Economy of the Philippines

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Economy of the Philippines
Metro manila rp.jpg
Makati City, the financial center of the Philippines
Currency Philippine peso (Filipino: piso; sign: ₱; code: PHP)
Calendar year
Trade organisations
APEC, ASEAN, WTO, EAS, AFTA, ADB, and others

$284.556 billion nominal (2014)[1]

$692.223 billion PPP (2014)[1]
GDP rank Steady 39th nominal (2014)
Increase 29th PPP (2014)
GDP growth
Increase 6.0% (Q3 2015)[2]
GDP per capita

$2,828 (2014)[1] (nominal 126th)

$6,986(2014) (PPP) [1]
GDP by sector
10.03% agriculture
33.25% industry
56.72% services
positive decrease 0.4% (September 2015)
Population below poverty line
43.0 (2009)[5]
Labour force
64.80 million (April 2015)[6]
Labour force by occupation
services: 53%, agriculture: 32%, industry: 15% (2012 est.)[7]
Unemployment positive decrease 6.4% (April 2015)[8]
Main industries
electronics assembly, Business Process Outsourcing, garments, shipbuilding, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing[9]
Exports $61.81 billion (2014)[11]
Export goods
semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits[9]
Main export partners
 Japan 21.3%
 United States 14.7%
 China 12.4%
 Hong Kong 8.0%
 Singapore 7.3%
 South Korea 6.0%
 Germany 4.1%
 Taiwan 3.5%
 Thailand 3.4%
 Netherlands 3.1% (2013 est.)[12]
Imports $69.16 billion (2014)[13]
Import goods
electronic products, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic[9]
Main import partners
 China 12.9%
 United States 11.2%
 Japan 8.4%
 Taiwan 7.8%
 South Korea 7.7%
 Singapore 6.8%
 Thailand 5.4%
 Saudi Arabia 4.5%
 Indonesia 4.5%
 Germany 3.8
(2013 est.)[12]
positive decrease $58.5 billion (2013)[14]
Public finances
37.3 % of GDP (Q3 2014)[15]
Revenues $58.97 billion (2016 est.)
Expenses $65.73 billion (2016 est.)
Economic aid $1.67 billion[16]
Foreign reserves
Increase $85.761 billion (January 2013)[21]

All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.

The Economy of the Philippines is the 39th largest in the world, according to 2014 International Monetary Fund statistics, and is also one of the emerging markets.[22]

The Philippines is considered a newly industrialized country, which has an economy transitioning from one based on agriculture to one based more on services and manufacturing. In 2014, GDP by Purchasing power parity was estimated to be at $692.223 billion.[23]

Primary exports include semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits. Major trading partners include the United States, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Germany, Taiwan, and Thailand. The Philippines has been named as one of the Tiger Cub Economies together with Indonesia, and Thailand. It is currently one of Asia's fastest growing economies. However, major problems remain, mainly having to do with alleviating the wide income and growth disparities between the country's different regions and socioeconomic classes, reducing corruption, and investing in the infrastructure necessary to ensure future growth.


Pre Colonial Era (900s - 1565)[edit]

Pre-Colonial Kingdoms in the Philippines

The economic history of the Philippine Islands had been traced back to the pre-colonial times. The country which was then composed of different kingdoms saw the large number of merchants coming to the islands for trade. Indian, Arab and Chinese merchants were welcomed by the kingdoms, which were mostly located in riverbanks, coastal ports and plains. The merchants traded for goods such as gold, rice and other products. The barter system was implemented at that time and the pre-colonial people enjoyed a life filled with imported goods which reflected to their fashion and lifestyle.

The people also were great agriculturists and the islands especifically Luzon has great abundance of rice, fowls, wine as well as great numbers of carabaos, deer, wild boar and goats. In addition, there were also great quantities of cotton and colored clothes, wax, honey and date palms produced by the natives.

Visayas islands on the other hand were abundant in rice, cotton, swine, fowls, wax and honey. Leyte was said to produce two rice crops a year, and Pedro Chirino commented on the great rice and cotton harvests that were sufficient to feed and cloth the people.

