Philippines

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Overview

Once a colony of Spain, the Philippines came under American control following the end of the Spanish-American War (1898). An independence movement fought a guerilla campaign against US Marines until 1901, when the leader of the rebels was captured. Washington appointed a commission to oversee the administration of the islands, which lasted until the 1930s when the US began to prepare Filipinos for increased sovereignty. That effort was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II when Japan invaded the Philippines. Following the recapture of the islands by US forces led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Philippines finally gained independence in 1946.

 
Political freedom lasted until the 1965 rise of Ferdinand Marcos, who consolidated power with the backing of the Philippine army and set out to rule the country indefinitely. Successive presidential administrations in the US turned a blind eye to the Marcos dictatorship, owing to American concerns over the spread of communism in South Asia and Marcos’ willingness to allow the US military to operate out of key Philippine installations at Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base. A leading Marcos critic, Benigno Aquino, fled the country, only to return in 1983 for elections. He was promptly assassinated. The killing of Aquino galvanized the political opposition, which rallied around Aquino’s widow, Corazon. After Marcos tried to manipulate the 1986 elections in his favor, mass protests broke out in Manila and elsewhere, launching the People’s Revolution. President Reagan, a personal friend of Marcos, supported him until presidential advisors warned him of the consequences. Once key military leaders withdrew their support for Marcos, the despot had no choice but to flee the country and seek exile in the US.
 
Once the Cold War ended during the presidency of Corazon Aquino, the importance of the Philippines as a strategic priority of the United States’ waned, and the US military decided to pull out of Subic Bay and Clark Airforce Base in the early 1990s. The security relationship between the US and the Philippines gained new life, however, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Struggling with its own Muslim and leftists threats, the Philippine government strongly supported the Bush administration’s war on terror. US military personnel have participated in training exercises on the islands and helped train the Philippine army in counter-insurgency warfare.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: The Philippines is a nation of 11 major islands and over 7,000 smaller ones stretching north-south for 1,200 miles, about 700 miles east of the coast of southeast Asia. The island chain, which merges with Taiwan in the north and Indonesia and Malaysia in the south, divides the South China Sea from the Pacific Ocean proper. Two thirds of the land area is concentrated on two islands, Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. The varied terrain includes plains, valleys, marshlands, plateaus, and coastal mountain ranges. There are many natural harbors along the 14,000 mile coastline. 

 
Population: 92.7 million
 
Religions: Catholic 85.0%, Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 6.4%, Protestant 4.3%, Ethnoreligious 2.85, Baha'i 0.3%, Buddhist 0.1%, Chinese Universalist 0.1%, non-religious 0.9%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3%.
 
Languages: Filipino (official), Cebuano 23.2%, Tagalog 16.8%, Ilocano 9.3%, Hiligaynon 8.1%, Bicolano (Albay, Central, Iriga...) 5.6%, Waray-Waray 2.8%, Pampangan 2.2%, Pangasinan 1.4%, Maguindanao 1.2%, Capiznon 0.7%, Ibanag 0.6%, Aklanon 0.5%, English (official) 0.04%. There are 171 official languages in the Philippines. 
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History

The first inhabitants of the Philippines arrived from the Asian mainland around 25,000 BC. They were followed by waves of Indonesian and Malayan settlers. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan visited the Philippines in 1521, and a subsequent exploration by the Spanish named the islands after Prince Philip (later Philip II of Spain). The Philippines was a colony of Spain until the late 18th century.

 
Spain still possessed the islands when the Spanish-American war broke out in 1898 with the United States. In defeating Spain, the US gained control of the Philippines. Filipinos, however, weren’t interested in exchanging one colonial power for another and Emilio Aguinaldo led a movement for independence. The Filipinos initiated a guerrilla war against US troops stationed on the islands that lasted until Aguinaldo’s capture in 1901.
 
The first US civilian governor-general of the Philippines was William Howard Taft (1901–1904). The US allowed the Filipinos to establish a legislature composed of an elected Senate and House of Representatives. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, officially known in the US as the Philippine Independence Act, began a slow process to grant sovereignty to the Philippines and in 1935, a constitution was approved that established the Commonwealth of the Philippines with Manuel Quezon y Molina as president.
 
The Filipinos’ hope for freedom was dashed when the Japanese invaded the islands on December 8, 1941. At the outbreak of World War II, the US had thousands of troops stationed on the islands led by General Douglas MacArthur. Outnumbered and cutoff by the Japanese, MacArthur slipped out of the Philippines, while his men were left behind They eventually surrendered along with thousands of Filipinos fighting alongside the Americans. The captured men were forced into what became known as the “Bataan Death March,” during which the Japanese subjected the American and Filipino soldiers to hike 60 miles to prison camps. Many of the 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war died along the way, either from exhaustion or abuse by the Japanese.
 
While the Japanese controlled the Philippines, Quezon instituted a government-in-exile that he headed until his death in 1944. He was succeeded by Vice President Sergio Osmeña. US forces under MacArthur reinvaded the Philippines in October 1944 and, after the liberation of Manila in February 1945, Osmeña reestablished the government.
 
The Philippines achieved full independence on July 4, 1946. Manuel A. Roxas y Acuña was elected its first president, succeeded by Elpidio Quirino (1948–1953), Ramón Magsaysay (1953–1957), Carlos P. García (1957–1961), Diosdado Macapagal (1961–1965), and Ferdinand E. Marcos (1965–1986).
 
Marcos is the Philippines most notorious ruler of the 20th century. Under Marcos, civil unrest broke out in opposition to the leader’s despotic rule. Martial law was declared in September 1972, and Marcos proclaimed a new constitution that ensconced himself as president. Martial law was officially lifted on January 17, 1981, but Marcos and his wife Imelda retained broad powers. Opposition to Marcos  led by Benigno Aquino, a longtime political leader whose criticism of Marcos forced him to flee the islands. In August 1983, Aquino attempted to return from exile and was assassinated at Manila International Airport. The murder proved a turning point for Marcos’ reign.
 
Outrage in both the Philippines and the US catapulted Aquino’s wife Corazon into the leadership of the opposition. In an attempt to placate the Reagan administration’s concerns over his rule, Marcos set presidential elections for February 7, 1986. With the support of the Catholic Church, Corazon Aquino ran against Marcos, who was declared the official winner. But independent observers reported widespread election fraud and vote rigging. Anti-Marcos protests exploded in Manila and two key members of the government — Defense Minister Juan Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos — defected to the opposition. With his base of power eroded, Marcos fled the country and entered the US on February 25, 1986.
 
The Marcos family went into exile in Hawaii and was later indicted for embezzlement in the United States. Marcos died in Honolulu on September 28, 1989 of kidney, heart and lung ailments. In 1995 some 10,000 Filipinos won a US class-action lawsuit filed against the Marcos estate. The charges were filed by victims or their surviving relatives for torture, execution and disappearances.
 
With Marcos gone, Aquino assumed the presidency. Her time in office was marked by coup attempts from Marcos supporters and other right-wing elements, including one by Enrile.
 
As the Cold War began to wind down in the late 1980s, the importance of the Philippines as a strategic asset to US security also began to fade. Negotiations on the renewal of leases for US military bases threatened to sour relations between the two countries, as the Filipino government sought more money from Washington. Further adding to the situation was volcanic eruptions from Mount Pinatubo, which caused considerable damage to Clark Air Base. US military officials decided in July 1991 to abandon the airfield, which had played a key role for US forces during the Vietnam War. The following year, the US Navy gave up on maintaining its port facility at Subic Bay, ending the United States’ longtime military presence in the Philippines.
 
In  1992, Gen. Fidel Ramos, who had the support of the outgoing Aquino, won the presidency in a seven-way race. One of Ramos’ challenges was tackling the separatist Moro National Liberation Front which was fighting a protracted war for an Islamic homeland on Mindanao, the southernmost of the two main islands. Another rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, also fought an ongoing campaign with the army.
 
In August 2001, both rebel groups signed unity agreements with the Philippine government. Frequent and violent clashes with these and other terrorist groups have continued, however. Abu Sayyaf, a small group of guerrillas that has been fighting since the 1970s for an independent Islamic state and reportedly has links to al-Qaeda, gained international notoriety with its spree of kidnappings and murders. Two leaders of Abu Sayyaf were killed in late 2006 and early 2007, dealing a serious blow to the group. The Philippine military has also battled the New People’s Army, a group of Communist guerrillas that have targeted Philippine security forces since 1969.
 
In May 1998, 61-year-old former action-film star Joseph Estrada was elected president of the Philippines. Within two years the Philippine Senate began proceedings to impeach Estrada, also known as Erap, on corruption charges. Massive street demonstrations and the loss of political support eventually forced Estrada from office. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of former president Diosdado Macapagal, became president in January 2001. In the May 2004 presidential elections, President Macapagal-Arroyo narrowly defeated film star Fernando Poe.
 
Macapagal-Arroyo faced a political crisis in the summer of 2005 after being caught on tape calling an election official during the 2004 presidential race. The recording seemed to suggest that she had tried to use her power to influence the outcome. An effort to impeach her failed to get off the ground.
 
Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency in February 2006, saying the government had foiled an attempted coup by the military. She also banned rallies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. Some observers dismissed the report of the coup attempt as political maneuvering to gain support and weaken the opposition. In June, she met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, where she announced that the Philippines would abolish the death penalty.
 
In September 2007, former president Estrada was convicted of corruption and sentenced to life in prison. The government announced two months later that it had reached a deal with the separatist Moro National Liberation Front that set boundaries for a Muslim homeland on the southern island of on Mindanao.
 
A typhoon sunk a ferry in June 2008, killing 865 passengers and crew members. Another 500 people died during the storm.
 
