Brussels, novembre 2007
Background of the nation: The Philippines
Background to the Philipines where NP worked with groups over many years before starting a project.
The second project to be launched by Nonviolent Peaceforce was in Mindanao, Philippines. The project took several years to develop, and is smaller than the Sri Lanka project, with more emphasis on supporting local initiatives and extending the scope of local peacebuilding.
The Philippine islands were ruled by Spain from 1565 until 1898. The first Europeans to arrive in the archipelago were Ferdinand Magellan and its crew in 1521. The colonization began when the King of Spain, Philip II (after whom the Philippines is named) ordered a follow-up expedition.
Roman Catholic missionaries converted most of the inhabitants, and the Spanish military fought off various indigenous revolts and external colonial challenges (from Britain, China, Holland, France, Japan, and Portugal). During the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763) Manila was occupied by the British.
As a result of the Spanish–American War in 1898, the Philippines came under US control. Gradually some measures of self-governance were introduced, notably after 1935. During World War II Japan invaded and occupied the islands. Independence from the United States was achieved on July 4, 1946.
The 21-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos (1965-86) was characterised by economic mismanagement and martial law. A democratic system was re-established under Corazon Aquino (1986-92), maintained under Fidel Ramos (1992-98) and consolidated with the election of Joseph Estrada as president in May 1998. In January 2001 Mr Estrada was removed in a civilian coup backed by the military and replaced by his vice-president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who won a second six-year term in June 2004.
The political system is fashioned after the U.S., with two houses in the legislature and a president who functions as both head of state and head of government and is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The Philippines is a member of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) forum.