Kingdoms of ancient Philippines were active in international trade, and they used the ocean as natural highways.[24] Ancient peoples were engaged in long-range trading with their Asian neighbors as far as west as Maldives and as far as north as Japan.

Some historians even proposed that they also had regular contacts with the people of Western Micronesia because it was the only area in the Oceania that had rice crops, tuba (fermented coconut sap), and tradition of betel nut chewing when the first Europeans arrived there. The uncanny resemblance of complex body tattoos among the Visayans and those of Borneo also proved some interesting connection between Borneo and ancient Philippines.[25] Magellan's chronicler, Antonio Pigafetta, mentioned that merchants and ambassadors from all surrounding areas cameto pay tribute to the king of Sugbu (Cebu) for the purpose of trade. While Magellan's crew were with the king, a representative from Siam was paying tribute to the king.[25] Miguel López de Legazpi also wrote how merchants from Luzon and Mindoro had come to Cebu for trade, and he also mentioned how the Chinese merchants regularly came to Luzon for the same purpose.[25] The Visayan Islands had earlier encounter with the Greek traders in 21 AD.[26] Its people enjoyed extensive trade contacts with other cultures. Indians, Japanese, Arabs, Vietnamese, Cambodians, Thais, Malays and Indonesians as traders or immigrants.[27][28]

Aside from trade relations, the natives were also involved in aquaculture and fishing. The natives make use of the salambao, which is a type of raft that utilizes a large fishing net which is lowered into the water via a type of lever made of two criss-crossed poles. Night fishing was accomplished with the help of candles made from a particular type of resin similar to the copal of Mexico. Use of safe pens for incubation and protection of the small fry from predators was also observed, and this method astonished the Spaniards at that time.[25] During fishing, large mesh nets were also used by the natives to protect the young and ensure future good catches.

Spanish Era: New Spain (1565-1815)[edit]

Sample of Goods brought via Manila Galleon in Acapulco


The natives already had a great economy and were considered one of the economic centers in Asia when the Spanish colonized and unified the islands. Their economy grew even further when the Spanish government inaugurated the Manila Galleon trade system. Trading ships made voyages once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean from the port of Acapulco in Mexico to Manila in the Philippines. Both cities were part of the then Province of New Spain.

This trade made the city of Manila one of the major global cities in the world, improving the growth of Philippine economy in the succeeding years.

The Manila Galleon system operated until 1815, when Mexico got its independence. Nevertheless, it didn't affect the economy of the islands.

On March 10, 1785, King Charles III of Spain confirmed the establishment of the Royal Philippine Company with a 25-year charter. The Basque-based company was granted a monopoly on the importation of Chinese and Indian goods into the Philippines, as well as the shipping of the goods directly to Spain via the Cape of Good Hope.[citation needed]

Spanish Era: Spanish East Indies (1815 - 1898)[edit]

Calle Escolta, the economic center of 19th century Manila.

After Spain loses Mexico as a territory, New Spain was dissolved making the Philippines and other Pacific islands to form the Spanish East Indies. This results to the Philippines being governed directly by the King of Spain and the Captaincy General of the Philippines while the Pacific islands of Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Micronesia and Palau was governed by the Real Audiencia of Manila and was part of the Philippine territorial governance.

It made the economy of the Philippines grew further as people saw the rise of opportunities. The agriculture remained the largest contributor to economy, being the largest producer of coffee in Asia as well as the large produce of tobacco.

In Europe, the Industrial Revolution spread from Great Britain during the period known as the Victorian Age. The industrialization of Europe created great demands for raw materials from the colonies, bringing with it investment and wealth, although this was very unevenly distributed. Governor-General Basco had opened the Philippines to this trade. Previously, the Philippines was seen as a trading post for international trade but in the nineteenth century it was developed both as a source of raw materials and as a market for manufactured goods. The economy of the Philippines rose rapidly and its local industries developed to satisfy the rising demands of an industrializing Europe. A small flow of European immigrants came with the opening of the Suez Canal, which cut the travel time between Europe and the Philippines by half. New ideas about government and society, which the friars and colonial authorities found dangerous, quickly found their way into the Philippines, notably through the Freemasons, who along with others, spread the ideals of the American, French and other revolutions, including Spanish liberalism.

