The economic history of the Philippine Islands had been traced back to the pre-colonial times.
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Aside from trade relations, the natives were also involved in aquaculture and fishing. The natives make use of the salambao , which is a type of raft that utilizes a large fishing net which is lowered into the water via a type of lever made of two criss-crossed poles.
Night fishing was accomplished with the help of candles made from a particular type of resin similar to the copal of Mexico. Use of safe pens for incubation and protection of the small fry from predators was also observed, and this method astonished the Spaniards at that time. The natives already had a great economy and were considered one of the economic centers in Asia when the Spanish colonized and unified the islands.
Their economy grew even further when the Spanish government inaugurated the Manila Galleon trade system. Trading ships, settlers  and military reinforcements  made voyages once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean from the port of Acapulco in Mexico to Manila in the Philippines. Both cities were part of the then Province of New Spain.
This trade made the city of Manila one of the major global cities in the world, improving the growth of the Philippine economy in the succeeding years. Trade also introduced foodstuffs such as maize , tomatoes , potatoes , chili peppers , chocolate and pineapples from Mexico and Peru. Tobacco , first domesticated in Latin-America, and then introduced to the Philippines, became an important cash crop for Filipinos.
The Philippines also became the distribution center of silver mined in the Americas, which was in high demand in Asia, during the period. The Manila Galleon system operated until , when Mexico got its independence. Nevertheless, it didn't affect the economy of the islands.
The Basque-based company was granted a monopoly on the importation of Chinese and Indian goods into the Philippines, as well as the shipping of the goods directly to Spain via the Cape of Good Hope.
This resulted in the Philippines being governed directly by the King of Spain and the Captaincy General of the Philippines while the Pacific islands of Northern Mariana Islands , Guam , Micronesia and Palau was governed by the Real Audiencia of Manila and was part of the Philippine territorial governance. It made the economy of the Philippines grow further as people saw the rise of opportunities.
Agriculture remained the largest contributor to economy, being the largest producer of coffee in Asia as well as a large produce of tobacco. The industrialization of Europe created great demands for raw materials from the colonies, bringing with it investment and wealth, although this was very unevenly distributed. Governor-General Basco had opened the Philippines to this trade. Previously, the Philippines was seen as a trading post for international trade but in the nineteenth century it was developed both as a source of raw materials and as a market for manufactured goods.
The economy of the Philippines rose rapidly and its local industries developed to satisfy the rising demands of an industrializing Europe. A small flow of European immigrants came with the opening of the Suez Canal, which cut the travel time between Europe and the Philippines by half.
New ideas about government and society, which the friars and colonial authorities found dangerous, quickly found their way into the Philippines, notably through the Freemasons, who along with others, spread the ideals of the American, French and other revolutions, including Spanish liberalism. In the Royal Company of the Philippines was abolished, and free trade was formally recognized. With its excellent harbor, Manila became an open port for Asian, European, and North American traders.
European merchants alongside the Chinese immigrants opened stores selling goods from all parts of the world. In additional ports were opened to foreign commerce, and by the late nineteenth century three crops—tobacco, abaca, and sugar—dominated Philippine exports. The economy of the Philippines during the insurgency of the First Philippine Republic remained the same throughout its early years but was halted due to the break out of the Philippine—American War. When the Americans defeated the first Philippine Republic and made the Philippines a showcase territory of the United States , the country saw a redevelopment under the American system.
Economy as well was re-developed. The Philippines saw the growth of the economy once again after the war as the Americans built new public schools, transportation, reform system, boutiques, offices and civic buildings. When the Great Depression happened in the United States, the Philippines on the other hand wasn't affected. Instead, the US relied on the Philippine economy throughout the depression era.
When the United States granted the Philippines commonwealth status, the country enjoyed a rapid growth of prosperity. Tourism, industry, and agriculture were among the largest contributors to the economy. Products included abaca a species of banana Janssen , coconuts and coconut oil, sugar, and timber. Numerous other crops and livestock were grown for local consumption by the Filipino people.
Manila became one of the most visited cities in Asia alongside Hong Kong. Manila was considered to be the most beautiful city in Asia.
This sentiment drew tourists from around the world, helping to boost the Philippine economy. The performance of the economy was good despite challenges from various agrarian uprisings. Taxes collected from a robust coconut industry helped boost the economy by funding infrastructure and other development projects. The people enjoyed a first world economy until the time when the Philippines was dragged into World War II. That resulted to a recession in the economy. Due to the Japanese invasion establishing the unofficial Second Philippine Republic , the economic growth receded and food shortages occurred.
