Economy

The economy of the Philippines is a free market economy in Southeast Asia and one of the newly industrialized emerging market economies of the world. It is the fastest-growing economy in the Southeast Asia posting a real GDP growth rate of 7.3% in the year 2007. It was also ranked as 25th largest economy by International Monetary Fund according to purchasing power parity. Despite of this development the Philippines still offers characteristic of a developing country. In spite of the considerable progress made in recent years the economy still have many features of a typical Third World country. The population is increasing at an explosive rate (1.764% annually, one of the highest in Asia) and is predominantly agricultural, with a swollen tertiary sector (distribution and service trades). The disproportionate growth of Metro Manila, which now has 40% of the country’s urban population, is an extreme case of the considerable regional imbalances, not only between different islands (Visayas and Mindanao having a privileged position compared with the rest of the archipelago) but also in different parts of Luzon, wherein certain provinces of are still backward and neglected, practising traditional farming methods and sometimes without roads, piped water supply or electricity. Port facilities and the road network are inadequate, in spite of the substantial amount of work done in recent years: As of 2000, the combined length of Philippine roads was 29,055 km, however, only 10,336 km or 36% of these roads are surfaced, and in the rainy season traveling is difficult, even on Luzon. At present, there is an oversupply of energy in the country however, only 87% of the 41,945 barangays (villages) in the whole archipelago have electricity. The average income per head has improved considerably but is still low; the average daily rate is 325 Php while the average coast of living per day is 544 Php. This figure mask the enormous difference between a powerful landowning oligarchy and the great mass of impoverished small peasants.

The important sectors of the Philippine economy include agriculture and industry, particularly food processing, textiles and garments, electronics and automobile parts. Mining also has a great potential in the Philippines, and recent natural gas discovery add to the country’s substantial energy reserves.