In 1834 the Royal Company of the Philippines was abolished, and free trade was formally recognized. With its excellent harbor, Manila became an open port for Asian, European, and North American traders. European merchants alongside the Chinese immigrants opened stores selling goods from all parts of the world. The El Banco Español Filipino de Isabel II (now the Bank of the Philippine Islands) was the first bank opened in the Philippines in 1851.

In 1873 additional ports were opened to foreign commerce, and by the late nineteenth century three crops—tobacco, abaca, and sugar—dominated Philippine exports.

Alongside the rise of liberalism in the country was the rise of Nationalism. Due to the successful French Revolution in 1778 and Spanish Revolution as well as the Mexican Revolution, it led the provinces to revolt against Spain and then successfully got independent and had the First Philippine Republic

First Philippine Republic (1899 - 1901)[edit]

The economy of the newly independent country of the Philippines remained the same throughout its early years but was halted due to the break out of the Philippine-American War.

American Era (1901 - 1935)[edit]

Manila in the 1900s

When the Americans defeated the First Philippine Republic and made the Philippines a showcase territory of the United States, the country saw a redevelopment under the American system. Economy as well was re-developed. The Philippines saw the growth of the economy once again after the war as the Americans built new public schools, transportation, reform system, boutiques, offices and civic buildings.

When the Great Depression happened in the United States, the Philippines on the other hand wasn't affected. Instead, the US relied on the Philippine economy throughout the depression era.

Commonwealth Era (1935 - 1945)[edit]

1930s Manila overlooking the Pasig River and Manila Central Post Office

When the United States granted the Philippines to become a commonwealth, the country enjoyed a rapid growth of prosperity. Tourism and industrial and agricultural produce were among the largest contributors of the economy. Products included abaca, coconuts and coconut oil, sugar, and timber. Numerous other crops and livestock were grown for local consumption by the Filipino people. Manila became one of the most visited cities in Asia, alongside Hong Kong and as well considered as the most beautiful city in Asia which draws tourist from around the world that helped boost the economy of the country.

The performance of the economy was good despite challenges from various agrarian uprisings. Taxes collected from a robust coconut industry helped boost the economy by funding infrastructure and other development projects.The people enjoyed the first world economy until when the Philippines was dragged into World War II that resulted to the recession of the economy.

World War II (1941 - 1945)[edit]

Due to the Japanese invasion establishing the unofficial Second Philippine Republic, the economic growth receded and food shortages occurred. Prioritizing the shortages of food, Jose Laurel, the appointed President, organized an agency to distribute rice, even though most of the rice was confiscated by Japanese soldiers. Manila was one of the many places in the country that suffered from severe shortages, due mainly to a typhoon that struck the country in November 1943. The people were forced to cultivate private plots which produced root crops like kangkong. The Japanese, in order to raise rice production in the country, brought a quick-maturing horai rice, which was first used in Taiwan. Horai rice was expected to make the Philippines self-sufficient in rice by 1943, but rains during 1942 prevented this to happen.

Japanese Invasion Money - Philippines 500 Pesos

Also during World War II in the Philippines, the occupying Japanese government issued fiat currency in several denominations; this is known as the Japanese government-issued Philippine fiat peso.