Prioritizing the shortages of food, Jose Laurel, the appointed President, organized an agency to distribute rice, even though most of the rice was confiscated by Japanese soldiers. Manila was one of the many places in the country that suffered from severe shortages, due mainly to a typhoon that struck the country in November The people were forced to cultivate private plots which produced root crops like kangkong. The Japanese, in order to raise rice production in the country, brought a quick-maturing horai rice, which was first used in Taiwan.
Horai rice was expected to make the Philippines self-sufficient in rice by , but rains during prevented this. Also during World War II in the Philippines, the occupying Japanese government issued fiat currency in several denominations; this is known as the Japanese government-issued Philippine fiat peso.
The first issue in consisted of denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 50 centavos and 1, 5, and 10 Pesos. The next year brought " replacement notes " of the 1, 5 and 10 Pesos while ushered in a Peso note and soon after an inflationary Pesos note.
In , the Japanese issued a 1, Pesos note. This set of new money, which was printed even before the war, became known in the Philippines as Mickey Mouse money due to its very low value caused by severe inflation. Anti-Japanese newspapers portrayed stories of going to the market laden with suitcases or " bayong " native bags made of woven coconut or buri leaf strips overflowing with the Japanese-issued bills. After the re-establishment of the Commonwealth in , the country was left with a devastated city, food crisis and financial crisis.
A year later in , the Philippines got its independence in America, creating the Third Philippine Republic. In an effort to solve the massive socio-economic problems of the period, newly elected President Manuel Roxas reorganized the government, and proposed a wide-sweeping legislative program.
Among the undertakings of the Third Republic's initial year were: The establishment of the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation which would be reorganized in as the Development Bank of the Philippines ;  the creation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the organization of the foreign service through Executive Order No.
President Roxas moved to strengthen sovereignty by proposing a Central Bank for the Philippines to administer the Philippine banking system  which was established by Republic Act No. In leading a "cash-starved  government" that needed to attend a battered nation, President Roxas campaigned for the parity amendment to the Constitution. The President, with the approval of Congress, proposed this move to the nation through a plebiscite.
The Roxas administration also pioneered the foreign policy of the Republic. When President Carlos P. Garcia won the elections, his administration promoted the "Filipino First" policy, whose focal point was to regain economic independence; a national effort by Filipinos to "obtain major and dominant participation in their economy. Another achievement of the Garcia administration was the Bohlen—Serrano Agreement of , which shortened the term of lease of the US military bases in the country from the previous 99 to 25 years.
President Diosdado Macapagal, during his inaugural address on 30 December , emphasized the responsibilities and goals to be attained in the "new era" that was the Macapagal administration. He reiterated his resolve to eradicate corruption, and assured the public that honesty would prevail in his presidency. President Macapagal, too, aimed at self-sufficiency and the promotion of every citizen's welfare, through the partnership of the government and private sector, and to alleviate poverty by providing solutions for unemployment.
Among the laws passed during the Macapagal administration were: The administration lifted foreign exchange controls as part of the decontrol program in an attempt to promote national economic stability and growth. Marcos declared martial law in the midst of rising student movements and an increasing number communist and socialist groups lobbying for reforms in their respective sectors.
Leftists held rallies to express their frustrations to the government, this restiveness culminating in the First Quarter Storm , where activists stormed Malacañang Palace only to be turned back by the Philippine Constabulary. There was further unrest, and in the middle of the disorder on 21 September , Marcos issued Proclamation No. Much of the money was spent on pump-priming to improve infrastructure and promote tourism.
However, despite the aggressive borrowing and spending policies, the Philippines lagged behind its Southeast Asia counterparts in GDP growth rate per capita. The country, in —, only registered an average 5. This lag, which became very apparent at the end of the Marcos Regime, can be attributed to the failures of economic management that was brought upon by State-run monopolies, mismanaged exchange rates, imprudent monetary policy and debt management, all underpinned by rampant corruption and cronyism.
Income inequality grew during the era of martial law, as the poorest 60 percent of the nation were able to contribute only The richest 10 percent, meanwhile, took a larger share of the income at This can be attributed to lower real agricultural wages and lesser real wages for unskilled and skilled laborers.
Real agricultural wages fell about 25 percent from their level, while real wages for unskilled and skilled laborers decreased by about one-third of their level.
It was observed that higher labor force participation and higher incomes of the rich helped cushion the blow of the mentioned problems. The Aquino administration took over an economy that had gone through socio-political disasters during the People Power revolution, where there was financial and commodity collapse caused by an overall consumer cynicism, a result of the propaganda against cronies, social economic unrest resulting from numerous global shortages, massive protests, lack of government transparency, the opposition's speculations, and various assassination attempts and failed coups.