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History of U.S. Relations with Philippines

Following the end of the Spanish-American War, US officials insisted their role in the Philippines was not colonial but one of “tutelage” to prepare the islands for eventual independence. President William McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission, a five-person group headed by Dr. Jacob Schurman, president of Cornell University, and including Admiral Dewey and General Otis, to investigate conditions in the islands and to make recommendations. The commissioners acknowledged Filipino aspirations for independence, but they declared that the Filipinos were not ready for it. Instead, the Commission recommended the establishment of a civilian government, including a bicameral legislature, autonomous governments on the provincial and municipal levels, and a system of free public elementary schools.

 
The Second Philippine Commission, headed by William Howard Taft, was granted legislative as well as limited executive powers. Between September 1900 and August 1902, it issued 499 laws. A judicial system was established that includes a Supreme Court, a legal code was drawn up to replace existing Spanish ordinances, and a civil service was organized. The 1901 municipal code provided for popularly elected presidents, vice presidents, and councilors to serve on municipal boards. In July 1901 the Philippine Constabulary was organized as an archipelago-wide police force to enforce laws and deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement. After military rule was terminated on July 4, 1901, the Philippine Constabulary gradually took over from United States army units the responsibility for suppressing guerrilla and bandit activities.
 
When Japan launched its surprise attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, the defending Philippine and American troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who had been recalled to active duty and was designated commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The Japanese attack destroyed the US aircraft, and the naval forces were ordered to leave the islands to avoid being sunk. With the Japanese navy in command of the region, reinforcement and resupply of MacArthur’s ground forces were impossible. The combined American-Filipino forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay. Manila, declared an open city to prevent its destruction, was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942.
Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by increasingly effective underground and guerrilla activity that ultimately reached large-scale proportions. Postwar investigations showed that about 260,000 people were in guerrilla organizations and that members of the anti-Japanese underground were even more numerous. Japan controlled only 12 of the 48 provinces by the end of the war. The major element of resistance in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Huks, Hukbalahap, or the People’s Anti-Japanese Army organized in early 1942 under the leadership of Luis Taruc, a communist party member. The Huks armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over much of Luzon. Other guerrilla units were attached to the US Army.
 
MacArthur returned to the islands with Allied forces on October 20, 1944. Landings then followed on the island of Mindoro and around the Lingayen Gulf on the west side of Luzon, and the push toward Manila was initiated. Fighting was fierce, particularly in the mountains of northern Luzon, where Japanese troops had retreated, and in Manila, where they put up a last-ditch resistance. Guerrilla forces rose up everywhere for the final offensive. Fighting continued until Japan’s formal surrender to the US on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos were killed, a large proportion during the final months of the war, and Manila was extensively damaged.
 
The Philippine Trade Act (or Bell Act), passed by Congress in 1946, stipulated that free trade be continued between the US and the Philippines until 1954, when tariffs were increased 5% annually until full amounts were reached in 1974. Quotas were established for Philippine products both for free trade and tariff periods. At the same time, there were no restrictions on the entry of United States products to the Philippines, and no import duties. The Philippine peso was tied at a fixed rate to the dollar.
The most controversial provision of the Bell Act was the “parity” clause that granted United States citizens equal economic rights with Filipinos. If parity privileges of individuals or corporations were infringed upon, the US president had the authority to revoke any aspect of the trade agreement. Payment of war damages amounting to $620 million, as stipulated in the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946, was made contingent on Philippine acceptance of the parity clause.
 
In 1955 a revised United States-Philippine Trade Agreement (the Laurel-Langley Agreement) was negotiated. This treaty abolished the United States authority to control the exchange rate of the peso, made parity privileges reciprocal, extended the sugar quota, and extended the time period for the reduction of other quotas and for the progressive application of tariffs on Philippine goods exported to the United States.
 
During the Cold War, the Philippines joined the American-developed South East Asia Treaty Organization. SEATO was a NATO-type military alliance created to combat Communist threats in Southeast Asia.
 
The Philippines: The Marcos Years (National Security Archive, George Washington University)
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Current U.S. Relations with Philippines

Noted Filipino-Americans

Public Service
Philip Vera Cruz: co-founder of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which later merged with the National Farm Workers Association to become the United Farm Workers; vice-president of the United Farm Workers
 
Art/Entertainment/Media
Dante Basco: actor, dancer, producer. Actor in Hook as Rufio. Guest roles on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. Recurring role on Moesha. Star of the independent Filipino-American film entitled The Debut.
Tia Carrere: actress, model, and Grammy Award-winning singer. Widely known for her role as Cassandra in Wayne’s World 1 & 2
Vanessa Hudgens:singer and actress in the High School Musical movies as well as her most recent film Bandslam.
Cheryl Burke: professional dancer and two-time champion on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars
Michael Copon:actor who is best known for his role on One Tree Hill. He was also Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Time Force and star of Bring It On: In It to Win It
Kevin Kleinberg:Green Ranger in Power Rangers Time Force. He is of German-Filipino descent.
Allan Pineda (aka apl.de.ap): lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas
Nicole Scherzinger: lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls. Her father is Filipino and her mother is Russian Hawaiian
Rob Schneider:actor in Deuce Bigaolow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick and veteran of Saturday Night Live comedian. His mother is Filipina-American.
Teresa Victoria (T.V.) Carpio: Chinese/Filipina-American singer, songwriter, and actress. Played Prudence in Across the Universe. Appeared in one episode of The Jury and Law & Order. Acts on Broadway as Alexi Darling and others in Rent.
Chris Gatdula, Rynan Paguio, and Phil Tayag: three members of the dance group JabaWockeeZ that participated in the second season of America’s Got Talent and won the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew.
Napoleon D’umo: hip hop choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance and supervising choreographer for America’s Best Dance Crew.
Charles Klapow: Disney choreographer for Disney movies such as High School Musical 1, 2, & 3, Cheetah Girls, and Ice Tour. He also choreographed for the movie musical remake of Footloose.His mother is Filipina and his father is of Russian background.
Brandon Baker:actor in Johnny Tsunami and Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board. He is of English, German, and Filipino descent.
Eileen Boylan: actress in South of Nowhere, Baywatch and General Hospital. She has appeared on How I Met Your Mother and currently plays a minor role on the ABC show Greek.She is of Filipino-Irish descent.
Jose Llana:broadway actor who has performed in musicals like The King and I, Rent, Streetcorner Symphony,and Flower Drum Song, He appeared on Sex and the City and in the film Hitch.
Christine Gambito: YouTube comedienne going by the name HappySlip. Her channel has one of the biggest followings on YouTube. Because of her wide audience the Philippine Department of Tourism appointed her ambassador for Philippine Tourism.
Dean Devlin: screenwriter and producer for many films including Independence Day, Godzilla, and Stargate. He acted in the following films: My Bodyguard, The Wild Life, Real Genius, and Martians Go Home. His mother is Filipina and his father is Jewish.
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle : Disney channel actress who has been on Hannah Montana and in Camp Rock. She was in the 2009 movie Fame.
Paolo Montalban: actor in ABC/Disney’s telepic of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as Prince Christopher. He also played Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat: Conquest. He appeared on Brodway in Pacific Overtures and The King and I, and off-Broadway in Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Romance of Magno Rubio.
Mix Master Mike: Beastie Boys DJ, founding member of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz; winner of 1992 and 1993 DMC World DJ Championships (Rocksteady DJ's) and winner of the 1992 New Music Seminar/Supermen Inc. DJ Battle for World Supremacy
Kirk Hammett:lead guitarist for Metallica. His mother is Filipina.
Angela Perez Baraquio:Miss Hawaii 2000 and the first Asian American to win the Miss America title in 2001.
Vanessa Joy Minnillo:former Miss Teen USA, host of MTV’s Total Request Live, correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, and actress in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Her mother is Filipina and her father s German-Irish.
Rex Navarrete: comedian whose humor is geared toward Filipino audiences.
 
Athletes
Baseball
Tim Lincecum: San Francisco Giants pitcher. His mother is Filipina
Basketball
Erik Spoelstra: Miami Heat head coach. His mother is Filipina
Football
Tedy Bruschi: NFL All-Pro linebacker, New England Patriots. He is of Filipino-Italian descent.
Figure Skating
Tai Babilonia: Olympic figure skater. His mother is African-American mother and his father is Filipino & Hopi-Indian)
Elizabeth Punsalan: Olympic figure skater for pairs/ice dancing
Contact Sports/Martial Arts
Nonito Donaire: Current IBF & IBO World Flyweight (112 lbs) Champion
Adriano Directo Emperado: one of five martial artists who developed the Kajukenbo self-defense system
Brian Viloria: US Olympic boxer, former WBC light-flyweight champion
Soccer
Natasha Kai: US Women’s National Soccer Team
Tiffany Roberts: former member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team (Filipina mother)
Water Sports
Victoria Manalo Draves: first woman to win two gold medals in springboard diving at the 1948 Olympics in London
Megan Abubo: world champion surfer. Her father is Filipino
Natalie Coughlin: Olympic swimmer, gold medalist. Her grandmother is Filipina
Sunny Garcia: surfing world champion
Wrestlers
David Bautista: WWE performer who goes by the name “Batista.” He has won five heavyweight titles. (Filipino father, Greek mother)
 
Science/Academia
Kiwi Camara: Filipino American attorney, who in 2001, became the youngest person to enter Harvard Law School; graduated magna cum laude in 2004; earlier graduated with a computer science degree Summa Cum Laude from Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu.
 
Journalism
Alex Tizon: former Los Angeles Times writer and staffer for The Seattle Times. He has contributed to 60 Minutes and Newsweek. He has lectured at Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, and The University of Washington. He won thePulitzer Prize Winner in 1997 for Investigative Journalism.
 
Business
Caterina Fake: co-founder of Flickr.com, acquired by Yahoo.com
Peter Valdes: co-founder of Tivoli Systems, Inc., an IBM company
 
Miscellaneous
Veronica De La Cruz: CNN news anchor
Cristeta Comerford: first woman executive chef at the White House. She worked as an assistant chef for 10 years. After a ten-month search, she was appointed by First Lady Laura Bush on August 14, 2005.
Oscar A. Solis: First Filipino-American Roman Catholic bishop in the United States. Currently working in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
Leandro Aragoncillo: former FBI intelligence analyst and retired Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps who was charged with espionage and leaking classified information against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Thomas Beatie: the notorious "Pregnant Man" who underwent hormone treatment to become a man. He later gained widespread media notoriety after he became pregnant.
 