The first issue in 1942 consisted of denominations of 1, 5, 10 and 50 centavos and 1, 5, and 10 Pesos. The next year brought "replacement notes" of the 1, 5 and 10 Pesos while 1944 ushered in a 100 Peso note and soon after an inflationary 500 Pesos note. In 1945, the Japanese issued a 1,000 Pesos note. This set of new money, which was printed even before the war, became known in the Philippines as Mickey Mouse money due to its very low value caused by severe inflation. Anti-Japanese newspapers portrayed stories of going to the market laden with suitcases or "bayong" (native bags made of woven coconut or buri leaf strips) overflowing with the Japanese-issued bills.[29] In 1944, a box of matches cost more than 100 Mickey Mouse pesos.[30] In 1945, a kilogram of camote cost around 1000 Mickey Mouse pesos.[31] Inflation plagued the country with the devaluation of the Japanese money, evidenced by a 60% inflation experienced in January 1944.[32]

Third Philippine Republic (1946-1965)[edit]

After the re-establishment of the Commonwealth in 1945, the country was left with a devastated city, food crisis and financial crisis. A year later in 1946, the Philippines got its independence in America, creating the Third Philippine Republic.

In an effort to solve the massive socio-economic problems of the period, newly elected President Manuel Roxas reorganized the government, and proposed a wide-sweeping legislative program. Among the undertakings of the Third Republic’s initial year were: The establishment of the Rehabilitation Finance Corporation (which would be reorganized in 1958 as the Development Bank of the Philippines);[33] the creation of the Department of Foreign Affair and the organization of the foreign service through Executive Order No. 18; the GI Bill of Rights for Filipino veterans; and the revision of taxation laws to increase government revenues.[34]

President Roxas moved to strengthen sovereignty by proposing a Central Bank for the Philippines to administer the Philippine banking system[35] which was established by Republic Act No. 265.

In leading a “cash-starved[36] government” that needed to attend a battered nation, President Roxas campaigned for the parity amendment to the 1935 Constitution. This amendment, demanded by the Philippine Trade Relations Act or the Bell Trade Act,[37] would give American citizens and industries the right to utilize the country’s natural resources in return for rehabilitation support from the United States. The President, with the approval of Congress, proposed this move to the nation through a plebiscite.

The Roxas administration also pioneered the foreign policy of the Republic. Vice President Elpidio Quirino was appointed Secretary of Foreign Affairs. General Carlos P. Romulo, as permanent representative[38] of the Philippines to the United Nations, helped shape the country’s international identity in the newly established stage for international diplomacy and relations. During the Roxas administration, the Philippines established diplomatic ties with foreign countries and gained membership to international entities, such as the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the International Labor Organization (ILO), etc.

When President Carlos P. Garcia won the elections, his administration promoted the “Filipino First” policy, whose focal point was to regain economic independence; a national effort by Filipinos to “obtain major and dominant participation in their economy.”[39] The administration campaigned for the citizens’ support in patronizing Filipino products and services, and implemented import and currency controls favorable for Filipino industries.[40] In connection with the government’s goal of self-sufficiency was the “Austerity Program,” which President Garcia described in his first State of the NatIon Address as “more work, more thrift, more pro­ductive investment, and more efficiency” that aimed to mobilize national savings.[41] The Anti Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, through Republic Act No. 301, aimed to prevent corruption, and promote honesty and public trust. Another achievement of the Garcia administration was the Bohlen–Serrano Agreement of 1959, which shortened the term of lease of the US military bases in the country from the previous 99 to 25 years.[42]

President Diosdado Macapagal, during his inaugural address on December 30, 1961, emphasized the responsibilities and goals to be attained in the “new era” that was the Macapagal administration. He reiterated his resolve to eradicate corruption, and assured the public that honesty would prevail in his presidency. President Macapagal, too, aimed at self-sufficiency and the promotion of every citizen’s welfare, through the partnership of the government and private sector, and to alleviate poverty by providing solutions for unemployment.

Among the laws passed during the Macapagal administration were: Republic Act No. 3844 or the Agricultural Land Reform Code (an act that established the Land Bank of the Philippines);[43] Republic Act No. 3466, which established the Emergency Employment Administration; Republic Act No. 3518, which established the Philippine Veterans Bank; Republic Act No. 3470, which established the National Cottage Industries Development Authority (NACIDA) to organize, revive, and promote the establishment of local cottage industries; and Republic Act No. 4156, which established the Philippine National Railways (PNR) to operate the national railroad and tramways. The administration lifted foreign exchange controls as part of the decontrol program in an attempt to promote national economic stability and growth.