At that point in time, the country's incurred debt from the Marcos Era's debt-driven development began crippling the country, which slowly made the Philippines the "Latin-American in East Asia" as it started to experience the worst recession since the post-war era. Most of the immediate efforts of the Aquino administration was directed in reforming the image of the country and paying off all debts, including those that some governments were ready to write-off, as possible.
This resulted in budget cuts and further aggravated the plight of the lower class because the jobs offered to them by the government was now gone. Infrastructure projects, including repairs, were halted in secluded provinces turning concrete roads into asphalt. Privatization of many government corporations, most catering utilities, was the priority of the Aquino administration which led to massive lay-offs and inflation.
The Aquino administration was persistent in its belief that the problems that arose from the removal of the previous administration can be solved by the decentralization of power. Growth gradually began in the next few years of the administration. Somehow, there was still a short-lived, patchy, and erratic recovery from to as the political situation stabilized a bit. With this, the peso became more competitive, confidence of investors was gradually regained, positive movements in terms of trade were realized, and regional growth gradually strengthened.
The Ramos administration basically served its role as the carrier of the momentum of reform and as an important vehicle in "hastening the pace of liberalization and openness in the country".
It was during this administration when the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas was established, and this administration was also when the Philippines joined the World Trade Organization and other free trade associations such as the APEC. During the administration, debt reduction was also put into consideration and as such, the issuance of certain government bonds called Brady Bonds also came to fruition in Key negotiations with conflicting forces in Mindanao actually became more successful during the administration, which also highlighted the great role and contributions of Jose Almonte as the key adviser of this liberal administration.
By the time Ramos succeeded Corazon Aquino in , the Philippine economy was already burdened with a heavy budget deficit.
This was largely the result of austerity measures imposed by a standard credit arrangement with the International Monetary Fund and the destruction caused by natural disasters such as the eruption of Mt.
Hence, according to Canlas, pump priming through government spending was immediately ruled out due to the deficit. Ramos therefore resorted to institutional changes through structural policy reforms, of which included privatization and deregulation.
He sanctioned the formation of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council LEDAC , which served as a forum for consensus building, on the part of the Executive and the Legislative branches, on important bills on economic policy reform measures 4. The daily brownouts that plagued the economy were also addressed through the enactment of policies that placed guaranteed rates.
The economy during the first year of Ramos administration suffered from severe power shortage, with frequent brownouts, each lasting from 8 to 12 hours.
Twenty power plants were built because of these, and in effect, the administration was able to eliminate the power shortage problems in December and sustained economic growth for some time. The economy seemed to be all set for long-run growth, as shown by sustainable and promising growth rates from to However, the Asian Crisis contagion which started from Thailand and Korea started affecting the Philippines.
This prompted the Philippine economy to plunge into continuous devaluation and very risky ventures, resulting in property busts and a negative growth rate. The remarkable feat of the administration, however, was that it was able to withstand the contagion effect of the Asian Crisis better than anybody else in the neighboring countries.
Most important in the administration was that it made clear the important tenets of reform, which included economic liberalization, stronger institutional foundations for development, redistribution, and political reform. The liberalization and opening of the capital opening culminated in full-peso convertibility in Although Estrada's administration had to endure the continued shocks of the Asian Crisis contagion, the administration was also characterized by the administration's economic mismanagement and "midnight cabinets.
Cronyism and other big issues caused the country's image of economic stability to change towards the worse. And instead of adjustments happening, people saw further deterioration and hopelessness that better things can happen. Targeted revenues were not reached, implementation of policies became very slow, and fiscal adjustments were not efficiently conceptualized and implemented.
All those disasters caused by numerous mistakes were made worse by the sudden entrance of the Jueteng controversy, which gave rise to the succeeding EDSA Revolutions. Despite all these controversies, the administration still had some meaningful and profound policies to applaud.
The administration presents a reprise of the population policy, which involved the assisting of married couples to achieve their fertility goals, reduce unwanted fertility and match their unmet need for contraception. The administration also pushed for budget appropriations for family planning and contraceptives, an effort that was eventually stopped due to the fact that the church condemned it.
The Estrada administration also had limited contributions to Agrarian Reform, perhaps spurred by the acknowledgement that indeed, Agrarian Reform can also address poverty and inequitable control over resources. In , however, fiscal deficits grew and grew as tax collections fell, perhaps due to rampant and wide scale tax avoidance and tax evasion incidences.
This boosted fiscal policy confidence and brought the economy back on track once again. Soon afterwards, political instability afflicted the country and the economy anew with Abu Sayyaf terrors intensifying. The administration's Legitimacy Crisis also became a hot issue and threat to the authority of the Arroyo administration. Due however to the support of local leaders and the majority of the House of Representatives, political stability was restored and threats to the administration were quelled and subdued.
