Paleogenic diorites. At the end of the Oligocene epoch, spilitic volcanism was replaced by andesite and dacite volcanism. During the Miocene and Pliocene periods, deposits accumulated in the sedimentary basins, and a volcano-plutonic belt of limestone-alkaline rock series with deposits of copper, iron, and gold and silver ores formed in the adjacent uplifts. At the end of the Middle Pliocene epoch of the Anthropogenic period, volcanic cones were formed, consisting of andesites and basalts and their pyroclasts. The sulfur is associated with the fumarolic action of the volcanoes, and mercury deposits with the mineral sources. Sedimentary rocks accumulated in depressions, while reef limestones developed in the coastal areas. During the Cenozoic era, weathering cores developed in the ultrabasic rocks, and the deposits of nickel, cobalt, and iron are linked with the cores. The deposits of phosphate ores are linked with the quarternary limestones, which contain guano.

The total estimated reserves of copper ores (by metal content) are (1975) 13.7 million tons; pyrites, which are a by-product of copper-porphyritic ores, are estimated at 7,000 tons. Nickel-ore reserves are estimated (by metal content) at 7.8 million tons, cobalt at 160,000 tons, chromites at 7 million tons, mercury at 7,000 tons, iron ores at 990 million tons, and manganese ores at 6 million tons. The Philippines has known coal reserves of 125 million tons, of which 35 million tons are hard coal and 90 million are brown coal. Reserves of natural gas are estimated at 5.1 billion cum.

Climate. The climate is equatorial, except in the north, where it is subequatorial and monsoonal. In the southern coastal areas the temperature is 27°–28°C throughout the year, while in the north it varies from 24° to 28°C. With increasing elevation the temperature decreases, to 20°C at an elevation of approximately 1,600 m and to 15–17°C on the highest summits. Precipitation is heavy in most parts of the country, amounting to more than 2,000 mm per year. On the windward slopes of the mountain ranges, annual precipitation varies from 3,500 to 4,500 mm, and in the inland mountain valleys and in some parts of the southern islands, it is less than 1,000 mm. On the southern islands precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year.

The western coastline of the northern part of the archipelago is affected by the summer monsoon, and the eastern coastline, by the winter monsoon and the Pacific trade winds. Consequently, on the western coastline most of the precipitation occurs in the summer, as does the maximum river flow. In the eastern part, most of the precipitation falls in the winter. The typhoon season is from August through October. There are about 20 typhoons each year, three or four of which usually cause major damage.

Rivers and lakes. The rivers are short but copious. The upper courses, often dotted with rapids, flow quickly. In the coastal lowlands the rivers meander through swampy, broad valleys. Some of the rivers, for example, the Pampanga, form deltas. All the rivers are fed primarily by rain. The chief rivers are the Pulangi (or Río Grande de Mindanao) and the Agusan, located on the island of Mindanao, and the Pampanga, Agno, and Cagayan, on the island of Luzon.

The few lakes are relatively small. The largest lake, Laguna de Bay (75 km in length), and the important Lake Taal are located on the island of Luzon; the volcanic Lake Lanao is on Mindanao.

Soils. The soil cover consists primarily of red and yellow ferralitic or podzolized soils, characteristic of the tropics. Mountain-chestnut soils occur at higher elevations. In the seismic regions, soils derived from volcanic ash have developed. The river valleys have alluvial and, in places, marshy soils. The soils on Cebu, Bohol, and some other islands have been formed as a result of the wind erosion of the coral reefs. Many sections of the mountains lack a soil cover. Much of the soil cover has become heavily eroded, particularly in areas that have been plowed up.

Flora. The vegetation is abundant and diverse, totaling about 10,000 species. There is an enormous diversity of trees, as well as numerous species of ferns and orchids. About 40 percent of the plant species are endemic.

Forests, which occur primarily in the mountains, occupy more than two-fifths of the land area. The largest forest massifs are located on the islands of Mindanao, Luzon, and Palawan. Up to elevations of 400–500 m there is a predominance of multistrata, evergreen equatorial rain forests, with palm trees and some Dipterocarpaceae, including the valuable trees known as Philippine mahogany, noted for the hardness and beauty of their wood. Evergreen forests mixed with numerous dwarf palms grow at elevations to 900 m. Higher up, the forest are dominated by trees characteristic of the subtropics, such as evergreen oaks and myrtle. Pine forests grow in the mountains of Luzon and Mindoro. Deciduous monsoon forests occur on the leeward slopes of the mountains and in the inland valleys. Above 2,000 m, the forests of small trees, along with lichens, ferns, and orchids, give way to dense scrub vegetation.

Excessive logging has considerably reduced the area occupied by forests, which have been replaced by meadows and savannas consisting primarily of wild sugarcane and various tall grasses. Swampy mangrove forests and groves of nipa palms occur along the shores of gulfs and near the river estuaries.

Fauna. The fauna of the Philippines belong to the Indo-Malaysian zoogeographic region. As a result of the country’s insular position, the fauna is poor in species, a considerable number of which are endemic. There are no large mammals in the Philippines. Monkeys are encountered, primarily macaques, as well as kalongs, dwarf deer, flying lemurs, tupayas, civets, and wildcats. There are approximately 450 species of birds, as well as numerous reptiles, including pythons and freshwater crocodiles.

Preserves. The Philippines has several dozen national parks and several preserves for maintaining and protecting tropical flora and fauna and various natural features, such as volcanoes and lakes. The largest parks are Apo, Canlaon, Lake Naujan, and Central Cebu.


Baryshnikova, O. G. Filippiny: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Moscow, 1960.
Zarubezhnaia Aziia: Fizicheskaia geografiia. Moscow, 1956.
O. G. BARYSHNIKOVA (physical geography) and A. S. KARPOVA (geological structure and mineral resources)

The population of the Philippines includes more than 90 indigenous ethnographic groups and tribes, whose languages and dialects are closely related. The coastal areas have been settled by the most important ethnic groups in the Philippines: the Visayans (41 percent of the population), Tagalog (21 percent), Ilokano (12 percent), Bikol, Pampangans, Pangasinans, Ibanags, and Sambal. Living in the southern part of Mindanao and on the adjacent islands are members of the Moro group, including the Magindanao, Maranao, Sulu (or Taw Sug), and Samal. The mountain regions are inhabited by numerous individual ethnic groups and tribes, such as the Ifugao, Bontok, Kalinga, Subanun, and Bukidnon. Tribes of Aeta, Negroid people of small stature, live on the islands of Luzon, Negros, and Mindanao.

More than 500,000 Chinese live in the Philippines, primarily in the cities, as well as descendants of settlers from various Asian countries, Europe, and America.

More than 90 percent of the Filipinos are Christian, primarily Roman Catholic. The Moro are Muslims, while the mountain ethnographic groups and the Aeta have preserved their traditional animistic beliefs.

The official languages are Tagalog and English. The official calendar is the Gregorian calendar.

According to the 1970 census, 62.4 percent of the population was less than 25 years of age; persons 60 years of age or older numbered only 5.5 percent. During the period 1970–75, the average annual population growth was 2.7 percent. The state policy of family planning has encountered difficulties, connected, in part, with the great influence of the Roman Catholic Church.

The average population density is 139 persons per sq km (1975). Of the 7,000 islands of the archipelago, about 800 are inhabited. The economically active population totals 15.2 million (1974), of which 55.3 percent are employed in agriculture, logging, and fishing, 13.9 percent in industry, including construction, and 3.6 percent in transportation and communications. In the early 1970’s about 70 percent of the population was living in rural areas. A considerable part of the urban population is concentrated in Manila. Other major cities with more than 200,000 inhabitants are Quezon City, Cebu, San Fernando, Davao, Iloilo, and Caloocan.

Period of the primitive communal system and the emergence of feudal relations (to the late 16th century). Little is known of the archaeology of the Philippines. Many scholars link the Neolithic remains with representatives of the southern Mongoloid race, who in the second millennium B.C. penetrated the Philippine Archipelago from the Asian continent and pushed out and partially assimilated the Negroid-Australoid indigenous population. Subsequent migrations followed during the first century B.C., first from Indochina and then from Indonesia. Trading ties with China and the countries of Southeast Asia, especially with Indonesia, have been traced as far back as the tenth century A.D.

By the 15th and 16th centuries, the primitive communal system predominated in most of the Philippines. However, an early feudal-type class society emerged in certain coastal regions in the southwestern part of the island of Luzon, on the island of Cebu, and in the Sulu Archipelago. During the 14th and 15th centuries Islam was introduced in these regions by Muslims from Indonesia, and it was here that various independent petty principalities arose, including the Jolo Sultanate in the Sulu Archipelago.

