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Philippines:
Geography

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Philippines Page


Other pages in this profile of the Philippines:
People, Government, Economy, Communications & Transportation, Military & Transnational Issues.
Background
Definition
The Philippine Islands became a Spanish colony during the 16th century; they were ceded to the US in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. In 1935 the Philippines became a self-governing commonwealth. Manuel QUEZON was elected president and was tasked with preparing the country for independence after a 10-year transition. In 1942 the islands fell under Japanese occupation during World War II, and US forces and Filipinos fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. On 4 July 1946 the Republic of the Philippines attained its independence. The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a "people power" movement in Manila ("EDSA 1") forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA's stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another "people power" movement ("EDSA 2") demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2004. The Philippine Government faces threats from three terrorist groups on the US Government's Foreign Terrorist Organization list, but in 2006 and 2007 scored some major successes in capturing or killing key wanted terrorists. Decades of Muslim insurgency in the southern Philippines have led to a peace accord with one group and an ongoing cease-fire and peace talks with another.
Location
Definition
Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea, east of Vietnam
Geographic coordinates
Definition
13 00 N, 122 00 E
Map references
Definition
Southeast Asia
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 300,000 sq km
land: 298,170 sq km
water: 1,830 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly larger than Arizona
Land boundaries
Definition
0 km
Coastline
Definition
36,289 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: irregular polygon extending up to 100 nm from coastline as defined by 1898 treaty; since late 1970s has also claimed polygonal-shaped area in South China Sea up to 285 nm in breadth
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Climate
Definition
tropical marine; northeast monsoon (November to April); southwest monsoon (May to October)
Terrain
Definition
mostly mountains with narrow to extensive coastal lowlands
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Philippine Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Apo 2,954 m
Natural resources
Definition
timber, petroleum, nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, salt, copper
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 19%
permanent crops: 16.67%
other: 64.33% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
15,500 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
479 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 28.52 cu km/yr (17%/9%/74%)
per capita: 343 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
Definition
astride typhoon belt, usually affected by 15 and struck by five to six cyclonic storms per year; landslides; active volcanoes; destructive earthquakes; tsunamis
Environment - current issues
Definition
uncontrolled deforestation especially in watershed areas; soil erosion; air and water pollution in major urban centers; coral reef degradation; increasing pollution of coastal mangrove swamps that are important fish breeding grounds
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants
Geography - note
Definition
the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia's main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait


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