Towards the end of the administration, high inflation rates for rice and oil in started to plague the country anew, and this led to another fiscal crisis, which actually came along with the major recession that the United States and the rest of the world were actually experiencing.
The important policies of the Arroyo administration highlighted the importance of regional development, tourism, and foreign investments into the country. Therefore, apart from the enactment and establishment of the E-VAT policy to address the worsening fiscal deficits, the administration also pushed for regional development studies in order to address certain regional issues such as disparities in regional per capita income and the effects of commercial communities on rural growth.
To further improve tourism, the administration launched the policy touching on Holiday Economics, which involves the changing of days in which we would celebrate certain holidays.
Indeed, through the Holiday Economics approach, investments and tourism really improved. As for investment, the Arroyo administration would normally go through lots of trips to other countries in order to encourage foreign investments for the betterment of the Philippine economy and its development.
The Philippines consistently coined as one of the Newly Industrialized Countries has had a fair gain during the latter years under the Arroyo Presidency to the current administration. According to the World Wealth Report, the Philippines was the fastest growing economy in the world in with a GDP growth of 7. The country markedly slipped to 3. In addition, the disruption of the flow of imports for raw materials as a result from floods in Thailand and the tsunami in Japan have affected the manufacturing sector in the same year.
Remarkably the economy grew by 6. The Philippine Stock Exchange index ended in the year with 5, The Philippine economy has been growing steadily over decades and the International Monetary Fund in reported it as the 39th largest economy in the world.
However its growth has been behind that of many of its Asian neighbors, the so-called Asian Tigers , and it is not a part of the Group of 20 nations. Instead it is grouped in a second tier for emerging markets or newly industrialized countries.
Depending on the analyst, this second tier can go by the name the Next Eleven or the Tiger Cub Economies. In the years and , the Philippines posted high GDP growth rates, reaching 6. A chart of selected statistics showing trends in the gross domestic product of the Philippines using data taken from the International Monetary Fund.
GDP growth at constant prices in Philippine pesos: As a newly industrialized country , the Philippines is still an economy with a large agricultural sector; however, services have come to dominate the economy. Filipinos who go abroad to work—-known as Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs—are a significant contributor to the economy but are not reflected in the below sectoral discussion of the domestic economy.
The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts producing 19,, tons in Coconut production in the Philippines is generally concentrated in medium-sized farms. Rice production in the Philippines is important to the food supply in the country and economy. The Philippines is the 8th largest rice producer in the world, accounting for 2. The Philippines is one of the largest producers of sugar in the world. As of Crop Year , 29 mills are operational divided as follows: The Philippines is a major player in the global shipbuilding industry with shipyards in Subic , Cebu , General Santos City and Batangas.
South Korea's Hanjin started production in Subic in of the 20 ships ordered by German and Greek shipping operators. General Santos' shipyard is mainly for ship repair and maintenance. Being surrounded by waters, the country has abundant natural deep-sea ports ideal for development as production, construction and repair sites.
On top of the current operating shipyards, two additional shipyards in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan province are being expanded to support future locators. It has a vast manpower pool of 60, certified welders that comprise the bulk of workers in shipbuilding. In the ship repair sector, the Navotas complex in Metro Manila is expected to accommodate 96 vessels for repair.
Toyota ,  Mitsubishi , Nissan and Honda are the most prominent automakers manufacturing cars in the country. Isuzu also produces SUVs in the country. Honda and Suzuki produce motorcycles in the country. A Canadian market research report predicted that further investments in this sector were expected to grow in the following years. Toyota sells the most vehicles in the country. Aerospace products in the Philippines are mainly for the export market and include manufacturing parts for aircraft built by both Boeing and Airbus.
Moog is the biggest aerospace manufacturer with base in Baguio in the Cordillera region. The company produces aircraft actuators in their manufacturing facility. A Texas Instruments plant in Baguio has been operating for 20 years and is the largest producer of DSP chips in the world. Presently the Philippine plant's focus is in the production of hard disk drives.
Printer manufacturer Lexmark has a factory in Mactan in the Cebu region. The country is rich in mineral and geothermal energy resources. Philippine gold, nickel, copper and chromite deposits are among the largest in the world. Other important minerals include silver, coal, gypsum, and sulphur. Significant deposits of clay, limestone, marble, silica, and phosphate exist. Low metal prices, high production costs, lack of investment in infrastructure, and a challenge to the new mining law have contributed to the mining industry's overall decline.
The industry rebounded starting in late when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of an important law permitting foreign ownership of Philippines mining companies. In , the Philippines has surpassed India as the world leader in business process outsourcing. In , BPO sector employment ballooned to over , people and is contributing to a growing middle class.