Development of feudal relations and emergence of the capitalist system under conditions of Spanish colonial domination (from the late 16th through 19th centuries). SPANISH CONQUEST AND ESTABLISHMENT OF COLONIAL EXPLOITATION (16TH TO EARLY 19TH CENTURIES). The Philippine Islands were discovered in 1521 by a Spanish expedition under F. Magellan and named the San Lazaro Islands. Magellan convinced the ruler of the island of Cebu to conclude a “blood alliance” with him, promising aid in conquering neighboring Mactan Island. However, the ruler of Mactan, Lapu-Lapu (who is honored by Filipinos as the first hero of the struggle for independence), defeated the Spanish detachment. In 1564, Spain dispatched an expedition under Legazpi to conquer the Philippines. By 1572, the Spanish captured the coastal regions of the principal central and northern islands. They also established control over the inland regions of the archipelago. However, they never succeeded in consolidating their control over the southern regions—western Mindanao and Sulu. The Spanish were unable to convert the Muslims in the south to the Catholic faith, whereas the rest of the Philippine population, except for the inhabitants of the inaccessible mountain regions, were quite rapidly Christianized.

The colonialists introduced the encomienda system in the Philippines, modeled on the system developed in Spanish America. The encomendero (literally, “trustee”) collected a tribute for his own benefit from the population. He also compelled the inhabitants to perform a labor service (polo y servicio) and to pay a tax in kind to the authorities. The community elders became the village officials (caciques) and served as intermediaries in collecting the taxes. Although the caciques themselves became feudal landowners, they did not escape colonial oppression. Consequently, some of the popular uprisings against the colonialists were under their leadership: the uprisings in the Cagayan Valley in 1639 and on the islands of Leyte and Mindanao in 1649–50 and the major rebellion under the leadership of Malong in central Luzon in 1660–61.

During the 17th century the encomienda system was replaced by the direct collection of taxes for the crown. During this period the Spanish Catholic religious orders, including the Dominicans, Augustinians, and Jesuits, became the principal economic and political force in the colony, concentrating vast landholdings in their hands. The Philippines’ link with the outside world was limited to Chinese and Indian merchants allowed into the country and the yearly voyage of merchant galleons from Manila to Acapulco, Mexico, and back. The income from the galleon trade went, for the most part, into the hands of the religious orders. In 1782 the government acquired a monopoly on tobacco. In 1785 the Royal Company of the Philippines was established and granted the privilege of direct but strictly regulated trade between the Philippines and Spain.

During the 18th century the spontaneous struggle of the people against the colonialists continued to develop, at times marked by great persistence. The uprising begun in 1744 on the island of Bohol under the leadership of F. Dagohoy could not be suppressed by the Spanish for 85 years. In 1762, during the Seven Years’ War of 1756–63, British troops occupied Manila and parts of the Philippines for one year. This provided the impetus for a widespread peasant revolt under J. de la Cruz Palaris and D. Silang. The persecutions by Spanish churchmen engendered numerous messianic-type sectarian movements, in which Christian doctrine, combined with local ancient beliefs, became a banner in the struggle against the foreign yoke.

EMERGENCE OF CAPITALISM; REFORM MOVEMENT; NATIONAL-LIBERATION REVOLUTION (EARLY 19TH CENTURY TO 1898). In the early 19th century, the nascent bourgeoisie of Spain sought to gain a foothold in the Philippines, whose exploitation heretofore was monopolized by the higher Spanish officials and the church. Under pressure from the bourgeoisie, the authorities halted the galleon journeys in 1815, took away the privileges of the Royal Company in 1830, and abolished the tobacco monopoly in 1882. Private Spanish traders were allowed into the Philippines, as well as entrepreneurs from Great Britain, France, and the USA. The latter soon crowded out their Spanish competitors and succeeded in opening up Manila (1834) and other ports (1855–60) for foreign trade. This stimulated the production of export crops, including sugarcane, tobacco, hemp, and indigo. An indigenous trade and industrial bourgeoisie began to take shape.

In 1842–13 the priest Apolinario de la Cruz led a major peasant uprising, the cause of which was the banning of a monastic order he had founded. In the mid-19th century, the movement headed by Burgos, Zamora, and Gomez for equality between Filipino and Spanish priests gained vast support among all strata of the population. A great response throughout the country was evoked by the uprising in 1872 of the workers at the Cavite arsenal (central Luzon), which was supported by local peasants. This period also saw the emergence of a Filipino intelligentsia, whose members were educated in Europe, where they adopted democratic ideas. The intelligentsia advocated political reforms that would rescue the people of the Philippines from poverty and grant them political rights. The advocates of these reforms, such as J. Rizal, M. del Pilar, and G. López-Jaena, founded the first patriotic press organs and organizations.

In 1892 a secret patriotic organization, Katipunan (seeKATIPUNAN), arose among the urban poor. Headed by A. Bonifacio and others, it was soon joined by the radical intelligentsia. At the call of the Katipunan, the people on Aug. 23, 1896, rose up in arms against Spain. The revolt was also supported by a bourgeois-landowner faction headed by E. Aguinaldo. On Mar. 22, 1897, the insurgents proclaimed an independent republic, with Aguinaldo as its president. The Aguinaldo faction gave in easily to Spain’s promises of concessions and in November-December 1897 agreed to cease fighting and left the Philippines (seeBIAC-NA-BATÓ PACT).

In April 1898 the USA embarked on a war to seize Spain’s colonies. American representatives agreed on joint operations with Aguinaldo and promised to recognize Philippine independence. On June 12, 1898, independence was proclaimed for the second time in Cavite (the date is now celebrated as the official Philippine holiday), and, after returning to the Philippines, Aguinaldo again became head of the revolutionary government. In June and July the Philippine army forced the Spanish to surrender throughout most of the archipelago. By agreement with the Spanish command, the Americans took Manila on August 13 without a battle, thus preventing the city’s capture by Philippine insurgents. On September 15, a revolutionary assembly was called, which subsequently drafted and adopted the constitution of the Philippine republic (seeMALOLOS CONSTITUTION).

Under US colonial domination (1899–1946). ESTABLISHMENT OF THE US COLONIAL REGIME (1899–1916). On Dec. 10, 1898, the US government, ignoring the proclamation of Philippine independence, signed a peace treaty with Spain, in accordance with which Spain “yielded” the Philippines to the USA for $20 million. The Aguinaldo government protested, but on Feb. 4, 1899, American troops, with an overwhelming superiority in men and materiel, launched military operations against the republican army (seePHILIPPINE WAR OF 1899–1901). By early 1900, the regular Philippine army broke up into individual detachments, which subsequently embarked on guerrilla warfare. The guerrilla warfare continued until 1906 in most of the Philippines and as late as 1913 in certain regions in the south. On Mar. 23, 1901, Aguinaldo was taken prisoner, whereupon he agreed to call upon the Filipinos to cease fighting.

Having seized the Philippines at the apex of its national-liberation revolution, the American colonialists were forced to seek the support of the indigenous population. Consequently, they made significant economic and political concessions to the landowners. They legally sanctioned the private ownership of land, and, after reaching an agreement with the Vatican, they proceeded to purchase most of the land owned by the religious orders and resell it to the prosperous strata of the population. Reciprocal free trade was established between the Philippines and the USA, and members of the propertied classes obtained lucrative posts in the colonial administration. In 1902 a proclamation was issued concerning the imminent organization in the Philippines of a legislative assembly (with limited rights), to be elected according to property qualifications.

The petit bourgeois circles that were hostile to the predators grouped around the Aglipayan Church (seeAGLIPAYAN CHURCH). The bourgeois-landowner Nationalist Party was created in 1907, headed by former participants in the liberation war of 1896–1901. The party advocated Philippine independence but rejected the revolutionary path of struggle. In the first election to the Assembly in 1907, the Nationalists won a majority. In 1913 the leaders of the party headed the first nationwide trade union—the Labor Congress. In 1913 the American authorities embarked on the Filipinization process, co-opting the indigenous bourgeoisie and landowners into the administrative machinery. This culminated in the adoption in 1916 of the Jones act by the US Congress, which provided for the creation of a bicameral legislative assembly in the Philippines and which promised that independence would be granted.

EXPANSION OF US IMPERIALIST EXPLOITATION AND GROWTH OF THE NATIONAL-LIBERATION MOVEMENT (1917—41). After World War I (1914–18), a considerable number of sugar and oil mills and tobacco factories were built in the Philippines. A large indigenous bourgeoisie began forming, for the most part, in trade and in the branches of industry producing export commodities; a working class also emerged.

Under the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, communist ideas penetrated the Philippines. Within the Labor Congress the first Marxist group was organized, led by C. Evangelista and A. Ora; in 1924 it became the Workers’ Party. The party was joined by the National Peasants’ Union, which had been created in 1922 in a number of regions on the island of Luzon. In general, however, the peasant movement during this period developed spontaneously, apart from the workers’ movement and under religious and naively monarchist slogans (the major peasant uprisings of 1923–24 on Mindanao and of 1925–27 on Negros and Panay). The workers’ movement gained impetus (there were prolonged strikes in 1920, 1924, and 1928), but they were led primarily by reformists; an exception was a group of trade unions that merged in 1929 into the Proletarian Union, led by the Workers’ Party.