 
The United States and the Philippines maintain close ties stemming from their long history that includes the colonial period that lasted from 1898 to 1946. Global terrorism concerns have brought the two countries closer together since the US troop withdrawal from Philippine bases in 1992. They share intelligence and engage in military exercises in Mindanao and in Hawaii.
 
Since 2002 joint military exercises, which resumed in 2000 after a five-year hiatus, have focused primarily on counter-terrorism efforts. During President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s state visit to Washington in May 2003, the United States pledged increased military assistance and designated the Philippines as a major Non-NATO ally.
 
In April 2005, US Embassy Chargé d’Affairs in Manila, Joseph Mussomeli, caused an uproar among Filipino officials when he stated that parts of Muslim Mindanao, with its poverty, lawlessness, porous borders, and links to regional terrorist groups, could develop into an “Afghanistan-style” situation. In May 2005, US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone announced the cancellation of a US-aided road project in Cotabato province in southern Mindanao, describing Cotabato as a “doormat” for Muslim terrorists. Some Philippine officials countered that US officials exaggerated the lack of political control in the province.
 
In November 2005, the Senate agreed to S.Res. 307 “to recognize and honor the Filipino World War II veterans for their defense of democratic ideals and their important contribution to the outcome of World War II.” In December 2005, a similar resolution was introduced in the House (H.Res. 622), while Congress approved two additional resolutions, S.Res. 333 and H.Con.Res. 218, which acknowledged the contributions of Filipino-Americans to the United States over the last century.
 
A total of 1,850,314 people identified themselves as being of Filipino ancestry in the 2000 US census. Filipino immigration to the US began en masse after 1907, when Chinese, Japanese and Koreans were banned from entering the US. The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, in need of a new source of labor, sought out workers from the Philippines. It is estimated that 63,052 Filipinos lived in the US by 1930, almost exclusively in Hawaii and California. According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 3.1 million Filipino Americans as of 2007.  
 
With the passage of the liberal 1965 Immigration Act, Filipinos came in greater numbers and to a wider variety of destinations. Unlike earlier immigrants who came as contract laborers, this new wave consisted largely of more educated Filipinos in search of greater economic opportunity. Over half of the Filipino Americans population lives in California, overtaking Hawaii after the 1970s. Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington all have significant Filipino communities. Filipinos constitute the second largest group of Asians living in America, after the Chinese.
 
Over 100,000 Americans reportedly live in the Philippines.
 
In 2006, 567,355 Americans visited the Philippines. Tourism has grown consistently and dramatically every year since 2002, when 395,323 Americans went to the Philippines. Americans account for 18% of tourists in the Philippines. 
 
A total of 153,887 Filipinos visited the US in 2006. The number of tourists has fluctuated between a low of 134,338 (2003) and a high of 173,203 (2002) in recent years.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

Bilateral trade between the United States and the Philippines is led by the sale of semiconductors. Semiconductors and related devices are sold in larger numbers to the US by the Philippines than anything else, an average of $2 billion a year.

 
According to the US Census Bureau,  leading US imports from the Philippines (2003-2008) include computer accessories, an average of $1.2 billion a year; apparel and household goods (cotton), averaging $823 million a year; textiles, which had declined somewhat from $557 million to $487 million; food oils and oilseeds, rising from $314 million to $470 million; electrical equipment, rising from $310 million to $317 million; fish and shellfish, up from $253 million to $276 million; and furniture and household items, averaging $218 million a year.
 
The US Census Bureau also reports that other than semiconductors, American exports to the Philippines are led by wheat, up from $351 million to $703 million; industrial machines which has gone from $173 million to $208 million; animal feeds, increased from $159 million to $208 million; dairy products and eggs, whose trade has increased from $135 million to $204 million; and computer accessories which has increased from $177 million to $191 million.
 
According to the State Department Report, the US gave $116.6 million in aid to the Philippines in 2008. The budget allotted the most funds to Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($32 million), Foreign Military Financing ($29.8 million), the Economic Support Fund ($27.7 million), Development Assistance ($27.3 million), and Child Survival and Health ($25 million).
 
The 2009 Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations shows that aid was reduced to $99.2 million. The 2009 budget will distribute the most aid to Development Assistance ($56 million), Child Survival and Health ($20 million), Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($18.1 million), Foreign Military Financing ($15 million), and Infrastructure ($12 million). A close ally in the US war against terror, the Philippine government is currently using American aid in its campaigns against insurgent organizations (Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya).
 
The Philippines began a two-year, $21 million threshold program with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2006. The program focused on eliminating corruption through strengthening the Office of the Ombudsman, who is the prosecutor responsible for taking high officials to court. 
 
The US sold $20.8 million of defense articles and services to the Philippines in 2007.
 
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Controversies

US Marines Tried in Rape Case

On December 27, 2005, a Filipino prosecutor issued indictments against four US Marines for allegedly raping a Filipino woman while in the Philippines during a training exercise. The legalities of the case fell under the 1998 US-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which gave Philippine authorities primary jurisdiction over the Marines in the event local law is broken. The indictment claimed one of the Marines raped the woman outside a bar while the other three Marines cheered him on. The trial resulted in the conviction of the Marine accused of rape, while the other three were acquitted. The convicted Marine was sentenced to 40 years in prison, pending an appeal. As of January 2008, a local appellate court still had not heard the Marine’s appeal. During that time, he was confined to house arrest in the US embassy in Manila.
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Human Rights

The State Department reports that in 2008 Philippine security forces and antigovernment insurgents committed a number of arbitrary and unlawful killings that include political killings and killings of journalists. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigated 173 complaints of killings; 67 of these cases were classified as politically motivated. These numbers have increased from 71 and 25, respectively. The CHR suspected personnel from the Philippine National Police and army in a number of the killings of leftist activists operating in rural areas. Allegations of summary executions by government security forces were referred to the NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). The TFDP was unable to investigate all of these allegations, but it alleged the summary executions of four individuals by government forces through year’s end.

 
In August 2006 President Arroyo created an independent commission to investigate patterns in the killings of journalists and leftist activists and to make policy and legislative recommendations for dealing with the problem. Since then, the State Department reports that there still have been many journalist killings. NGOs often criticize the Philippine government for its inability to protect both local and foreign journalists. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines accused the police and the government of failing adequately to investigate these killings and of subjecting journalists to harassment and surveillance. In some situations it was difficult to discern if violence against journalists was carried out in retribution for their profession or if these journalists were the victims of random crime. 
 
Government forces killed a number of civilians during clashes with antigovernment forces and with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the New People’s Army (NPA). Communist insurgents, mainly from the NPA, continued to kill political figures, military and police officers, and civilians, including suspected military and police informers. Extortion groups associated with the ASG killed persons in bombings.
 
Vigilante groups were suspected of conducting summary killings of criminals in two major cities, and local officials appeared to condone and even encourage them. In 2007, the TFDP recorded 80 apparent vigilante killings in Davao City, Mindanao.
 
According to local human rights NGOs, government forces were responsible for disappearances. At year’s end the domestic NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) documented 20 victims of involuntary disappearance. The State Department reports that “the Committee on Human Rights (CHR) investigated 20 new cases of enforced disappearances, abductions, and kidnappings involving 27 victims, some of whom were found to have been detained without a warrant. Of the 20 cases, one was referred to the deputy ombudsman for the military, 16 were still under investigation, and three were either dismissed or closed. The NPA was implicated in two cases, members of the military and police were implicated in nine cases, and unidentified suspects were involved in the others. The NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) was monitoring four reported disappearance cases, whose victims had not been found, and those investigations continued.”
 
Members of the security forces and police were alleged to have routinely abused and sometimes tortured suspects and detainees. The CHR provided the police with mandatory human rights training. The CHR noted that senior police officials appeared receptive to respecting the human rights of detainees, but rank-and-file awareness of the rights of detainees remained inadequate.
 
The TFDP asserted that torture remained an ingrained part of the arrest and detention process. Common forms of abuse during arrest and interrogation reportedly included striking detainees and threatening them with guns. The TFDP reported that arresting officers often carried out such beatings in the early stages of detention.
 
Another human rights NGO, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, also reported that police used excessive force in apprehending suspects.
 
Prison conditions were rudimentary and sometimes harsh. Provincial jails and prisons were overcrowded, lacked basic infrastructure, and provided prisoners with an inadequate diet. Jails managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) operated at an average of 191% of designed capacity. Prison administrators allotted a daily subsistence allowance of approximately $1.12 (50 pesos) per prisoner. Lack of potable water and poor ventilation continued to cause health problems. The slow judicial process exacerbated overcrowding.
 
There were reports of widespread corruption among prison guards and, to some extent, at higher levels of authority within the prison system. Some detainees at immigration detention centers reportedly gained release by making cash payments to guards.
 
The judicial system suffered from corruption and inefficiency. Personal ties and sometimes bribery resulted in impunity for some wealthy and influential offenders and contributed to widespread skepticism that the judicial process could ensure due process and equal justice.
 
Various human rights NGOs maintained lists of incarcerated persons they considered to be political prisoners. The TFDP reported that there were 231 political prisoners from January to June. By June, 22 had been released but 41 new political prisoners entered the system. Typically, there was no distinction in these lists between detainees and prisoners, and the majority of persons listed have not been convicted. Some NGOs asserted that it was frequent practice to make politically motivated arrests of persons for common crimes and to continue to detain them after their sentences expired.
 