Marcos Era[edit]

Macroeconomic trends[edit]

The Philippine economy has been growing steadily over decades and the International Monetary Fund in 2014 reported it as the 39th largest economy in the world. However its growth has been behind that of many of its Asian neighbors, the so-called Asian Tigers, and it is not a part of the Group of 20 nations. Instead it is grouped in a second tier for emerging markets or newly industrialized countries. Depending on the analyst, this second tier can go by the name the Next Eleven or the Tiger Cub Economies.

In the years 2012 and 2013, the Philippines posted high GDP growth rates, reaching 6.8% in 2012 and 7.2% in 2013,[44][45][46] the highest GDP growth rates in Asia for the first two quarters of 2013, followed by China and Indonesia.[47]

A chart of selected statistics showing trends in the gross domestic product of the Philippines using data taken from the International Monetary Fund.[48][49]

Year GDP growth in percent
(constant prices, base year = 2000)
in PHP Billion
(current prices)
in USD Billion
(current prices)
GDP per capita
in USD
(current prices)
in USD Billion
GDP per capita
in USD
Peso vs Dollar
Exchange Rate
1980 5.15 270.1 35.9 744 64.4 1334 7.51
1981 3.42 312.0 39.5 797 72.9 1471 7.90
1982 3.62 351.4 41.1 810 80.1 1578 8.54
1983 1.88 408.9 36.8 707 84.9 1630 11.11
1984 -7.32 581.1 34.8 652 81.6 1530 16.70
1985 -7.31 633.6 34.1 623 77.9 1426 18.61
1986 3.42 674.6 33.1 591 82.4 1471 20.39
1987 4.31 756.5 36.8 641 88.4 1540 20.57
1988 6.75 885.5 42.0 715 97.6 1663 21.09
1989 6.21 1025.3 47.3 786 107.6 1791 21.70
1990 3.04 1190.5 48.9 796 115.2 1873 24.33
1991 -0.58 1379.9 50.2 797 118.6 1882 27.48
1992 0.34 1497.5 58.7 912 121.8 1891 25.51
1993 2.12 1633.6 60.2 914 127.1 1929 27.12
1994 4.39 1875.7 71.0 1052 135.5 2007 26.42
1995 4.68 2111.7 83.7 1224 144.8 2118 25.24
1996 5.85 2406.4 93.5 1336 156.1 2232 26.22
1997 5.19 2688.7 92.8 1297 167.1 2336 28.98
1998 -0.58 2952.8 73.8 1009 168.1 2297 40.02
1999 3.08 3244.2 83.0 1110 175.8 2352 39.09
2000 4.41 3580.7 81.0 1053 187.5 2437 44.19
2001 2.89 3888.8 76.3 971 197.3 2511 50.99
2002 3.65 4198.3 81.4 1014 207.8 2591 51.60
2003 4.97 4548.1 83.9 1025 222.7 2720 54.20
2004 6.70 5120.4 91.4 1093 242.7 2905 56.04
2005 4.78 5677.8 103.1 1209 261.0 3061 55.09
2006 5.24 6271.2 122.2 1405 283.5 3255 51.31
2007 6.62 6892.7 149.4 1684 309.9 3493 46.15
2008 4.15 7720.9 173.6 1919 329.0 3636 44.47
2009 1.15 8026.1 168.5 1851 335.4 3685 47.64
2010 7.63 9003.5 199.6 2155 365.3 3945 45.11
2011 3.64 9706.3 224.1 2379 386.1 4098 43.31
2012[50] 6.82 10564.9 250.2 2611 419.6 4380 42.23
2013[51] 7.16 11546.1 272.2 2792 454.3 4660 42.45
2014[52] 6.10

GDP growth at constant 1985 prices in Philippine pesos:[48][53][54]