The economic crisis of 1929–33 engendered widespread unemployment and intensified the ruination of the peasants. From 1929 to 1931 a wave of major strikes swept the country, and in 1931 two peasant revolts broke out on Luzon. The movement for independence attracted bourgeois and petit bourgeois circles. Upon the initiative of the leadership of the Workers’ Party, the Communist Party of the Philippines was founded in 1930; however, it was banned in 1932 and its leaders arrested (seeCOMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES).

The growing class struggle and patriotic movement in the Philippines forced the USA to make new concessions to the nationalist forces. In 1934 the Tydings-McDuffie Act, adopted by the US Congress, promised independence after a ten-year transition period during which the Philippines would have virtually complete autonomy. The act also outlined the Philippine government structure, both during and after the autonomy period. The constitutional convention that assembled in the aftermath of the act drafted a Philippine constitution, which was approved by the US president in March 1935. The 1935 constitution proclaimed, with stipulations, bourgeois-democratic freedoms in the Philippines. The government of the autonomous Philippines was headed in 1935 by M. Quezon, leader of the Nationalist Party.

In 1937 the Philippine government legalized the Communist Party and amnestied its leaders. In 1938 the Socialist Party, founded in the 1930’s, merged with the Communist Party. The Collective Labour Movement, founded in 1938 and in which the Communists had considerable influence, became the most important trade union. The Popular Front, an elected bloc of worker and peasant organizations headed by Communists, advocated the broadening of democratic freedoms and the mobilization of the masses to protect the Philippines from the threat of Japanese agression.

During the years of Philippine autonomy, the workers and peasants secured concessions from the government with respect to improved working conditions; for example, a minimum wage was established, the employment of children under 14 years of age was prohibited, and compensation was instituted for on-the-job injuries. The peasants secured concessions with respect to conditions for the métayage (cultivation of land by farmers for a share of the yield) rental of rice fields.

JAPANESE OCCUPATION; RESURGENCE OF THE NATIONAL-LIBERATION MOVEMENT (DECEMBER 1941–16). In December 1941, Japanese troops invaded the Philippines. The occupiers instituted a terrorist regime. Most of the officials and landowners collaborated with the Japanese authorities, who created a pro-Japanese government in the Philippines. The most active organization in resisting the occupation forces—the Hukbalahap (Anti-Japanese People’s Army)—was created in March 1942 and was led by the Communists. The army, comprised of peasants, waged an armed struggle against Japanese troops and against landlord-collaborators in central Luzon. Also operating in the Philippines during the Japanese occupation were several guerrilla detachments and underground, anti-Japanese groups, led by representatives of the national bourgeoisie and intelligentsia. In October 1944 the guerrillas rendered effective aid to the American troops that had landed in the Philippines.

After World War II (1939–45), the national-liberation movement experienced a resurgence. In 1945 a bloc of worker, peasant, and bourgeois patriotic organizations was formed in the Philippines—the Democratic Alliance—and the Communist Party came to play a prominent role in its leadership. The Communists were also influential in the National Peasants’ Union (founded 1945) and the Congress of Workers’ Organizations (founded 1945). During the presidential election held in April 1946, the Democratic Alliance advanced a program of independence and social reforms and formed a coalition with the progressive wing of the Nationalist Party. The US ruling circles, however, supported the Liberal Party (created in 1946 on the basis of a reactionary group that had split off from the Nationalist Party), which expressed a readiness to accept all the conditions proposed by the USA for Philippine independence. The Liberals received a majority in the Philippine Congress, and M. Roxas, their leader, became president of the Philippines.

AFTER THE PROCLAMATION OF INDEPENDENCE (SINCE 1946). Philippine independence was proclaimed on July 4, 1946. Nevertheless, the Philippine government was compelled to sign a series of unilateral treaties with the USA in 1946–47. These treaties guaranteed American capital equality with national capital in a number of sectors of the economy, limited Philippine independence with respect to currency and customs policies, and made the armed forces dependent on American aid. Territory was transferred to the USA and leased as military bases; American personnel on these bases were not subject to Philippine jurisdiction.

The Roxas government attempted to suppress the democratic movement by force. In 1946–47 the police attempted to disarm the Hukbalahap veterans but were met with resistance. The Communist Party began negotiations with the government in the hope of averting a civil war, but the talks ended without resolving anything. In 1948 the Communist Party led an armed struggle by the peasants of central Luzon against the government. The People’s Liberation Army was formed, numbering about 10,000. The Communist Party, the National Peasants’ Union, and, in 1951, the Congress of Workers’ Organizations as well, were outlawed by the government and their activists arrested. By 1953, government troops defeated the poorly armed peasant detachments, forcing them to scatter. During the years of civil war, police terror reigned in the Philippines.

In foreign policy the Philippines sided with the USA: in 1950, Philippine troops took part in the intervention in Korea (1950–53), and in 1954 the Philippines joined the aggressive military bloc of SEATO.

After the proclamation of independence in the Philippines, the position of Philippine capital was strengthened. In the period 1951–53 the production of the leading goods reached the prewar level; energy production increased substantially, and the manufacturing industry, working for the domestic market, expanded. Subsequently, the growth rate of the national product gradually declined, and the sources for accumulating national capital remained extremely limited. In view of the lack of a solution to the agrarian question, the domestic market remained narrow, and the development of agriculture lagged far behind the country’s needs. The USA retained its capital investments in the Philippines ($800 million in 1960), but its share in foreign trade was reduced in view of the increased volume of Japanese-Philippine trade.

The national bourgeoisie strove to limit foreign capital and to abolish the privileges of American business. Its influence grew in both political parties, which alternated in power during the postwar years: the Liberal Party headed the government from 1946 to 1953 and from 1962 to 1965, and the Nationalist Party, from 1954 to 1961 and from 1966 to 1972. However, the landowners still retained control of the state machinery in the municipalities and exerted a considerable amount of power in the Philippine Congress, which made it possible for them to sabotage all attempts at agrarian reform.

The years 1954–55 saw the birth of a social movement under the slogan Filipino First, which demanded an end to the economic and political dependence of the Philippines on the USA. In the period 1965–67, Manila was the site of several angry demonstrations protesting US aggression in Vietnam and the sending under US pressure of two Philippine engineering battalions to South Vietnam in 1966. In 1967 the public organization Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism was created. Advocating a struggle for the national interests of the Philippines, it was supported by certain bourgeois-nationalist circles as well as by progressive worker and peasant organizations that had received official sanction in the mid-1960’s.

In the 1970’s the Philippines began reexamining its foreign policy, which was strongly oriented toward the USA. In 1970, President F. E. Marcos withdrew the Philippine military units from Vietnam and lifted limitations on economic and cultural contacts with the socialist countries.

By the beginning of the 1970’s, the country was beset by complex domestic problems. In the south an insurgent movement developed among the Muslim population; some of the leaders advocated separatism. On Luzon insurgent and terrorist acts were carried out by the New People’s Army, created in 1969 by a left-wing extremist group that split off from the Communist Party. The New People’s Army received no support from the peasants. In the summer of 1972 it was responsible for a number of acts of sabotage and terrorism in Manila. To strengthen the government’s power and to suppress the oligarchic opposition as well as leftist terrorism, Marcos declared martial law in September 1972. The imposing of martial law also enabled the government to promulgate without opposition various social reforms in the interests of the national bourgeoisie.

In January 1973 the president ratified a new constitution (drafted in 1971–72); however, elections to the National Assembly were postponed indefinitely. The activities of all parties and political organizations were banned. All power was concentrated in the hands of the president, who at the same time assumed the premiership. In 1973, 1975, and 1976 referendums confirmed Marcos’ mandate to govern the country under martial law.

Marcos advocated a program to build the New Society in the Philippines. A law was issued on agrarian reform, directed at developing capitalism in the rural areas by transferring to the peasants the ownership of the land they had been leasing and by introducing cooperatives; the state would buy up the land from the big and medium-scale landowners, and the receivers of the land would reimburse the government a predetermined amount over a specified time period. The “private armies” of the landowners were disarmed; the plutocratic press organs and radio stations were shut down. Marcos’ measures weakened the economic and political position of the landowning oligarchy while increasing the role of the national bourgeoisie in the determination of state policy.

In October 1974, as a result of a meeting between Marcos and Communist Party leaders, an agreement was reached regarding the legalization of the Communist Party and the disbanding of its armed units; the members of the party were amnestied. The Communists expressed a readiness to support the agrarian reform and other measures of the government that served the people’s interests.