Human Rights Watch published a letter from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on August 24, 2009. This letter brings attention to the execution-style killings of children by “death squads” that operate with viral impunity in Davao City and elsewhere. Street children are the most vulnerable to these killings. Children killings make up approximately 9% of the killings in Davao City. The Philippine government announced they would investigate the death squads, but the involvement of local police in the Davao Death Squad make them unsuitable for investigation.
 
Amnesty International reported that more than 200,000 civilians in central Mindanao are still vulnerable to abuses despite the July 29, 2009, ceasefire between the Philippine army and the insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Even after the ceasefire, people are forced to live in camps or makeshift shelters, sometimes surrounded by a heavy military presence. Many are displaced and are still unable to return to their homes. Those who do return to their homes to retrieve belongings and tend to their crops risk their lives.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Paul V. McNutt

Appointment: Jun 21, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 4, 1946
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 22, 1947
 
Emmet O'Nealy
Appointment: Jun 10, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 22, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 28, 1948
 
Myron Melvin Cowen
Appointment: Mar 2, 1949
Presentation of Credentials: May 23, 1949
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 14, 1951
 
Raymond Ames Spruance
Appointment: Jan 18, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 7, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 1, 1955
 
Homer Ferguson
Appointment: Mar 22, 1955
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 12, 1955
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 23, 1956
 
Albert F. Nufer
Appointment: May 10, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1956
Termination of Mission: Died at post Nov 6, 1956
 
Charles E. Bohlen
Appointment: May 9, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 4, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 15, 1959
 
John D. Hickerson
Appointment: Oct 13, 1959
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 13, 1960
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 8, 1961
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 21, 1960.
 
William E. Stevenson
Appointment: Dec 15, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 5, 1962
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 14, 1964
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1962.
 
William McCormick Blair, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 8, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 5, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 21, 1967
 
G. Mennen Williams
Appointment: May 15, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 17, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 7, 1969
 
Henry A. Byroade
Appointment: Jul 22, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 29, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post May 25, 1973
 
William H. Sullivan
Appointment: Jul 16, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 6, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 26, 1977
 
David D. Newsom
Appointment: Oct 21, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 11, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 30, 1978
 
Richard W. Murphy
Appointment: May 25, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 8, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 10, 1981
 
Michael Hayden Armacost
Appointment: Feb 11, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 12, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 18, 1984
 
Stephen Warren Bosworth
Appointment: Apr 12, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: May 4, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 2, 1987
 
Nicholas Platt
Appointment: Aug 10, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 27, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post July 20, 1991
 
Frank G. Wisner
Appointment: Aug 2, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 16, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post June 10, 1992
 
Richard H. Solomon
Appointment: Aug 11, 1992
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 4, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 1993
 
John D. Negroponte
Appointment: Oct 8, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 26, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 5, 1996
 
Thomas C. Hubbard
Appointment: Jul 2, 1996
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 3, 1996
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 24, 2000
Note: Also accredited to Palau.
 
A. Peter Burleigh
Appointment: Nomination of May 26, 1999, not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Note: The following officers served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim: Michael E. Malinowski (Jul 2000–Sep 2001) and Robert W. Fitts (Sep 2001–Feb 2002).
 
Francis Joseph Ricciardone, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 8, 2002
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 21, 2002
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 3, 2005
Note: Also accredited to Palau; resident at Manila.
 
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Philippines's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Gaa, Willy C.

 

Willy C. Gaa has served as the Philippines Ambassador to the US since December 8, 2006. Gaa obtained his Bachelor of Arts (AB Political Science) degree from Manuel L. Quezon University in 1966. He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1970 with a Bachelor of Laws degree and from New York University in 1985 with a degree in Master of Laws (International Legal Studies).
 
He passed the government career service exam in 1968, the Philippine Bar Examination in 1970 and the State Bar of California in 1990. His previous legal work experience was as a tax and compliance attorney at Petrophil Corporation (1974-1975) and as a trial attorney at the Office of the Solicitor General (1971-1974).
 
His career as a diplomat began when he was appointed as Foreign Service Officer in December 1974 after passing the FSO examination and taking the oath of office in 1975. He served in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila as principal assistant for the Office of Administration (1975); vice consul and then consul in San Francisco (1975-1980); consul in New York (1981-1985); secretary, Board of Foreign Service Administration and Board of Foreign Service Examiners (July-August 1985); acting chief coordinator, Office of the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs (September 1985-February 1986); director, Office of Middle East and African Affairs (July-August 1986); executive director, Office of Consular Services (August 1986-February 1987); deputy consul general in Los Angeles (1987-1990); ambassador to Tripoli, Libya and non-resident ambassador to Tunisia, Malta and Niger (1992-1997); consul general in New York (1997-1999); assistant secretary, Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs (May 1999 to 11 January 2002); and ambassador to Australia and non-resident ambassador to Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu (2002-2003).
 
He served as ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (2003-2006), followed by his post as consul general in Los Angeles. Gaa was initially assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, as Charge d’Affaires on July 25, 2006, before becoming ambassador.
 

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Philippines's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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Comments

eugilia Limon 5 years ago
I need help on getting my birth certificate I was born on subic bay, my father sgt. gilberto limon was stationed there in olongopo city on the base. He is a marine. My mother was a citizen of the phillipines at the time, Mercy Andersen. I was born on 2/14/1977. a year later i moved to the US. now i am 35 and very much needing my birth certificate. Is there any way u can help me.

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U.S. Ambassador to Philippines

Goldberg, Philip
ambassador-image

The next ambassador to the Philippines will be Philip S. Goldberg, a senior diplomat and government official currently serving as assistant secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) since February 16, 2010.

 

Born August 1, 1956, in Boston, Goldberg was one of three children, with two sisters, Donna and Lisa. After earning his B.A. at Boston University circa 1978, he worked for several years as a liaison officer between the City of New York and the United Nations and consular community. 

 

After joining the Foreign Service, Goldberg served early career foreign postings as a political-economic officer at the embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, and as a consular and political officer at the embassy in Bogota, Colombia

 

From 1994 to 1996 Goldberg was the State Department desk officer for Bosnia and a special assistant to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. In the latter capacity, he was a member of the American negotiating team in the lead-up to the 1995 Dayton Peace Conference and chief of staff for the American Delegation at Dayton. Goldberg served as special assistant (1996-1998) and then executive assistant (1998-2000) to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. In 2000, he was a senior member of the State Department team handling the transition from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration, and then served as acting deputy assistant secretary of state for Legislative Affairs from January to June 2001. 

 

Goldberg served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Santiago, Chile, from 2001 to 2004, and as chief of mission in Pristina, Kosovo, from 2004 to 2006. 

 

In 2006, Goldberg was named an ambassador for the first time, and sent to La Paz, Bolivia, for an intended three-year term that ended after two years with Goldberg’s expulsion as a persona non grata. A series of incidents in 2007 and 2008 indicating that U.S. embassy personnel were attempting to recruit Peace Corps volunteers and visiting American scholars as spies raised tensions. That same year, the mainly white and affluent populace of Bolivia’s eastern provinces, who had opposed the 2006 election of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, forced a bitter recall vote. Even after Morales won, opposition leader Rubén Costas called Morales a “dictator” and hurled the racial slur “macaco” (monkey) at him. Goldberg, who speaks fluent Spanish, surely understood the offensiveness of the comment. When Goldberg met with Costas anyway, Morales accused the U.S. government—which has been a vocal critic of Morales since before his election—of trying to destabilize his regime and expelled Goldberg in September 2008.

 

From June 2009 until June 2010, he served as the Coordinator for Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (Sanctions) on North Korea.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Philippines

Kenney, Kristie
ambassador-image

Kristie Kenney was appointed .U.S. ambassador to Thailand by President Barack Obama in July 2010, and was confirmed on September 29, 2010.

 
Kenney gained early exposure to U.S. government service as a tour guide for the US Capitol, an intern at the House of Representatives, and a Senate page. 
 
She earned a Masters degree in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Clemson University.
 
Between college and her ambassadorships, Kenney held a variety of roles including Economic Counselor at the United States Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, Economic Officer at the US Embassy in Argentina, and Consular officer at the US Embassy in Jamaica. She was also Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
 
Prior to her assignment to Thailand, she served as ambassador to Ecuador and the Philippines. She was a popular US ambassador to the Philippines. Upon learning that she would not be ambassador anymore, Kenney updated her Facebook status saying “Heart broken to think of leaving the Philippines but know it is time for me to plan to return to be with my family. Calling on my FB friends to help me not be sad but to enjoy and savor my remaining months in this lovely country.
 
Kenney is the first female US Ambassador to Thailand. She speaks Spanish and French. Her husband is William Brownfield, who has served as ambassador to Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela.
 

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Overview

Once a colony of Spain, the Philippines came under American control following the end of the Spanish-American War (1898). An independence movement fought a guerilla campaign against US Marines until 1901, when the leader of the rebels was captured. Washington appointed a commission to oversee the administration of the islands, which lasted until the 1930s when the US began to prepare Filipinos for increased sovereignty. That effort was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II when Japan invaded the Philippines. Following the recapture of the islands by US forces led by General Douglas MacArthur, the Philippines finally gained independence in 1946.

 
Political freedom lasted until the 1965 rise of Ferdinand Marcos, who consolidated power with the backing of the Philippine army and set out to rule the country indefinitely. Successive presidential administrations in the US turned a blind eye to the Marcos dictatorship, owing to American concerns over the spread of communism in South Asia and Marcos’ willingness to allow the US military to operate out of key Philippine installations at Subic Bay and Clark Air Force Base. A leading Marcos critic, Benigno Aquino, fled the country, only to return in 1983 for elections. He was promptly assassinated. The killing of Aquino galvanized the political opposition, which rallied around Aquino’s widow, Corazon. After Marcos tried to manipulate the 1986 elections in his favor, mass protests broke out in Manila and elsewhere, launching the People’s Revolution. President Reagan, a personal friend of Marcos, supported him until presidential advisors warned him of the consequences. Once key military leaders withdrew their support for Marcos, the despot had no choice but to flee the country and seek exile in the US.
 
