The Phillipines Over the past few years, the Philippines’ economy has undergone a remarkable transformation.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s the Philippines were stuck with poor political leadership, economic growth, and slow paced economic development. Today it is recognized globally that the Filipino economy has turned around to produce a positive growth. One of their biggest accomplishments has been the GNP growth rate rise from zero in the early nineties to between 5% and 6% today. The current president, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, is following the strong pace set by former president.
Under the Ramos administration, important steps were taken towards economic liberalization. These steps included the opening of banks and telecommunications sectors, and the changing of investment laws, which created a more attractive business alliance and stronger commercial relationships with the United States. Because of these events, the United States remains to be the number one trading partner of the Philippines, and they are among the United States top 25 trading partners. According to President Estrada’s speech on January 8, 1999, thanks to the actions of former president Ramos our country continues to enjoy positive growth despite the crisis in Asia.
In the region last year, only Singapore and the Philippines posted positive growth rates. Some of the major factors concerning the economic growth during Ramos’s term in office that Estrada intends to continue to give attention to are foreign relations, education, health, transportation, banking and trading. Modern education in the Philippines is becoming a major issue in the growth and stabilization of the country’s economy. During the last fifty years, education has become a major concern for this country, and it has recently been made more readily available through expansion. Despite this expansion, the quality of education was still not up to par and remains a concern today.
One problem facing the education system was a thirty- percent difference in the literacy level between rural and urban areas. Also, all families below the poverty line could not afford to educate their children beyond elementary school. These and other problems like poor teacher performance, overcrowded classrooms, lack of language skills and low wages could definitely benefit from new programs aimed at improving work productivity and family income. In 1990, over 10,000 foreign students studied in the Philippines, the majority of which were American.
Until recently, most of the students attending these schools had to be taught in three languages; English, Filipino and Spanish. Now the schools primarily focus on Filipino, which will relieve much stress on students and faculty, and promote faster progress in the future. Another controversy noticed by many American students was the fact that many education policies were fluctuating constantly, and were likely to be changed before teachers became used to them. The most important concern of the education system in the Philippines is the number of students who actually complete college, and are then unable to find a job that they were not grossly overqualified for.
These trained personnel could facilitate economic development if properly utilized, which is why the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports is working to develop better mandatory policies for and closer direct supervision for its schools. The workforce of the Philippine people is terrible. Not enough jobs are available for the people, and the ones that are low paying and long working. Over 40 % of the workforce were under 15 years of age in 1990. Agriculture comprises 45 percent of the current workforce, which is much lower than it had been in the past. In the last decade, the service sector (commerce, finance, transportation, and a host of private and public services) became the residual employer, accounting for almost 40 percent of the workforce.
A major problem with the workforce is the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate is currently 11.4 %. The worst part about this is that the majority of the unemployed is young, inexperienced people who were relatively well educated. Since the lack of job opportunities, the educated people find themselves unemployed because everyone is fighting for the higher jobs.
Another important aspect that helps dictate the economic growth of a country is health. In the Philippines the struggle against disease has been increasing over the years. Life expectancy rose from 51.2 years in 1960 to 69 years for woman and 63 years for men in 1990. In 1998 the numbers were up to 63.57 for men and 69.38 for woman. Infant mortality dropped from 101 out of 1000 in 1950 to 51.6 in 1989.
It has dropped all the way down to 34.56 out of 1000 in 1998. The biggest cause of death in the Philippines has always come from communicable diseases. The main reason for that is the health care facilities is mostly located in only urban areas. A bad part about all of these facilities is that there has always been a lack of personnel capable of running and maintaining these facilities.
Another big problem with health in the Philippines is the problem of illicit drugs. In 1983 more than 265 pharmaceutical drugs were sold in the Philippines that were banned in many other countries. By 1988, The department of health helped eliminate 128 of them. By 1998, another 45 had been eliminated. The Filipino’s use a dual health care system consisting of modern (Western) and traditional medicine.
The modern system is based on disease and medical treatment. The traditional is based on the fact that disease is caused and cured by supernatural force. Two many times than often if the cure was not right their the people will leave the thought of modern medicine and travel to the traditional way of curing people. This is a big reason for the large number of deaths from normal everyday diseases. Despite how much effort has been put into the medical attention, in 1990 over 50 % of the population were still listed below the poverty line.
Social security is also another big problem in the Philippines. In 1989 of the 22 million employed individuals, only 10.5 million were covered by social security. In health care and social security, the Philippines entered the 90’s as a modernizing society struggling with limited success to attain financial resources that would be able to provide people with a better life. Now, since then the number has risen, but not by much. An aspect of how the economy needs to grow is the issue of internal transportation.
Over the years the transportation methods have been becoming more modern and more easily accessible. Today, an extensive road network links most of the country. There are 156,997 kilometers of total roads, but less than 30,000 km are fully developed and can not be used in all weather conditions. There is 490 km of operational narrow-gauge railroad tracks out of the total 897-km of tracks.
Inland waterways total 3,219 km, but are limited to shallow draft vessels that can be no longer than 1.5 meters. Ferries are the primary mode of transportation between islands. The Pan-Philippine highway stretches from Zamboanga through many of the eastern islands, extending all the way up to the northern most island city of Laoag. In most places around the world transportation of the air is also a big method.
The Philippines have modernized their airports and now have a total of 87 airports, 52 of which are commercial flights and 35 are for general aviation. They have designated two international airports, which facilitate most major international airlines. Several domestic airports are currently undergoing technological improvements to better their flight servicing capabilities. Trading is a big part of any country’s economy. In the Philippines the largest amount of imports come from the United States. The Largest imports from the United States include electrical machinery, machinery, cereals, medical instruments, food waste, and animal feed.
In 1997, the Philippines total imports were 34 billion US dollars. The exports for the same year were 25 billion US dollars. The Philippines principal trade partners are the United States, Japan, European Union countries, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong. The Philippines has had a lengthy and complicated economic relationship with the United States. In 1949, the United States accounted for a little more than 80% of total Philippine trade. Thereafter, the rise of several other financially growing countries, mainly Japan, caused the decline of the United States’ portion of trade.
By 1988, the United States accounted for a mere 27 percent of total Philippine trade, compared to the 19 percent by Japan. At the time the Philippines was gaining their independence, they became involved in a number of agreements with the United States. The agreements in effect kept a close link with the United States and protected American business interests in the Philippines. One reason we will not be marketing our 3 wheel carts in the Philippines is because of the age groups. 38% of the population is between the ages of 0-14.
59% of the population are between the ages of 15-64 years of age. The remaining 3% is 65 years and older. Not only is the age group we would be able to market our product to scarce, but the life expectancy rate of the Philippines is only 66.35 years old. Since the 3 wheel carts are mainly used for transportation and shopping, they would not be needed in this country. The younger people, whom do not need this product, do most of the shopping and transportation.