The government also began negotiating with the leaders of the Muslim movement regarding the socioeconomic development and political autonomy of the Muslim regions, and by 1977 the insurgent movement had begun to weaken. In March 1977 the government decided to create an autonomous region consisting of 13 provinces in the southern part of the Philippines. In a plebiscite in April 1977, the decision was not supported by the Catholic majority in the south, and the creation of an autonomous Muslim region was postponed indefinitely.

In foreign policy, Marcos undertook a number of steps to strengthen the national sovereignty of the Philippines. He conducted negotiations with the USA to reexamine the fundamental Philippine-American agreements and declared the intent to work out new agreements that would guarantee equality to both sides. At first, the talks dealt with the trade and economic agreement (its terms expired in 1974), but then broadened to encompass the military agreement, including the question of Philippine control over the use of the US bases on its territory.

The government has curtailed the functioning of SEATO. It has striven to develop regional cooperation with the countries of Southeast Asia—partners of the Philippines in the Organization of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN). It has sought more active participation of the Philippines in the group of developing countries that are UN members and has developed contacts with nonaligned countries.

By 1977, the Philippines had established diplomatic relations with almost all the socialist countries. Marcos’ visit to the USSR (May 31 to June 7, 1976) revealed the agreement or near-agreement of the Philippines and the USSR on many international questions. During the visit, diplomatic relations were established between the two countries and a trade agreement was signed (the foundation of trade ties between the Philippines and the USSR were laid in 1972). Cultural exchange between the countries is developing. In July 1976 the Philippines established diplomatic relations with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

The principal trade union is the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines. Founded in 1975, it has about 300,000 members.


Works by the founders of Marxism-Leninism
Lenin, V. I. “Imperializm, kak vysshaia stadiia kapitalizma.” Poln. sobr. soch., 5thed., vol. 27, p. 409.
Lenin, V. I. “Tetradi po imperializmu.” Ibid., vol. 28, p. 186.
Lenin, V. I. “Pis’mo k amerikanskim rabochim.” Ibid., vol. 37, p. 49.
General works
Worcester, D. The Philippines Past and Present. New York, 1930.
Alip, E. M. Political and Cultural History of the Philippines, vols. 1–2. Manila, 1950–52.
Zaide, G. Philippine Political and Cultural History, vols. 1–2. Manila, 1950–56.
Agoncillo, T., and O. Alfonso. A Short History of the Filipino People. [Quezon City] 1961.
The Philippines from antiquity to the mid-19th century
Levtonova, Iu. O. Ocherki novoi istorii Filippin (60-e gody XVIII-60-egg. XIXv.). Moscow, 1965.
Phelan, J. The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses, 1565–1700. Madison, Wis., 1959.
The Philippines from the mid-19th to early 20th centuries
Levtonova, Iu. O. Istoriia obshchestvennoi mysli na Filippinakh. Moscow, 1973.
Guber, A. A. Filipinskaia respublika 1898 g. i amerikanskii imperializm, 2nded. Moscow, 1961.
Storey, M., and M. P. Lichauco. The Conquest of the Philippines by the United States, 1898–1925. New York-London, 1926.
Mabini, A. La revolución filipina (con otros documentos de la época), vols. 1–2. Manila, 1931.
Angoncillo, T. The Revolt of the Masses: The Story of Bonifacio and the Katipunan. Quezon City, 1956.
Agoncillo, T. Malolos: The Crisis of the Republic. Quezon City, 1960.
Majul, S. A. The Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Philippine Revolution. Quezon City, 1957.
The Philippines from the early 1900’s to 1946
Levinson, G. I. Rabochee dvizhenie na Filippinakh. Moscow, 1957.
Levinson, G. I. Filippiny mezhdu pervoi i vtoroi mirovymi voinami. Moscow, 1958.
Levinson, G. I. Filippiny na puti k nezavisimosti. Moscow, 1972.
Abaya, H. Predatel’stvo na Filippinakh. Moscow, 1948. (Translated from English.)
Grunder, G., and W. Livezey. The Philippines and the United States. Norman, Okla. 1951.
Friend, T. Between Two Empires: The Ordeal of the Philippines, 1929–1946. New Haven-London, 1966.
Pomeroy, W. American Neo-Colonialism: Its Emergence in the Philippines and Asia. New York, 1970.
Fischer, G. Un cas de décolonisation: Les Etats-Unis et les Philippines. Paris, 1960.
The Philippines since 1946
Levinson, G. I. Filippiny vchera i segodnia. Moscow, 1959.
Savel’ev, N. A. Amerikanskii kapital na Filipinnakh. Moscow, 1960.
Baryshnikova, O. G. Filipinskaia natsional’naia burzhuaziia v bor’be za nezavisimuiu vneshniuiu torgovliu. Moscow, 1962.
Pomeroy, W. V chashche lesov. Moscow, 1965. (Translated from English.)
Abaya, H. Nerasskazanannaia istoriia Filippin. Moscow, 1970. (Translated from English.)
Zhulev, I. F. Rabochii klass Filippin. Moscow, 1975.
Malcolm, G. First Malayan Republic. Boston, 1951.
Marcos, F. Notes on the New Society. Manila, 1973.

General characteristics. The Philippines is a developing, primarily agrarian, country with diverse economic systems, ranging from natural-patriarchical to developed capitalist forms. After the proclamation of independence (1946), the country was faced with the task of overcoming the colonial heritage in its economy. The adoption of a number of reforms and laws—for example, on basic industries of the economy (1961) and on encouraging investments (1967)—as well as the implementation of economic development programs, facilitated growth in industrial and agricultural production; between 1950 and 1970 industrial production increased by a factor of 6–7, while agricultural production tripled. In 1974 (UN data) agriculture accounted for 29 percent of the total value of the gross national product, industry and construction for 24 percent, trade for 7 percent, and transportation for 2 percent. The national industrial and banking capital has grown, and the state sector has been broadened, encompassing such areas as construction, transportation, and irrigation.

The limited nature of the country’s own financial base and the resistance of some large landowners and the “old bourgeoisie” to socioeconomic changes have impeded the rebuilding of the socioeconomic structure. In the 1970’s, the government proclaimed a policy of primary reliance on its own national and regional resources. However, it did not totally reject foreign sources of financing, thus retaining the country’s dependence on foreign capital. By 1976, the foreign debt had reached $4 billion, owed, for the most part, to the USA, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

To a considerable extent, the Philippine economy is oriented toward the foreign market. In the world market the Philippines serves as a supplier of traditional agricultural commodities, such as raw sugar and copra, as well as of lumber and mineral raw materials, including copper ore, iron ore, and chromites.

Agriculture. Agriculture is largely based on land cultivation, dominated by small-scale capitalist and precapitalist economy. The basic production unit is the small peasant farm. Prior to the adoption of the agrarian reform in 1972, huge tracts of land were concentrated in the hands of semifeudal-type landowners. According to data for 1960, the number of small-scale tenant and semitenant farmers (864,500 and 310,000 farms, respectively) exceeded the number of small farm owners (967,700 farms), although the latter worked more land than the former (4.1 million hectares and 3.1 million hectares, respectively). Of the total number of farms (about 2.2 million in 1960), more than 80 percent measured less than 5 hectares (ha), of which more than 40 percent measured less than 2 ha; 13.4 percent of the farms were between 5 and 10 ha, 4.6 percent between 10 and 20 ha, and 1 percent more than 20 ha.

The goal of the agrarian reform is to transfer farm ownership to the peasants, each farm consisting of 3 ha if irrigated or 5 ha if not irrigated. However, the implementation of this reform has been fraught with difficulties of a political and economic nature and has encountered resistance on the part of landowners. The land has remained in the hands of the small-scale landowners; only the large, feudal-type land holdings have been eliminated. The reform has not affected large capitalist farms—the owners, including foreign owners, of sugar, pineapple, and other plantations. The former métayers (in the grain-growing regions) have become tenant farmers with a fixed payment for the use of the land; upon payment by installment of the purchase price, they will be the owners. The agrarian reform envisages the transfer of 1.8 million ha of land over a 15-year period to 1 million peasants, for the most part, tenant farmers. By the beginning of 1975, documents for landownership (350,000 ha) had been obtained by 200,000 families, former métayers, of which only 34,000 had paid the full cost of their land and become the owners.