Once the Cold War ended during the presidency of Corazon Aquino, the importance of the Philippines as a strategic priority of the United States’ waned, and the US military decided to pull out of Subic Bay and Clark Airforce Base in the early 1990s. The security relationship between the US and the Philippines gained new life, however, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Struggling with its own Muslim and leftists threats, the Philippine government strongly supported the Bush administration’s war on terror. US military personnel have participated in training exercises on the islands and helped train the Philippine army in counter-insurgency warfare.
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Basic Information

Lay of the Land: The Philippines is a nation of 11 major islands and over 7,000 smaller ones stretching north-south for 1,200 miles, about 700 miles east of the coast of southeast Asia. The island chain, which merges with Taiwan in the north and Indonesia and Malaysia in the south, divides the South China Sea from the Pacific Ocean proper. Two thirds of the land area is concentrated on two islands, Luzon in the north and Mindanao in the south. The varied terrain includes plains, valleys, marshlands, plateaus, and coastal mountain ranges. There are many natural harbors along the 14,000 mile coastline. 

 
Population: 92.7 million
 
Religions: Catholic 85.0%, Muslim (predominantly Sunni) 6.4%, Protestant 4.3%, Ethnoreligious 2.85, Baha'i 0.3%, Buddhist 0.1%, Chinese Universalist 0.1%, non-religious 0.9%.
 
Ethnic Groups: Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3%.
 
Languages: Filipino (official), Cebuano 23.2%, Tagalog 16.8%, Ilocano 9.3%, Hiligaynon 8.1%, Bicolano (Albay, Central, Iriga...) 5.6%, Waray-Waray 2.8%, Pampangan 2.2%, Pangasinan 1.4%, Maguindanao 1.2%, Capiznon 0.7%, Ibanag 0.6%, Aklanon 0.5%, English (official) 0.04%. There are 171 official languages in the Philippines. 
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History

The first inhabitants of the Philippines arrived from the Asian mainland around 25,000 BC. They were followed by waves of Indonesian and Malayan settlers. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan visited the Philippines in 1521, and a subsequent exploration by the Spanish named the islands after Prince Philip (later Philip II of Spain). The Philippines was a colony of Spain until the late 18th century.

 
Spain still possessed the islands when the Spanish-American war broke out in 1898 with the United States. In defeating Spain, the US gained control of the Philippines. Filipinos, however, weren’t interested in exchanging one colonial power for another and Emilio Aguinaldo led a movement for independence. The Filipinos initiated a guerrilla war against US troops stationed on the islands that lasted until Aguinaldo’s capture in 1901.
 
The first US civilian governor-general of the Philippines was William Howard Taft (1901–1904). The US allowed the Filipinos to establish a legislature composed of an elected Senate and House of Representatives. The Tydings-McDuffie Act of 1934, officially known in the US as the Philippine Independence Act, began a slow process to grant sovereignty to the Philippines and in 1935, a constitution was approved that established the Commonwealth of the Philippines with Manuel Quezon y Molina as president.
 
The Filipinos’ hope for freedom was dashed when the Japanese invaded the islands on December 8, 1941. At the outbreak of World War II, the US had thousands of troops stationed on the islands led by General Douglas MacArthur. Outnumbered and cutoff by the Japanese, MacArthur slipped out of the Philippines, while his men were left behind They eventually surrendered along with thousands of Filipinos fighting alongside the Americans. The captured men were forced into what became known as the “Bataan Death March,” during which the Japanese subjected the American and Filipino soldiers to hike 60 miles to prison camps. Many of the 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war died along the way, either from exhaustion or abuse by the Japanese.
 
While the Japanese controlled the Philippines, Quezon instituted a government-in-exile that he headed until his death in 1944. He was succeeded by Vice President Sergio Osmeña. US forces under MacArthur reinvaded the Philippines in October 1944 and, after the liberation of Manila in February 1945, Osmeña reestablished the government.
 
The Philippines achieved full independence on July 4, 1946. Manuel A. Roxas y Acuña was elected its first president, succeeded by Elpidio Quirino (1948–1953), Ramón Magsaysay (1953–1957), Carlos P. García (1957–1961), Diosdado Macapagal (1961–1965), and Ferdinand E. Marcos (1965–1986).
 
Marcos is the Philippines most notorious ruler of the 20th century. Under Marcos, civil unrest broke out in opposition to the leader’s despotic rule. Martial law was declared in September 1972, and Marcos proclaimed a new constitution that ensconced himself as president. Martial law was officially lifted on January 17, 1981, but Marcos and his wife Imelda retained broad powers. Opposition to Marcos  led by Benigno Aquino, a longtime political leader whose criticism of Marcos forced him to flee the islands. In August 1983, Aquino attempted to return from exile and was assassinated at Manila International Airport. The murder proved a turning point for Marcos’ reign.
 
Outrage in both the Philippines and the US catapulted Aquino’s wife Corazon into the leadership of the opposition. In an attempt to placate the Reagan administration’s concerns over his rule, Marcos set presidential elections for February 7, 1986. With the support of the Catholic Church, Corazon Aquino ran against Marcos, who was declared the official winner. But independent observers reported widespread election fraud and vote rigging. Anti-Marcos protests exploded in Manila and two key members of the government — Defense Minister Juan Enrile and Lt. Gen. Fidel Ramos — defected to the opposition. With his base of power eroded, Marcos fled the country and entered the US on February 25, 1986.
 
The Marcos family went into exile in Hawaii and was later indicted for embezzlement in the United States. Marcos died in Honolulu on September 28, 1989 of kidney, heart and lung ailments. In 1995 some 10,000 Filipinos won a US class-action lawsuit filed against the Marcos estate. The charges were filed by victims or their surviving relatives for torture, execution and disappearances.
 
With Marcos gone, Aquino assumed the presidency. Her time in office was marked by coup attempts from Marcos supporters and other right-wing elements, including one by Enrile.
 
As the Cold War began to wind down in the late 1980s, the importance of the Philippines as a strategic asset to US security also began to fade. Negotiations on the renewal of leases for US military bases threatened to sour relations between the two countries, as the Filipino government sought more money from Washington. Further adding to the situation was volcanic eruptions from Mount Pinatubo, which caused considerable damage to Clark Air Base. US military officials decided in July 1991 to abandon the airfield, which had played a key role for US forces during the Vietnam War. The following year, the US Navy gave up on maintaining its port facility at Subic Bay, ending the United States’ longtime military presence in the Philippines.
 
In  1992, Gen. Fidel Ramos, who had the support of the outgoing Aquino, won the presidency in a seven-way race. One of Ramos’ challenges was tackling the separatist Moro National Liberation Front which was fighting a protracted war for an Islamic homeland on Mindanao, the southernmost of the two main islands. Another rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, also fought an ongoing campaign with the army.
 
In August 2001, both rebel groups signed unity agreements with the Philippine government. Frequent and violent clashes with these and other terrorist groups have continued, however. Abu Sayyaf, a small group of guerrillas that has been fighting since the 1970s for an independent Islamic state and reportedly has links to al-Qaeda, gained international notoriety with its spree of kidnappings and murders. Two leaders of Abu Sayyaf were killed in late 2006 and early 2007, dealing a serious blow to the group. The Philippine military has also battled the New People’s Army, a group of Communist guerrillas that have targeted Philippine security forces since 1969.
 
In May 1998, 61-year-old former action-film star Joseph Estrada was elected president of the Philippines. Within two years the Philippine Senate began proceedings to impeach Estrada, also known as Erap, on corruption charges. Massive street demonstrations and the loss of political support eventually forced Estrada from office. Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, daughter of former president Diosdado Macapagal, became president in January 2001. In the May 2004 presidential elections, President Macapagal-Arroyo narrowly defeated film star Fernando Poe.
 
Macapagal-Arroyo faced a political crisis in the summer of 2005 after being caught on tape calling an election official during the 2004 presidential race. The recording seemed to suggest that she had tried to use her power to influence the outcome. An effort to impeach her failed to get off the ground.
 
Macapagal-Arroyo declared a state of emergency in February 2006, saying the government had foiled an attempted coup by the military. She also banned rallies commemorating the 20th anniversary of the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos. Some observers dismissed the report of the coup attempt as political maneuvering to gain support and weaken the opposition. In June, she met with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican, where she announced that the Philippines would abolish the death penalty.
 
In September 2007, former president Estrada was convicted of corruption and sentenced to life in prison. The government announced two months later that it had reached a deal with the separatist Moro National Liberation Front that set boundaries for a Muslim homeland on the southern island of on Mindanao.
 
A typhoon sunk a ferry in June 2008, killing 865 passengers and crew members. Another 500 people died during the storm.
 
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History of U.S. Relations with Philippines

Following the end of the Spanish-American War, US officials insisted their role in the Philippines was not colonial but one of “tutelage” to prepare the islands for eventual independence. President William McKinley appointed the First Philippine Commission, a five-person group headed by Dr. Jacob Schurman, president of Cornell University, and including Admiral Dewey and General Otis, to investigate conditions in the islands and to make recommendations. The commissioners acknowledged Filipino aspirations for independence, but they declared that the Filipinos were not ready for it. Instead, the Commission recommended the establishment of a civilian government, including a bicameral legislature, autonomous governments on the provincial and municipal levels, and a system of free public elementary schools.

 
The Second Philippine Commission, headed by William Howard Taft, was granted legislative as well as limited executive powers. Between September 1900 and August 1902, it issued 499 laws. A judicial system was established that includes a Supreme Court, a legal code was drawn up to replace existing Spanish ordinances, and a civil service was organized. The 1901 municipal code provided for popularly elected presidents, vice presidents, and councilors to serve on municipal boards. In July 1901 the Philippine Constabulary was organized as an archipelago-wide police force to enforce laws and deal with the remnants of the insurgent movement. After military rule was terminated on July 4, 1901, the Philippine Constabulary gradually took over from United States army units the responsibility for suppressing guerrilla and bandit activities.
 
When Japan launched its surprise attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, the defending Philippine and American troops were under the command of General Douglas MacArthur, who had been recalled to active duty and was designated commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The Japanese attack destroyed the US aircraft, and the naval forces were ordered to leave the islands to avoid being sunk. With the Japanese navy in command of the region, reinforcement and resupply of MacArthur’s ground forces were impossible. The combined American-Filipino forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula and to the island of Corregidor at the entrance to Manila Bay. Manila, declared an open city to prevent its destruction, was occupied by the Japanese on January 2, 1942.
Japanese occupation of the Philippines was opposed by increasingly effective underground and guerrilla activity that ultimately reached large-scale proportions. Postwar investigations showed that about 260,000 people were in guerrilla organizations and that members of the anti-Japanese underground were even more numerous. Japan controlled only 12 of the 48 provinces by the end of the war. The major element of resistance in the Central Luzon area was furnished by the Huks, Hukbalahap, or the People’s Anti-Japanese Army organized in early 1942 under the leadership of Luis Taruc, a communist party member. The Huks armed some 30,000 people and extended their control over much of Luzon. Other guerrilla units were attached to the US Army.
 
MacArthur returned to the islands with Allied forces on October 20, 1944. Landings then followed on the island of Mindoro and around the Lingayen Gulf on the west side of Luzon, and the push toward Manila was initiated. Fighting was fierce, particularly in the mountains of northern Luzon, where Japanese troops had retreated, and in Manila, where they put up a last-ditch resistance. Guerrilla forces rose up everywhere for the final offensive. Fighting continued until Japan’s formal surrender to the US on September 2, 1945. The Philippines had suffered great loss of life and tremendous physical destruction by the time the war was over. An estimated 1 million Filipinos were killed, a large proportion during the final months of the war, and Manila was extensively damaged.
 
The Philippine Trade Act (or Bell Act), passed by Congress in 1946, stipulated that free trade be continued between the US and the Philippines until 1954, when tariffs were increased 5% annually until full amounts were reached in 1974. Quotas were established for Philippine products both for free trade and tariff periods. At the same time, there were no restrictions on the entry of United States products to the Philippines, and no import duties. The Philippine peso was tied at a fixed rate to the dollar.
The most controversial provision of the Bell Act was the “parity” clause that granted United States citizens equal economic rights with Filipinos. If parity privileges of individuals or corporations were infringed upon, the US president had the authority to revoke any aspect of the trade agreement. Payment of war damages amounting to $620 million, as stipulated in the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946, was made contingent on Philippine acceptance of the parity clause.
 
In 1955 a revised United States-Philippine Trade Agreement (the Laurel-Langley Agreement) was negotiated. This treaty abolished the United States authority to control the exchange rate of the peso, made parity privileges reciprocal, extended the sugar quota, and extended the time period for the reduction of other quotas and for the progressive application of tariffs on Philippine goods exported to the United States.
 
During the Cold War, the Philippines joined the American-developed South East Asia Treaty Organization. SEATO was a NATO-type military alliance created to combat Communist threats in Southeast Asia.
 
The Philippines: The Marcos Years (National Security Archive, George Washington University)
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Current U.S. Relations with Philippines

Noted Filipino-Americans

Public Service
Philip Vera Cruz: co-founder of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee, which later merged with the National Farm Workers Association to become the United Farm Workers; vice-president of the United Farm Workers
 
Art/Entertainment/Media
Dante Basco: actor, dancer, producer. Actor in Hook as Rufio. Guest roles on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. Recurring role on Moesha. Star of the independent Filipino-American film entitled The Debut.
Tia Carrere: actress, model, and Grammy Award-winning singer. Widely known for her role as Cassandra in Wayne’s World 1 & 2
Vanessa Hudgens:singer and actress in the High School Musical movies as well as her most recent film Bandslam.
Cheryl Burke: professional dancer and two-time champion on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars
Michael Copon:actor who is best known for his role on One Tree Hill. He was also Blue Ranger in Power Rangers Time Force and star of Bring It On: In It to Win It
Kevin Kleinberg:Green Ranger in Power Rangers Time Force. He is of German-Filipino descent.
Allan Pineda (aka apl.de.ap): lead singer of the Black Eyed Peas
Nicole Scherzinger: lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls. Her father is Filipino and her mother is Russian Hawaiian
Rob Schneider:actor in Deuce Bigaolow: Male Gigolo and The Hot Chick and veteran of Saturday Night Live comedian. His mother is Filipina-American.
Teresa Victoria (T.V.) Carpio: Chinese/Filipina-American singer, songwriter, and actress. Played Prudence in Across the Universe. Appeared in one episode of The Jury and Law & Order. Acts on Broadway as Alexi Darling and others in Rent.
Chris Gatdula, Rynan Paguio, and Phil Tayag: three members of the dance group JabaWockeeZ that participated in the second season of America’s Got Talent and won the first season of America’s Best Dance Crew.
Napoleon D’umo: hip hop choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance and supervising choreographer for America’s Best Dance Crew.
Charles Klapow: Disney choreographer for Disney movies such as High School Musical 1, 2, & 3, Cheetah Girls, and Ice Tour. He also choreographed for the movie musical remake of Footloose.His mother is Filipina and his father is of Russian background.
Brandon Baker:actor in Johnny Tsunami and Johnny Kapahala: Back on Board. He is of English, German, and Filipino descent.
Eileen Boylan: actress in South of Nowhere, Baywatch and General Hospital. She has appeared on How I Met Your Mother and currently plays a minor role on the ABC show Greek.She is of Filipino-Irish descent.
Jose Llana:broadway actor who has performed in musicals like The King and I, Rent, Streetcorner Symphony,and Flower Drum Song, He appeared on Sex and the City and in the film Hitch.
Christine Gambito: YouTube comedienne going by the name HappySlip. Her channel has one of the biggest followings on YouTube. Because of her wide audience the Philippine Department of Tourism appointed her ambassador for Philippine Tourism.
Dean Devlin: screenwriter and producer for many films including Independence Day, Godzilla, and Stargate. He acted in the following films: My Bodyguard, The Wild Life, Real Genius, and Martians Go Home. His mother is Filipina and his father is Jewish.
Anna Maria Perez de Tagle : Disney channel actress who has been on Hannah Montana and in Camp Rock. She was in the 2009 movie Fame.
Paolo Montalban: actor in ABC/Disney’s telepic of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella as Prince Christopher. He also played Kung Lao in Mortal Kombat: Conquest. He appeared on Brodway in Pacific Overtures and The King and I, and off-Broadway in Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Romance of Magno Rubio.
Mix Master Mike: Beastie Boys DJ, founding member of the Invisibl Skratch Piklz; winner of 1992 and 1993 DMC World DJ Championships (Rocksteady DJ's) and winner of the 1992 New Music Seminar/Supermen Inc. DJ Battle for World Supremacy
Kirk Hammett:lead guitarist for Metallica. His mother is Filipina.
Angela Perez Baraquio:Miss Hawaii 2000 and the first Asian American to win the Miss America title in 2001.
Vanessa Joy Minnillo:former Miss Teen USA, host of MTV’s Total Request Live, correspondent for Entertainment Tonight, and actress in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Her mother is Filipina and her father s German-Irish.
Rex Navarrete: comedian whose humor is geared toward Filipino audiences.
 
Athletes
Baseball
Tim Lincecum: San Francisco Giants pitcher. His mother is Filipina
Basketball
Erik Spoelstra: Miami Heat head coach. His mother is Filipina
Football
Tedy Bruschi: NFL All-Pro linebacker, New England Patriots. He is of Filipino-Italian descent.
Figure Skating
Tai Babilonia: Olympic figure skater. His mother is African-American mother and his father is Filipino & Hopi-Indian)
Elizabeth Punsalan: Olympic figure skater for pairs/ice dancing
Contact Sports/Martial Arts
Nonito Donaire: Current IBF & IBO World Flyweight (112 lbs) Champion
Adriano Directo Emperado: one of five martial artists who developed the Kajukenbo self-defense system
Brian Viloria: US Olympic boxer, former WBC light-flyweight champion
Soccer
Natasha Kai: US Women’s National Soccer Team
Tiffany Roberts: former member of the US Women’s National Soccer Team (Filipina mother)
Water Sports
Victoria Manalo Draves: first woman to win two gold medals in springboard diving at the 1948 Olympics in London
Megan Abubo: world champion surfer. Her father is Filipino
Natalie Coughlin: Olympic swimmer, gold medalist. Her grandmother is Filipina
Sunny Garcia: surfing world champion
Wrestlers
David Bautista: WWE performer who goes by the name “Batista.” He has won five heavyweight titles. (Filipino father, Greek mother)
 
Science/Academia
Kiwi Camara: Filipino American attorney, who in 2001, became the youngest person to enter Harvard Law School; graduated magna cum laude in 2004; earlier graduated with a computer science degree Summa Cum Laude from Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu.
 
Journalism
Alex Tizon: former Los Angeles Times writer and staffer for The Seattle Times. He has contributed to 60 Minutes and Newsweek. He has lectured at Harvard University, the University of California at Berkeley, and The University of Washington. He won thePulitzer Prize Winner in 1997 for Investigative Journalism.
 
Business
Caterina Fake: co-founder of Flickr.com, acquired by Yahoo.com
Peter Valdes: co-founder of Tivoli Systems, Inc., an IBM company
 
Miscellaneous
Veronica De La Cruz: CNN news anchor
Cristeta Comerford: first woman executive chef at the White House. She worked as an assistant chef for 10 years. After a ten-month search, she was appointed by First Lady Laura Bush on August 14, 2005.
Oscar A. Solis: First Filipino-American Roman Catholic bishop in the United States. Currently working in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
Leandro Aragoncillo: former FBI intelligence analyst and retired Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps who was charged with espionage and leaking classified information against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Thomas Beatie: the notorious "Pregnant Man" who underwent hormone treatment to become a man. He later gained widespread media notoriety after he became pregnant.
 