Of the total land area (according to 1974 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization), about 42 percent is occupied by

Table 1. Principal crops
 Area (ha)Yield (tons)
2Raw sugar(without muscovado)
Rice ...............2,080,0002,656,0003,700,0002,363,0003,203,0006,258,000
Corn ...............913,0001,388,0003,080,000572,000770,0002,650,000
Coconutpalm ...............1,051,000990,000739,00011,103,00011,890,0001
Sugarcane ...............230,000268,000516,000947,00021,244,00022,471,0002
Abacá ...............292,000217,000175,000172,000105,000133,000
Tobacco ...............57,90077,00032,10060,000

forests; 37 percent, or 11 million ha, is agricultural land, of which plowed lands occupy 7.6 million ha, perennial crops 2.7 million ha, and pastures and meadows 800,000 ha. Approximately 70 percent of the cultivated lands are under food crops, while the remaining lands are primarily under industrial crops. More than 1.2 million ha of rice fields are irrigated (1973); two crops are harvested each year from approximately one-fifth of the sown areas. High-yield varieties of rice, known as miracle rice, were introduced in 1966; however, the possibilities for a “green revolution” (for example, the introduction of special agrotechnical measures) are being hampered by inadequate financing, as well as by existing backward agricultural relations, which have only partially been eliminated by the agrarian reform.

Most of the cultivated lands are located in the central and southern parts of the island of Luzon and on the islands of Cebu, Panay, Negros, and Bohol, which constitute the “old agricultural regions,” primarily grain producing regions. The new agricultural regions are the island of Mindanao and the northern part of Luzon, in particular, the Cagayan Valley. Rice is cultivated mainly on the Central Plain and in the Cagayan Valley, located on Luzon, the Cotabato Valley, located on Mindanao, and the Central Plain, located on Panay. Corn is cultivated on the islands of Cebu, Leyte, and Mindanao. Other crops include sweet potatoes (camote), cassava, peanuts, vegetables, and some coffee and cacao. Plantings of rubber trees are also encountered (rubber production amounted to 35,000 tons in 1975). The principal export crops are sugarcane, coconut palms, abacá (Manila hemp), and tobacco. Most of the sugarcane plantations are on the island of Negros, which accounts for three-fourths of the total sugarcane harvest, and on the island of Luzon. Coconut palms are widespread in the coastal regions of the central part of the archipelago.

The Philippines is the native land of abacá (Manila hemp), cultivated primarily in the southeastern part of the islands of Mindanao and Luzon, as well as on the island of Leyte. Tobacco is cultivated primarily on the northern coast of Luzon. The leading fruits are pineapples (360,000 tons in 1975), bananas (1,281,000 tons), and mangoes (194,000 tons). See Table 1 for the area and yield of the principal agricultural crops.

Livestock-raising is of secondary importance. As of 1975 there were 7.3 million head of cattle, including 5 million buffalo (carabao), the principal work animal, and 9.7 million hogs, 1.4 million goats, and 51 million poultry.

FISHING. Fishing is done primarily in the surrounding waters. Between 1950 and 1974, the fish catch (sardines, mackerel, tuna) increased from 225,000 tons to 1.3 million tons.

LUMBERING. The Philippines supplies valuable wood (rosewoods and redwoods) to the world market. In 1974 the Philippines produced 32.4 million cu m of sawn lumber. In order to conserve timber reserves, the export of unprocessed wood of certain valuable tropical species has been banned since early 1976.

Industry. During the years of independence, especially since the 1960’s, industry has been considerably restructured. During the first phase, some development was achieved by branches of industry producing consumer goods that had previously been imported. Beginning in the 1960’s, enterprises of heavy industry have been created. Earlier industry was concentrated, for the most part, in the Greater Manila area; the new industries are being built elsewhere, in particular, on the Bataan Peninsula (Luzon) and in the vicinity of the city of Iligan (on Mindanao). Most of the industrial enterprises, numbering about 500,000, are of the small handicrafts type (with less than five employees each), in which more than 1 million persons are employed. The larger enterprises (with five or more employees), numbering more than 10,000, employ more than 400,000 persons.

MINING AND ENERGY PRODUCTION. The Philippines are rich in various minerals; however, the reserves of mineral and energy resources have not been adequately studied. Coal (100,000 tons in 1975), iron, manganese, and copper ores are mined, as well as chromites and mercury. The mining of nickel was begun in 1970 on Nonoc Island, Surigao Province, where a plant has been built for processing nickel ore; the plant has an annual capacity of 34,000 tons of nickel and 1,000 tons of cobalt (by metal content). Gold and silver are also mined. Deposits of phosphates and pyrites and marble quarries are being worked. Explorations are being carried out for petroleum on the shelf area in the South China Sea.

Electric power production is based primarily on imported fuel. In 1973 the electric power capacity amounted to 3 million kW, including about 900,000 kW from hydroelectric power plants.

MANUFACTURING. Of the greatest importance in the manufacturing industry are light industry and food processing, dominated by the production of sugar, the processing of rice and coconut-palm products (copra, oil), and the production of woven articles (from abacá), tobacco goods, and canned fruit. The production of textiles, leather goods and footwear, and furniture is also important. There are a number of metalworking plants, including enterprises for the assembly of trucks, automobiles, and electrical appliances using imported parts. There are also chemical plants (phosphates, nitrogen fertilizers), factories for the production of rubber goods (for example, tires), and metallurgical enterprises. Building materials, such as cement and glass, are also produced.

See Table 2 for the principal types of industrial output.

Table 2. Major industrial output
11974 data
2By Cu content in concentrate
3ByZn content in concentrate
41971 data
Electric power (billion kW-hr) ...............6.56.412.5
Iron ore, commercial (million tons) ...............
Manganese ore, commercial (thousand tons) ...............
Chromites, commercial (thousand tons) ...............556580.35301
Copper2 (thousand tons) ...............160226226
Zinc3 (thousand tons) ...............3.25.410.4
Mercury (tons) ...............173474281
Gold (tons) ...............19.8418.115.81
Silver (tons) ...............60.3458.8531
Pyrites (thousand tons) ...............24041251001
Lumber (thousand m3) ...............1,115
Sugar (million tons) ...............
Cement (million tons) ...............
Cotton fabrics (million m) ...............145222184
Tires (thousand units) ...............78048451.1081
Motor vehicles (thousand units) ...............18.7430.544.4

Traditional cottage industries produce simple farm tools, wooden vessels, clothing, woven hats and baskets, nets, rope, metal articles (for example, bolos), gold and silver jewelry, cotton fabrics and embroidered goods, and wood carvings.

Transportation. There are 1,200 km of railroad on the island of Luzon, 117 km on the island of Panay, and 86 km on the island of Cebu (not operating since 1948). Air service is provided by the Philippine Airlines; there are international airports in Manila and on Mactan Island.

The length of paved highways is 28,400 km; construction of a 1,300-km trans-Philippine highway, from the city of Aparri to the city of Davao, was begun in 1976. As of 1973, the number of motor vehicles totaled 600,000.

The annual cargo turnover of the ports exceeds (1974) 40 million tons. The chief port is Manila, handling 8.5 million tons; four-fifths of the country’s imports and one-fifth of the exports pass through Manila. Other ports include Cebu, Iloilo, Zamboanga, Batangas (about 6 million tons, mostly petroleum), and Davao. Coastal shipping is well developed. The tonnage of the national merchant marine is (1975) 900,000 gross registered tons; most of the foreign-trade cargo is carried on foreign vessels. At the beginning of 1976, the government decided to create a national shipping company.

Foreign trade. Approximately two-thirds of the value of exports are provided by agricultural products, including sugar, which accounts for about 25 percent of export earnings, coconut products, for the most part coconut oil, and logs, lumber, copper concentrates, and ores of nonferrous and ferrous metals. The leading imports are petroleum, machinery, transportation equipment, metals, and fertilizers.

The principal trading partners of the Philippines are the USA and Japan. In 1974 the USA accounted for 42.4 percent of the value of exports and 23.2 percent of the value of imports, while Japan accounted for 34.8 and 27.5 percent, respectively. Trade with the socialist countries have been developing since 1972.

In 1974 the Philippines was visited by 492,000 tourists. The unit of currency is the peso (1 peso = 100 centavos).


Baryshnikova, O. G., and I. F. Zhulev. Filippiny. Moscow, 1975.
Baryshnikova, O. G. Filippiny. Moscow, 1960.
Savel’ev, N. A. Filippiny. Moscow, 1960.
Baryshnikova, O. G. Sel’skoe khoziaistvo Filippin. Moscow, 1972.
Zhulev, I. F. Rabochii klass Filippin. Moscow, 1975.

The armed forces comprise the army, air force, and navy. The commander in chief is the president; direct leadership is exercised by the Department of National Defense. Service in the armed forces is compulsory, and males who have reached the age of 18 are called up for military service. Personnel is also recruited by hiring. The armed forces numbers (late 1975) about 67,000 persons. The army, which numbers 39,000 men, includes three light infantry divisions, two independent infantry brigades, and several artillery and other units. The air force, which numbers 14,000 men, includes more than 50 combat airplanes, 65 transport airplanes, and 25 helicopters. The navy, which numbers 14,000 men, includes 46 various-type cutters, four minesweepers, and 11 landing ships; there are also five marine battalions.

Medicine and public health.