 
The United States and the Philippines maintain close ties stemming from their long history that includes the colonial period that lasted from 1898 to 1946. Global terrorism concerns have brought the two countries closer together since the US troop withdrawal from Philippine bases in 1992. They share intelligence and engage in military exercises in Mindanao and in Hawaii.
 
Since 2002 joint military exercises, which resumed in 2000 after a five-year hiatus, have focused primarily on counter-terrorism efforts. During President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s state visit to Washington in May 2003, the United States pledged increased military assistance and designated the Philippines as a major Non-NATO ally.
 
In April 2005, US Embassy Chargé d’Affairs in Manila, Joseph Mussomeli, caused an uproar among Filipino officials when he stated that parts of Muslim Mindanao, with its poverty, lawlessness, porous borders, and links to regional terrorist groups, could develop into an “Afghanistan-style” situation. In May 2005, US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone announced the cancellation of a US-aided road project in Cotabato province in southern Mindanao, describing Cotabato as a “doormat” for Muslim terrorists. Some Philippine officials countered that US officials exaggerated the lack of political control in the province.
 
In November 2005, the Senate agreed to S.Res. 307 “to recognize and honor the Filipino World War II veterans for their defense of democratic ideals and their important contribution to the outcome of World War II.” In December 2005, a similar resolution was introduced in the House (H.Res. 622), while Congress approved two additional resolutions, S.Res. 333 and H.Con.Res. 218, which acknowledged the contributions of Filipino-Americans to the United States over the last century.
 
A total of 1,850,314 people identified themselves as being of Filipino ancestry in the 2000 US census. Filipino immigration to the US began en masse after 1907, when Chinese, Japanese and Koreans were banned from entering the US. The Hawaiian Sugar Planters Association, in need of a new source of labor, sought out workers from the Philippines. It is estimated that 63,052 Filipinos lived in the US by 1930, almost exclusively in Hawaii and California. According to the United States Census Bureau, there are 3.1 million Filipino Americans as of 2007.  
 
With the passage of the liberal 1965 Immigration Act, Filipinos came in greater numbers and to a wider variety of destinations. Unlike earlier immigrants who came as contract laborers, this new wave consisted largely of more educated Filipinos in search of greater economic opportunity. Over half of the Filipino Americans population lives in California, overtaking Hawaii after the 1970s. Florida, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington all have significant Filipino communities. Filipinos constitute the second largest group of Asians living in America, after the Chinese.
 
Over 100,000 Americans reportedly live in the Philippines.
 
In 2006, 567,355 Americans visited the Philippines. Tourism has grown consistently and dramatically every year since 2002, when 395,323 Americans went to the Philippines. Americans account for 18% of tourists in the Philippines. 
 
A total of 153,887 Filipinos visited the US in 2006. The number of tourists has fluctuated between a low of 134,338 (2003) and a high of 173,203 (2002) in recent years.
 
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Where Does the Money Flow

Bilateral trade between the United States and the Philippines is led by the sale of semiconductors. Semiconductors and related devices are sold in larger numbers to the US by the Philippines than anything else, an average of $2 billion a year.

 
According to the US Census Bureau,  leading US imports from the Philippines (2003-2008) include computer accessories, an average of $1.2 billion a year; apparel and household goods (cotton), averaging $823 million a year; textiles, which had declined somewhat from $557 million to $487 million; food oils and oilseeds, rising from $314 million to $470 million; electrical equipment, rising from $310 million to $317 million; fish and shellfish, up from $253 million to $276 million; and furniture and household items, averaging $218 million a year.
 
The US Census Bureau also reports that other than semiconductors, American exports to the Philippines are led by wheat, up from $351 million to $703 million; industrial machines which has gone from $173 million to $208 million; animal feeds, increased from $159 million to $208 million; dairy products and eggs, whose trade has increased from $135 million to $204 million; and computer accessories which has increased from $177 million to $191 million.
 
According to the State Department Report, the US gave $116.6 million in aid to the Philippines in 2008. The budget allotted the most funds to Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($32 million), Foreign Military Financing ($29.8 million), the Economic Support Fund ($27.7 million), Development Assistance ($27.3 million), and Child Survival and Health ($25 million).
 
The 2009 Congressional Budget for Foreign Operations shows that aid was reduced to $99.2 million. The 2009 budget will distribute the most aid to Development Assistance ($56 million), Child Survival and Health ($20 million), Stabilization Operations and Security Sector Reform ($18.1 million), Foreign Military Financing ($15 million), and Infrastructure ($12 million). A close ally in the US war against terror, the Philippine government is currently using American aid in its campaigns against insurgent organizations (Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya).
 
The Philippines began a two-year, $21 million threshold program with the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) in 2006. The program focused on eliminating corruption through strengthening the Office of the Ombudsman, who is the prosecutor responsible for taking high officials to court. 
 
The US sold $20.8 million of defense articles and services to the Philippines in 2007.
 
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Controversies

US Marines Tried in Rape Case

On December 27, 2005, a Filipino prosecutor issued indictments against four US Marines for allegedly raping a Filipino woman while in the Philippines during a training exercise. The legalities of the case fell under the 1998 US-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which gave Philippine authorities primary jurisdiction over the Marines in the event local law is broken. The indictment claimed one of the Marines raped the woman outside a bar while the other three Marines cheered him on. The trial resulted in the conviction of the Marine accused of rape, while the other three were acquitted. The convicted Marine was sentenced to 40 years in prison, pending an appeal. As of January 2008, a local appellate court still had not heard the Marine’s appeal. During that time, he was confined to house arrest in the US embassy in Manila.
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Human Rights

The State Department reports that in 2008 Philippine security forces and antigovernment insurgents committed a number of arbitrary and unlawful killings that include political killings and killings of journalists. The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigated 173 complaints of killings; 67 of these cases were classified as politically motivated. These numbers have increased from 71 and 25, respectively. The CHR suspected personnel from the Philippine National Police and army in a number of the killings of leftist activists operating in rural areas. Allegations of summary executions by government security forces were referred to the NGO Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP). The TFDP was unable to investigate all of these allegations, but it alleged the summary executions of four individuals by government forces through year’s end.

 
In August 2006 President Arroyo created an independent commission to investigate patterns in the killings of journalists and leftist activists and to make policy and legislative recommendations for dealing with the problem. Since then, the State Department reports that there still have been many journalist killings. NGOs often criticize the Philippine government for its inability to protect both local and foreign journalists. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines accused the police and the government of failing adequately to investigate these killings and of subjecting journalists to harassment and surveillance. In some situations it was difficult to discern if violence against journalists was carried out in retribution for their profession or if these journalists were the victims of random crime. 
 
Government forces killed a number of civilians during clashes with antigovernment forces and with the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the New People’s Army (NPA). Communist insurgents, mainly from the NPA, continued to kill political figures, military and police officers, and civilians, including suspected military and police informers. Extortion groups associated with the ASG killed persons in bombings.
 
Vigilante groups were suspected of conducting summary killings of criminals in two major cities, and local officials appeared to condone and even encourage them. In 2007, the TFDP recorded 80 apparent vigilante killings in Davao City, Mindanao.
 
According to local human rights NGOs, government forces were responsible for disappearances. At year’s end the domestic NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) documented 20 victims of involuntary disappearance. The State Department reports that “the Committee on Human Rights (CHR) investigated 20 new cases of enforced disappearances, abductions, and kidnappings involving 27 victims, some of whom were found to have been detained without a warrant. Of the 20 cases, one was referred to the deputy ombudsman for the military, 16 were still under investigation, and three were either dismissed or closed. The NPA was implicated in two cases, members of the military and police were implicated in nine cases, and unidentified suspects were involved in the others. The NGO Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) was monitoring four reported disappearance cases, whose victims had not been found, and those investigations continued.”
 
Members of the security forces and police were alleged to have routinely abused and sometimes tortured suspects and detainees. The CHR provided the police with mandatory human rights training. The CHR noted that senior police officials appeared receptive to respecting the human rights of detainees, but rank-and-file awareness of the rights of detainees remained inadequate.
 
The TFDP asserted that torture remained an ingrained part of the arrest and detention process. Common forms of abuse during arrest and interrogation reportedly included striking detainees and threatening them with guns. The TFDP reported that arresting officers often carried out such beatings in the early stages of detention.
 
Another human rights NGO, the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, also reported that police used excessive force in apprehending suspects.
 
Prison conditions were rudimentary and sometimes harsh. Provincial jails and prisons were overcrowded, lacked basic infrastructure, and provided prisoners with an inadequate diet. Jails managed by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) operated at an average of 191% of designed capacity. Prison administrators allotted a daily subsistence allowance of approximately $1.12 (50 pesos) per prisoner. Lack of potable water and poor ventilation continued to cause health problems. The slow judicial process exacerbated overcrowding.
 
There were reports of widespread corruption among prison guards and, to some extent, at higher levels of authority within the prison system. Some detainees at immigration detention centers reportedly gained release by making cash payments to guards.
 
The judicial system suffered from corruption and inefficiency. Personal ties and sometimes bribery resulted in impunity for some wealthy and influential offenders and contributed to widespread skepticism that the judicial process could ensure due process and equal justice.
 
Various human rights NGOs maintained lists of incarcerated persons they considered to be political prisoners. The TFDP reported that there were 231 political prisoners from January to June. By June, 22 had been released but 41 new political prisoners entered the system. Typically, there was no distinction in these lists between detainees and prisoners, and the majority of persons listed have not been convicted. Some NGOs asserted that it was frequent practice to make politically motivated arrests of persons for common crimes and to continue to detain them after their sentences expired.
 
Human Rights Watch published a letter from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child on August 24, 2009. This letter brings attention to the execution-style killings of children by “death squads” that operate with viral impunity in Davao City and elsewhere. Street children are the most vulnerable to these killings. Children killings make up approximately 9% of the killings in Davao City. The Philippine government announced they would investigate the death squads, but the involvement of local police in the Davao Death Squad make them unsuitable for investigation.
 