According to 1975 data of the World Health Organization, the birthrate in the Philippines during the period 1970–75 was 26.1 per 1,000 population, and the mortality rate, 6.9; infant mortality was 58.9 per 1,000 live births. The principal causes of death are infectious diseases, such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, and gastrointestinal diseases. Also widespread are typhoid fever, cholera, poliomyelitis, and leprosy. Malaria and schistosomiasis constitute a serious health problem in certain regions. Death from cardiovascular diseases and cancer is on the rise, accounting for 14 percent of all deaths in 1975.

The country is divided into 11 health-care regions; the medical service is headed by the Department of Health.

In 1969 there were 764 hospitals in the Philippines, with 43,500 beds (1.2 beds per 1,000 population); there were also 1, 500 rural health-care centers, 700 children’s health-care centers, 300 dental offices, 36 stations for combating malaria, and ten dispensaries. According to incomplete data, there were about 14,000 physicians in 1971 (one physician per 2,600 inhabitants) and 19,000 paramedical personnel. Physicians are trained at seven medical schools; however, a considerable number of the graduates emigrate to other countries.

Expenditures on health care amounted to 5.9 percent of the state budget in 1974.


Veterinary services. Hog cholera, Newcastle disease, and fowl mycoplasmosis and coccidiosis are widespread in the Philippines, as are the pasteurellosis of cattle and fascioliasis. Also encountered are rinderpest and, among poultry, anaplasmosis, babesiasis, trypanosomiasis, filariasis, cysticercosis, fowl cholera, and fowl pox. Diseases occurring less frequently include malignant anthrax, rabies, emphysematous carbuncle, brucellosis, tuberculosis, salmonellosis, leptospirosis, and mastitis.

The veterinary service is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. In 1975 the country had 580 veterinarians. Training in veterinary medicine is provided at the colleges of veterinary medicine of two state universities and at the privately owned Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the Araneta University Foundation.

More than 84 percent of the adult population is literate (early 1975). Most of the educational institutions, particularly the elementary schools, are state-owned, but there is no unified system of administration. Some of the secondary and higher educational institutions are owned by the Catholic Church.

The lowest level in the educational system is the kindergarten; in 1972 kindergartens were attended by 57,400 children ranging from three to seven years of age. The next level is the elementary school for children seven to 13 years of age; the course of study, which is free and compulsory, is six years in urban aras and four years in rural areas. The number of years of formal schooling of most of the population does not exceed four years of elementary school. Instruction in elementary schools is conducted in the native languages. Elsewhere it is primarily in English, although Tagalog is also used.

During the 1973–74 academic year, elementary schools had an enrollment of 7.8 million pupils. The term of instruction in secondary general-education schools is four years (two + two). During the 1973–74 academic year, secondary schools enrolled more than 1.8 million students. Vocational training, lasting from two to four years, is conducted on the basis of elementary school in special agricultural, industrial, trade, fishing, commercial, and other vocational schools. During the 1972–73 academic year, vocational schools enrolled 159,800 students.

Teachers for elementary schools are trained at teachers colleges, the largest of which is the Philippine Normal College in Manila (founded 1901), which has more than 3,600 students.

There are (1975) more than 40 universities and 600 colleges in the Philippines. More than 90 percent of the higher educational institutions are private and charge tuition; the term of instruction varies from two to seven years. Two universities are state-owned: the University of the Philippines in Quezon City (founded 1908), with more than 18,000 students, and Mindanao University in Maravi City (founded 1961), with more than 5,800 students. Also under state jurisdiction are several institutes and colleges. The largest private universities are the Far Eastern University in Manila (founded 1928), with more than 66,000 students, the University of Manila (founded 1913), with more than 64,000 students, and the University of Santo Tomás, a Catholic institution, also in Manila (founded 1611 by the Spanish), with more than 33,000 students. During the 1973–74 academic year, the universities and colleges had an enrollment of more than 810,000 students.

The largest libraries are the University of the Philippines Library, with more than 722,000 books, the National Library in Manila, with more than 360,000 books, and the Manila City Library. Most university libraries have extensive holdings.

Museums include the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila (founded 1901) and the Santo Tomás Museum, also in Manila (founded before 1682; reorganized 1865), which has divisions of history, natural history, and archaeology, as well as an art gallery.


There are more than 100 scientific research institutions in the Philippines. The state coordinates all scholarly and scientific activity through the National Science Development Board (founded 1958) and the National Research Council (founded 1934; reorganized 1947). In the early 1970’s, 0.22 percent of the gross national product was spent on scientific research. About 90 percent of the funds are allocated for applied research in agriculture, industry, and medicine and for the study of natural resources; only 10 percent is allocated for basic research.

The foremost scientific institutions are concentrated at the University of the Philippines, which has 26 research institutions, including the Institute of Social Work and Community Development, the Industrial Research Center, the College of Fisheries, the Agricultural Credit and Cooperatives Institute, the Institute of Planning, and the Institute of Economic Development and Research. Another important research institution is the Institute of Philippine Culture of the University of Mindanao. Research at the university scientific institutions and organizations is funded by the state or by private national and foreign sources.

State scientific institutions include the Philippine Atomic Research Centre (founded 1958 under the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission), the Development Academy of the Philippines (1973), the Philippine Inventors Commission, the Philippine Coconut Research Institute, the Metals Industry Research and Development Centre, the National Institute of Science and Technology, and the Social Work Centre (1952). The Philippine Academy was established in 1976. Scientific societies include the Philippine Economic Society (founded 1961), the Philippine Sociological Society (1953), the Psychological Association of the Philippines (1962), the Economic Development Foundation (1962), and the Philippine chapter (1960) of the Internation Association of Historians of Asia. Located in Los Baños is the International Rice Research Institute (founded 1962), where a number of rice varieties, including IR-8, have been developed; these are also cultivated in other Asian countries.


Sixteen daily newspapers were published in the Philippines in 1976, as well as about 250 periodical publications, with a total circulation of approximately 1 million. The most influential daily newspapers are The Bulletin Today (founded 1972; published in Manila), with a circulation of 250,000, the Philippines Daily Express (1972; published in Manila), with a circulation of 190,000, the Tagalog-language Balita (1972; published in Manila), with a circulation of 115,000, The Times Journal (1972; published in the city of Pasig), with a circulation of 90,000, and Business Day (1967; published in Quezon City), with a circulation of 25,000.

The government information agency—the Philippines News Agency—was founded in 1973. There are approximately 180 radio and 20 television stations in the country. The largest radio and television companies are the government-run Philippine Broadcasting Service and the privately owned Far East Broadcasting Company and Philippine Broadcasting Corporation. Television broadcasting was introduced in 1953.


The literature of the peoples and ethnologic groups of the Philippines has developed in Tagalog (Pilipino) and other native languages, such as Ilokano and Pampango, as well as in Spanish and English. The oldest examples of Philippine literature—folkloric works and epics (26 epic works are extant)—exhibit the influence of the Malay and Indo-Javan literary traditions. The Spanish colonial domination (16th through 19th centuries) exerted a great influence on the literature of the Philippines: with the conversion of the population to Catholicism, the literature acquired a religious content. The pasión (verse narrative of the Passion) and other genres emerged during this period. Adaptations of the Spanish medieval legend Bernardo Carpio appeared in the 16th century, as well as the curido, or corrido (lyrical epic ballad) and the awit (narrative poem with a heroic plot). In the 18th century the moro-moro, a theatrical presentation depicting the struggle between the Christians and Muslims, became popular. Secular literature in the indigenous languages emerged only in the 19th century.

The founder of Philippine literature is considered to be F. Baltazar (pen name Balagtas; 1788–1862), author of the narrative poem Florante at Laura (Florante and Laura; 1838). In 1856, M. de Castro published the novel in letters Urbana at ni Felisa (Urbana and Felisa), the first novel in the Tagalog language.

The emergence of a secular Spanish-language Philippine literature is linked with the work of J. Rizal (1861–96), a humanist and patriot, who was executed by the colonialists. His novels Noli me tangere (Touch Me Not; 1887) and El Filibusterismo (The Subversive; 1891) greatly influenced the subsequent development of Philippine literature, as did his verses and publicistic works. The national-liberation revolution of 1896–98 led to a powerful upsurge of national self-awareness, reflected in the flourishing of literature in the Spanish and indigenous languages. The transformation of the country into a US colony and the introduction of the English language interrupted the continuity in the development of Philippine literature. The galaxy of gifted Spanish-language poets and prose writers, including C. Apóstol (1877–1938), J. Balmori (1886–1948), and J. Palma y Velasquez (1876–1903), no longer had a wide readership; Spanish-language Philippine literature waned, although as late as the mid-20th century some works were still published in Spanish.

In the 20th century literature continued to develop in the native languages, particularly Tagalog. Novels by L. K. Santos (1879–1963) appeared, depicting everyday life and advocating socialist ideas, as well as novels by A. Tolentino (1867–1915). Under the influence of American writers, Philippine writers in the early 20th century turned to the short-story genre, which attained its high point by the 1940’s.

Contemporary poetry in the indigenous languages is extremely popular owing to its closeness to the syncretism still alive in the artistic consciousness of the Filipinos. A leading writer of Tagalog literature is A. V. Hernandez (1903–70), whose works are devoted to social problems.

During the 1930’s the theme of the “ordinary man” was introduced in poetry by a group of “rebel” poets, headed by A. Abadilla, who opposed rigid canons and rejected the traditional eight- and 12-syliable line in favor of free verse. Continuing Abadilla’s “revolt” were the writers R. S. Tinion (born 1937) and V. Almario (born 1945), among others.

Since the late 1960’s, literature in the indigenous languages has experienced a resurgence. Increasingly more works have been published in the indigenous languages, and a number of writers have ceased writing in English, turning instead to the native languages.

English-language Philippine literature has undergone the following phases according to the periodization by Philippine literary scholars: imitativeness (of American literature; 1900–24), experimentation and self-assertion (1924–35), and independence (since 1935). During the 1930’s a group of English-language writers gained prominence, including M. Arguilla and C. Bulosan, whose works dealt with the life of the lower classes. Philippine English-language writers, who clearly manifest great individuality, are characterized by the ability to analyze reality meticulously and to skillfully portray local color. According to Philippine and foreign literary criticism, the most important English-language Philippine writers are J. G. Villa (born 1911), N. Joaquín (born 1917), and N. V. M. González (born 1915), whose works are widely known outside the Philippines. The English-language literature is considered to be the most mature, although it is gradually being supplanted by literature in Tagalog.

On the whole, much of Philippine literature is characterized by hypertrophied didacticism combined with sentimentalism. Beginning with Rizal, increasingly more attention has been paid to political and social problems, which has introduced a strong publicistic trend into the literature.


Santos, A. Filippinskaia literatura. Moscow, 1965.
Castillo y Tuazon, T., and B. S. Medina, Jr. Philippine Literature From Ancient Times to the Present. Quezon City [1966].
Galdon, J. A. [ed.] Philippine Fiction. Quezon City, 1972.
Cruz, A. C. “Contemporary Philippine Literature: Themes and Trends.” Fookien Times Yearbook. Manila, 1973. Pages 244–47, 263.
Yabes, L. Y. “Philippine Literature and Its Place in World Literature.” Solidarity, 1974, vol. 8, no. 7, pp. 25–32.

The oldest artistic remains in the Philippines—ornamented pottery, including urns with modeled depictions of boats of the dead—date from the late Neolithic period (second and first millennia B.C). Among the diverse folk arts are the wood and bamboo carving of the Aeta aborigines; the carving and weaving of the mountain Malay peoples with stylized depictions of deities and the forces of nature; the artistic working of wood and metal, drawings, and fabrics of the Muslim Moro with their mythological motifs and floral and geometric designs; and the embroidery, braiding, jewelry-making, carving, and the production of masks and costumes for the mystery plays among the Christianized plains peoples, as well as the production of woodcuts and the figures of saints.

The traditional Philippine dwelling is a house on piles, roofed with palm leaves. Cities appeared during the colonial period, along with fortifications, churches, monasteries, and palaces in the baroque and classical styles. The forms typical of Spanish architecture were combined with folk ornamentation (for example, the church in Miagao, in Iloilo Province on the island of Panay). The buildings constructed during the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries in Manila reflected the influence of Western European and American architecture. This period saw the appearance of the patriotic paintings of J. de Luna and F. Hidalgo and the sculptures of G. Tolentino.

Among the architects that emerged in the 1930’s were P. Antonio, C. Concio, L. V. Locsin, and A. Nakpil, who combined modern architecture with the decorative folk elements (for example, the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, 1969, architect L. V. Locsin). Fashionable districts were built in the 1950’s in Manila, Makati, and Quezon City, contrasting with the numerous slums. F. Amorsolo founded a school of painting based on the realistic traditions of 19th-century art.

In contemporary Philippine art the influence of American modernism has encountered the resistance of artists striving to develop and renew the national traditions. The major monumental painter C. Francisco, the painters V. Edades, A. Magsaysay Ho, G. Ocampo, and V. Manansala, and the sculptors N. Abueva and E. Castrillo have created bright, emotional works depicting the toiling people and the history, mores, and countryside of the Philippines.


Concepción, L. Architecture in the Philippines. [Manila] 1967.
Duldulao, M. D. Contemporary Philippine Art. Manila, 1972.

The musical culture of the Philippines is diverse. The songs and dances of the various peoples on the different islands reflect the ethnic and religious differences. The songs and dances of the mountain and Muslim peoples have altered little since ancient times. Numerous ancient songs and dances—such as war, wedding, and work songs and dances—have been preserved. Among the mountain dwellers the dances are quick, with intricate, changing rhythms; pantomime-improvisations are also popular. Among the Christianized peoples, who were subjected to the influence of the Spanish, Spanish dances are popular, such as the jota and habanera, as well as the Hispano-Philippine pandango sa Haw, a fandango performed with a candle in a glass tumbler on the head. Ancient ritual dances, for example, war and wedding dances, have also been preserved among the Christianized peoples.

National instruments include the bamboo and wooden nose flutes and other wind instruments, metal gongs, including the kulintang (eight gongs arranged horizontally in a row), and the kudyapi (a type of guitar), the git-git (a type of violin), and the bandurria, a type of mandolin designed by Professor J. Silos, a Philippine musician, teacher, and musicologist. The rondalla, a Philippine string orchestra, is popular.

Up to the 16th century, Philippine music developed, for the most part, under Malay and Indian influence. With the arrival of the Spanish colonialists, Spanish religious (Catholic) music became widespread, as well as secular music, including dance music. Composers of the 17th and 18th centuries include M. de San Agustin and J. Alfaro.

Professional music developed in the 19th century. Church music was written by M. Adonay. Until the early 20th century, Philippine musicians studied in Western Europe and the USA. In 1916 a conservatory was opened at the University of the Philippines, and subsequently music colleges and schools appeared elsewhere. Musical institutions and groups arose in Manila and Quezon City.

Philippine music first exhibited the influence of Western European and American music in the early 20th century. Philippine composers of the mid-20th century turned to the old, non-Hispanicized music in search of ways to develop national music. They created arrangements of the dance melodies of the various peoples and composed vocal works based on the poems of the national poets. The most important composers have also written large works. Among them are J. Silos, J. Estella, and A. Molina, composers of musical dramas and orchestral and chamber-instrumental works, and F. Buencamino, Sr., composer of the Mayon Concerto for piano and orchestra, as well as of piano pieces and songs. Other such composers are F. Padilla de Leon, author of the opera Noli me tangere, based on J. Rizal’s novel, and J. Maceda, whose Ugma-Ugma, Music, and other experimental works combine modern composition techniques with elements of the traditional folk music of Southeast Asia. During the 1970’s the composer J. A. Dadap gained prominence.

The center of Philippine musical life is Manila, home of the National Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by the conductor R. Romero, who has toured the USSR several times. The orchestra’s principal task is to revive the folk musical traditions and acquaint the public with foreign music, including Russian music, both classical and Soviet. A number of other cities also have musical societies and theaters and symphony, chamber, and folk orchestras, performing classical and contemporary European and American music and Philippine works.

The most popular song and dance ensembles are Bayanihan (founded 1956; toured the USSR 1968, 1971, and 1977), the Filipinesca Dance Company (founded 1958; directed by L. O. Goguingco; toured the USSR), and the Madrigal Chamber Orchestra of the University of the Philippines. Also in Manila is the Manila Symphony Orchestra (artistic director, J. Regalado), the Philarmonic Orchestra of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (artistic director, L. Valencia), and the Manila Concert Orchestra (orchestra manager, E. Prospero), all of which include Russian and Soviet works in their repertoire. Since the 1960’s entertainment music (under the influence of American music) has become widespread, as well as rock music.

The leading Philippine musical organizations are the National Music Council, the Filipino Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Commission for Folk Songs and Dances, and the Philippine Music Educators’ Group, whose prominent members include S. Brimo, E. Dizon, and L. Kasilag. Music schools, in addition to the conservatory, include the College of Music and Fine Arts at the Philippine Women’s University and the music schools and colleges of the Silliman and Far Eastern universities and the University of Santo Tomás in Manila. There are music schools at the university in Quezon City and elsewhere.


Bañas y Castillo, R. The Music and Theatre of the Filipino People. Manila, 1924.
Santiago, F. The Development of Music in the Philippine Islands. Quezon City, 1957.
Molina, A. J. Music of the Philippines. Manila, 1967.