Amnesty International reported that more than 200,000 civilians in central Mindanao are still vulnerable to abuses despite the July 29, 2009, ceasefire between the Philippine army and the insurgent Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Even after the ceasefire, people are forced to live in camps or makeshift shelters, sometimes surrounded by a heavy military presence. Many are displaced and are still unable to return to their homes. Those who do return to their homes to retrieve belongings and tend to their crops risk their lives.
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors

Paul V. McNutt

Appointment: Jun 21, 1946
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 4, 1946
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 22, 1947
 
Emmet O'Nealy
Appointment: Jun 10, 1947
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 22, 1947
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 28, 1948
 
Myron Melvin Cowen
Appointment: Mar 2, 1949
Presentation of Credentials: May 23, 1949
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 14, 1951
 
Raymond Ames Spruance
Appointment: Jan 18, 1952
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 7, 1952
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 1, 1955
 
Homer Ferguson
Appointment: Mar 22, 1955
Presentation of Credentials: Apr 12, 1955
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 23, 1956
 
Albert F. Nufer
Appointment: May 10, 1956
Presentation of Credentials: Jul 20, 1956
Termination of Mission: Died at post Nov 6, 1956
 
Charles E. Bohlen
Appointment: May 9, 1957
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 4, 1957
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 15, 1959
 
John D. Hickerson
Appointment: Oct 13, 1959
Presentation of Credentials: Jan 13, 1960
Termination of Mission: Left post Dec 8, 1961
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 21, 1960.
 
William E. Stevenson
Appointment: Dec 15, 1961
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 5, 1962
Termination of Mission: Left post Jun 14, 1964
Note: Commissioned during a recess of the Senate; recommissioned after confirmation on Jan 30, 1962.
 
William McCormick Blair, Jr.
Appointment: Jun 8, 1964
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 5, 1964
Termination of Mission: Left post Oct 21, 1967
 
G. Mennen Williams
Appointment: May 15, 1968
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 17, 1968
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 7, 1969
 
Henry A. Byroade
Appointment: Jul 22, 1969
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 29, 1969
Termination of Mission: Left post May 25, 1973
 
William H. Sullivan
Appointment: Jul 16, 1973
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 6, 1973
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 26, 1977
 
David D. Newsom
Appointment: Oct 21, 1977
Presentation of Credentials: Nov 11, 1977
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 30, 1978
 
Richard W. Murphy
Appointment: May 25, 1978
Presentation of Credentials: Jun 8, 1978
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 10, 1981
 
Michael Hayden Armacost
Appointment: Feb 11, 1982
Presentation of Credentials: Mar 12, 1982
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 18, 1984
 
Stephen Warren Bosworth
Appointment: Apr 12, 1984
Presentation of Credentials: May 4, 1984
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 2, 1987
 
Nicholas Platt
Appointment: Aug 10, 1987
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 27, 1987
Termination of Mission: Left post July 20, 1991
 
Frank G. Wisner
Appointment: Aug 2, 1991
Presentation of Credentials: Aug 16, 1991
Termination of Mission: Left post June 10, 1992
 
Richard H. Solomon
Appointment: Aug 11, 1992
Presentation of Credentials: Sept 4, 1992
Termination of Mission: Left post Mar 1, 1993
 
John D. Negroponte
Appointment: Oct 8, 1993
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 26, 1993
Termination of Mission: Left post Aug 5, 1996
 
Thomas C. Hubbard
Appointment: Jul 2, 1996
Presentation of Credentials: Sep 3, 1996
Termination of Mission: Left post Jul 24, 2000
Note: Also accredited to Palau.
 
A. Peter Burleigh
Appointment: Nomination of May 26, 1999, not acted upon by the Senate.
 
Note: The following officers served as Chargé d'Affaires ad interim: Michael E. Malinowski (Jul 2000–Sep 2001) and Robert W. Fitts (Sep 2001–Feb 2002).
 
Francis Joseph Ricciardone, Jr.
Appointment: Feb 8, 2002
Presentation of Credentials: Feb 21, 2002
Termination of Mission: Left post Apr 3, 2005
Note: Also accredited to Palau; resident at Manila.
 
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Philippines's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Gaa, Willy C.

 

Willy C. Gaa has served as the Philippines Ambassador to the US since December 8, 2006. Gaa obtained his Bachelor of Arts (AB Political Science) degree from Manuel L. Quezon University in 1966. He graduated from the University of the Philippines in 1970 with a Bachelor of Laws degree and from New York University in 1985 with a degree in Master of Laws (International Legal Studies).
 
He passed the government career service exam in 1968, the Philippine Bar Examination in 1970 and the State Bar of California in 1990. His previous legal work experience was as a tax and compliance attorney at Petrophil Corporation (1974-1975) and as a trial attorney at the Office of the Solicitor General (1971-1974).
 
His career as a diplomat began when he was appointed as Foreign Service Officer in December 1974 after passing the FSO examination and taking the oath of office in 1975. He served in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila as principal assistant for the Office of Administration (1975); vice consul and then consul in San Francisco (1975-1980); consul in New York (1981-1985); secretary, Board of Foreign Service Administration and Board of Foreign Service Examiners (July-August 1985); acting chief coordinator, Office of the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs (September 1985-February 1986); director, Office of Middle East and African Affairs (July-August 1986); executive director, Office of Consular Services (August 1986-February 1987); deputy consul general in Los Angeles (1987-1990); ambassador to Tripoli, Libya and non-resident ambassador to Tunisia, Malta and Niger (1992-1997); consul general in New York (1997-1999); assistant secretary, Office of Asian and Pacific Affairs (May 1999 to 11 January 2002); and ambassador to Australia and non-resident ambassador to Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu (2002-2003).
 
He served as ambassador to the People’s Republic of China (2003-2006), followed by his post as consul general in Los Angeles. Gaa was initially assigned to the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, as Charge d’Affaires on July 25, 2006, before becoming ambassador.
 

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Philippines's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
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Comments

eugilia Limon 5 years ago
I need help on getting my birth certificate I was born on subic bay, my father sgt. gilberto limon was stationed there in olongopo city on the base. He is a marine. My mother was a citizen of the phillipines at the time, Mercy Andersen. I was born on 2/14/1977. a year later i moved to the US. now i am 35 and very much needing my birth certificate. Is there any way u can help me.

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U.S. Ambassador to Philippines

Goldberg, Philip
ambassador-image

The next ambassador to the Philippines will be Philip S. Goldberg, a senior diplomat and government official currently serving as assistant secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) since February 16, 2010.

 

Born August 1, 1956, in Boston, Goldberg was one of three children, with two sisters, Donna and Lisa. After earning his B.A. at Boston University circa 1978, he worked for several years as a liaison officer between the City of New York and the United Nations and consular community. 

 

After joining the Foreign Service, Goldberg served early career foreign postings as a political-economic officer at the embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, and as a consular and political officer at the embassy in Bogota, Colombia

 

From 1994 to 1996 Goldberg was the State Department desk officer for Bosnia and a special assistant to Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. In the latter capacity, he was a member of the American negotiating team in the lead-up to the 1995 Dayton Peace Conference and chief of staff for the American Delegation at Dayton. Goldberg served as special assistant (1996-1998) and then executive assistant (1998-2000) to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott. In 2000, he was a senior member of the State Department team handling the transition from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration, and then served as acting deputy assistant secretary of state for Legislative Affairs from January to June 2001. 

 

Goldberg served as deputy chief of mission at the embassy in Santiago, Chile, from 2001 to 2004, and as chief of mission in Pristina, Kosovo, from 2004 to 2006. 

 

In 2006, Goldberg was named an ambassador for the first time, and sent to La Paz, Bolivia, for an intended three-year term that ended after two years with Goldberg’s expulsion as a persona non grata. A series of incidents in 2007 and 2008 indicating that U.S. embassy personnel were attempting to recruit Peace Corps volunteers and visiting American scholars as spies raised tensions. That same year, the mainly white and affluent populace of Bolivia’s eastern provinces, who had opposed the 2006 election of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, forced a bitter recall vote. Even after Morales won, opposition leader Rubén Costas called Morales a “dictator” and hurled the racial slur “macaco” (monkey) at him. Goldberg, who speaks fluent Spanish, surely understood the offensiveness of the comment. When Goldberg met with Costas anyway, Morales accused the U.S. government—which has been a vocal critic of Morales since before his election—of trying to destabilize his regime and expelled Goldberg in September 2008.

 

From June 2009 until June 2010, he served as the Coordinator for Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (Sanctions) on North Korea.

-Matt Bewig

 

To Learn More:

Official Biography

Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (pdf)

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Philippines

Kenney, Kristie
ambassador-image

Kristie Kenney was appointed .U.S. ambassador to Thailand by President Barack Obama in July 2010, and was confirmed on September 29, 2010.

 
Kenney gained early exposure to U.S. government service as a tour guide for the US Capitol, an intern at the House of Representatives, and a Senate page. 
 
She earned a Masters degree in Latin American Studies from Tulane University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Clemson University.
 
Between college and her ambassadorships, Kenney held a variety of roles including Economic Counselor at the United States Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, Economic Officer at the US Embassy in Argentina, and Consular officer at the US Embassy in Jamaica. She was also Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.
 
Prior to her assignment to Thailand, she served as ambassador to Ecuador and the Philippines. She was a popular US ambassador to the Philippines. Upon learning that she would not be ambassador anymore, Kenney updated her Facebook status saying “Heart broken to think of leaving the Philippines but know it is time for me to plan to return to be with my family. Calling on my FB friends to help me not be sad but to enjoy and savor my remaining months in this lovely country.
 
Kenney is the first female US Ambassador to Thailand. She speaks Spanish and French. Her husband is William Brownfield, who has served as ambassador to Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela.
 

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