Philippine theater and drama, reflecting the complex development of Philippine culture, has at various times used Tagalog and related languages of the Philippine Archipelago, as well as Spanish and English. The theater absorbed the traditions of the Chinese, Indian, and Indonesian theaters, as well as those of the Spanish and American theater.

The modern Philippine theater traces its origin to the ancient Philippine collective animistic incantations and spells accompanied by ritual dances in masks. The most widely studied theatrical form is the karagatan—a series of humorous dialogues in verse, telling the story of a ring cast by a maiden into the sea and found by a youth after numerous adventures. Ancient theatrical presentations often depicted various types of work activity through song and dance, and acted out episodes from the Hindu epic the Ramayana.

During the years of the Spanish domination, the moro-moro, a genre of adventure-comedy, arose; the genre has remained popular to this day. The moro-moro is a dramatization of the struggle between the Hispano-Philippine Christians and the warring Muslims; the first play, Guerra piraticas (The Pirate War) by G. Perez, similar to the cape and sword comedies with dances, was staged in 1637. At the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, moro-moros in the regional languages also appeared. Merry narrative poems drawn from Philippine life— awits—were also presented, as well as lyrical-epic and heroic ballads on biblical and secular themes— curiaos or corridos; these were created by the authors of the moro-moros, among whom was the founder of modern Tagalog poetry, F. Balagtas (F. Baltazar), as well as P. Oradal, H. de Vera, Huseng Siaiw (J. de la Cruz), and S. Reyes. This period also saw the emergence of the carillo—a lyrical shadow play closely resembling Chinese and Japanese plays and usually presented at the end of harvest, often by moonlight.

The zarzuela became popular in the mid-19th century and formed the basis of the repertoire of the first Philippine amateur theaters, created in the mid-19th century in Manila—Narciso de la Escosura’s troupe (founded 1848) and Manuel Lopez Ariza’s company (founded 1852)—both of which performed Spanish plays. The first Philippine zarzuelas were written by J. Rizal and S. Reyes. At the beginning of the 20th century writers of the zarzuela became openly anti-American, and such zarzuelas as P. Poblete’s Pag-ibig sa Lupang Tinubuan (Love of Country), T. Remigio’s Free, J. Abad’s Tanikalang Guinto (The Golden Chain), Reyes’ Walang Sugan (Not Wounded), and A. Tolen-tino’s Kahapow, Ngayow, at Bukas (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow), written in Tagalog and Pampangan, played an important role in the Philippine liberation struggle.

Numerous religious festivals—fiestas—some lasting several days, were accompanied by various theatrical presentations on biblical themes, in which the churchgoers themselves took part. Although Spanish actors frequently toured throughout the Philippines, theater in Spanish never developed.

Before World War II (1939–45) the Theatrical Circle, a modest-sized amateur group, was the only theater in the Philippines. Tagalog drama, which had taken shape by the early 20th century on the basis of the moro-moro and the zarzuelas, was represented primarily by one-act plays. The first amateur theater in English, the Little Theatre, was formed in Manila in 1914. Actors and theatergoers were few, primarily students and teachers from the University of the Philippines.

During the Japanese occupation (1942–45), Tagalog theater developed rapidly owing to government support. After independence was attained in 1946, most of the plays were written in Tagalog, and the European classics that were staged in the Philippines, including A. P. Chekhov’s plays, were translated into Tagalog.

Among the amateur, training, and semiprofessional theater groups in the Philippines are the Barangay Theatre Guild in the quarters of the Little Theatre (founded 1939; directors, L. Avellana and D. Hontiveros-Avellana), the Filipino Artists Workshop (founded 1959 by the American actor J. Forester), the Meralco Theatre, and the Rajah Sulayman Theatre.

The semiprofessional theater of today is closely linked with traditional folk theatrical presentations, such as the moro-moros and zarzuelas, as well as with the best of world theater. Appearing since 1972 in Manila and other cities has been the small Bata-Batuta children’s traveling theater, under the direction of A. Kabigting and C. Atayde.


Makarenko, V. A. “Osnovnye cherty poslevoennoi filippinskoi literatury.” In the collection Literatury zarubezhnoi Azii v sovremennuiu epokhu. Moscow, 1975. Pages 171–201.
Brandon, J. R. Theatre in Southeast Asia. Cambridge, Mass., 1967. (Contains a bibliography.)

The regular production of motion pictures was begun in 1919, when a national motion-picture company was founded by the director and actor J. Nepomuceno. The first feature film in Tagalog was Dalagang Bukid (The Country Maiden), a screen version of H. Ilagan’s zarzuela of the same name; the principal roles were played by two leading zarzuela performers—the actress and singer A. de la Rama, who gave a brilliant performance, and M. Ilagan. One of the best silent films is Ang Tatlong Hanbug (The Three Swells; 1926), a serial comedy with L. Tuason and E. Cooper in the principal roles. The first English-language films were made in 1924 by a company headed by V. Salumbides, which also produced the first semidocumentary film, The Soul Saver. The year 1932 saw the release of the first sound films—G. P. Musser’s Ang Aswang (The Spirit) and Nepomuceno’s Punyalna Girito (Golden Dagger), both in Tagalog. Spanish-language films were not made.

Motion pictures in Tagalog have the widest audience. During the prewar years Tagalog-language films were produced by two comparatively large motion-picture associations—Sampaguita Pictures, Inc. (founded 1937) and LVN Pictures, Inc. (founded 1938; each letter in the name stands for the first letter of the organizers’ surnames)—both of which drew on the country’s history and mythology for their film plots. A leading producer and director of this period was N. de Leon (Doña) Sisang. Among the most popular prewar motion pictures in Tagalog were the comedies Punit na Bandila (The Torn Banner) and Tanglaw sa Kaimlan (Light in the Darkness), the musical Leron-Leron, Sinta (Leron, Leron, My Beloved), and the films Takip-silim (Dusk) and Sihim ng Lumang Simboryo (The Secret of the Old Church). The development of cinematography was greatly influenced by the American motion-picture industry, from which the detective, western, and other genres were borrowed.

During the years of the Japanese occupation the motion-picture industry was virtually at a standstill owing to a lack of film and equipment. Immediately after the country’s liberation and the proclamation of the republic (1946), a new studio was organized—Premiere Productions (founder and president, C. Santiago), which made, along with entertaining films, motion pictures about the life of the mountain tribes.

Among the popular films of the 1950’s were Katohanan o Guniguni (Reality or Daydreams), Bakit Dugo ang Kulay ng Gabi? (Why Is the Night Redder Than Blood?), Harana (Harana), and Hanggang sa Dulo ng Daigdig (Until the End of the World), directed by G. de Leon. English-language films included Paris Romance and The Poor Man, as well as the historical film Badjao (1957); the last, made by L. V. Avellana, the most important Philippine director, was shown at the international film festival of Asian and African countries in 1958. During the 1950’s and 1960’s the Philippines was inundated with American films, and Philippine moviemakers began producing their own cowboy, gangster, horror, and pornographic films.

Among the leading film personalities of the older generation are the actresses A. Fuentes, C. Solis, D. Razon, C. Lopez, L. Gutierrez, D. Montes, D. Romualdez, R. Gomez, A. P. Ma-notok, M. Moran, and M. Sobel and the actors R. Bustamente, R. Belmonte, R. Roa, R. Miranda, and E. Salcedo. The leading directors include L. Avellana, G. de Leon, M. Conde, L. Salvador, A. Cayado, A. Herrera, G. Fernandez, and L. Nepomuceno.

The Filipino Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, founded in 1952, presents annual awards to the best directors and actors (the Philippine Oscars) and has sponsored the Manila Film Festival since the mid-1960’s. As a result of the influx of Western European and American films, the Board of Censors was created in the early 1970’s.

Philippine moviemakers strive to acquaint audiences with the country’s history, traditions, music, songs, dances, and contemporary problems. Examples are Diligan ng Hamog ang Uhaw na Lupa (Water-parched Earth; 1975), a film directed by A. Buenaventura about the hard lot of the peasants, only recently exploited by the landowners and subjected to onslaughts by armed bands, and Kill the Pusher, directed by J. Estrada (shown at the fourth international film festival of the countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1976). However, these films lack a certain professional quality.

In the mid-1970’s the motion-picture industry released about 180 feature films annually, which were shown in 807 motion-picture theaters (1975). Films are being made in various languages of the Philippine peoples. Film courses and other courses related to the art of the cinema are offered at the Sampaguita School of Drama, Araneta University Foundation, and other schools.


Makarenko, V. A. “Osnovnye cherty poslevoennoi filippinskoi literatury.” In the collection Literatury zarubezhnoi Azii v sovremennuiu epokhu. Moscow, 1975. Pages 193–97.
Salumbides, V. Motion Pictures in the Philippines. Manila [no date].
Torre Nestor, U. “The Filipino Film: 1969–70.” Fookien TimesYearbook, 1970.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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