Year 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
GDP growth % 4.6 4.9 4.8 9.2 5 6.4 8 5.6 5.2 5.6
Year 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
GDP growth % 5.149 3.423 3.619 1.875 -7.324 -7.307 3.417 4.312 6.753 6.205
Year 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
GDP growth % 3.037 -0.578 0.338 2.116 4.388 4.679 5.846 5.185 -0.577 3.082
Year 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
GDP growth % 4.411 2.894 3.646 4.970 6.698 4.778 5.243 7.117 4.153 1.148 7.632 3.6 6.8 7.2 6.1[52]

Composition by sector[edit]

As a newly industrialized country, the Philippines is still an economy with a large agricultural sector; however, services have come to dominate the economy.[citation needed] Much of the industrial sector is based on processing and assembly operations in the manufacturing of electronics and other high-tech components, usually from foreign multinational corporations.

Filipinos who go abroad to work–-known as Overseas Filipino Workers or OFWs—are a significant contributor to the economy but are not reflected in the below sectoral discussion of the domestic economy. OFW remittances is also credited for the Philippines' recent economic growth resulting to investment status upgrades from credit ratings agencies such as the Fitch Group and Standard & Poor's.[55] In 1994, more than $2 billion USD worth of remittance from Overseas Filipinos were sent to the Philippines.[56] In 2012, Filipino Americans sent 43% of all remittances sent to the Philippines, totaling to $10.6 billion USD.[57]


a fruit stand in Makati City.
Further information: Agriculture in the Philippines
Rice field in Nueva Ecija

Agriculture employs 32% of the Filipino workforce as of 2013, according to World Bank statistics.[58] Agriculture accounts for 12% of Philippines GDP as of 2013, according to the World Bank.[59] The type of activity ranges from small subsistence farming and fishing to large commercial ventures with significant export focus.

The Philippines is the world's largest producer of coconuts producing 19,500,000 tons in 2009. Coconut production in the Philippines is generally concentrated in medium-sized farms.[60] By 1995, the production of coconut in the Philippines had experienced a 6.5% annual growth and later surpassed Indonesia in total output in the world.[61] The Philippines is also the world's largest producer of pineapples, producing 2,198 thousand metric tons in 2009.[62]

Rice production in the Philippines is important to the food supply in the country and economy. The country is the 8th largest rice producer in the world, accounting for 2.8% of global rice production.[63] The Philippines was also the world's largest rice importer in 2010.[64] Rice is the most important food crop, a staple food in most of the country. It is produced extensively in Luzon, the Western Visayas, Southern Mindanao, and Central Mindanao.

The Philippines is one of the largest producers of sugar in the world according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Statistics Division.[65] At least 17 provinces located in 8 regions of the country have grown sugarcane crops, of which Negros island accounts for half of the country’s total production. As of Crop Year 2012-2013, 29 mills are operational divided as follows: 6 mills in Luzon, 13 mills in Negros, 4 mills in Panay, 3 mills in Eastern Visayas and 3 mills in Mindanao.[66] A range from 360,000 to 390,000 hectares are devoted to sugarcane production. The largest sugarcane areas are found in Negros which accounts for 51% of sugarcane areas planted. This is followed by Mindanao which accounts for 20%; Luzon, 17%; Panay islands, 7% and Eastern Visayas, 4%.[67]

Shipbuilding and repair[edit]

The Philippines is a major player in the global shipbuilding industry with shipyards in Subic, Cebu, General Santos City and Batangas.[68][69] It became the fourth largest shipbuilding nation in 2010.[70][71] Subic-made cargo vessels are now exported to countries where shipping operators are based. South Korea's Hanjin started production in Subic in 2007 of the 20 ships ordered by German and Greek shipping operators.[72] The country’s shipyards are now building ships like bulk carriers, container ships and big passenger ferries. General Santos' shipyard is mainly for ship repair and maintenance.[73]

Being surrounded by waters, the country has abundant natural deep-sea ports ideal for development as production, construction and repair sites. On top of the current operating shipyards, two additional shipyards in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan province are being expanded to support future locators. It has a vast manpower pool of 60,000 certified welders that comprise the bulk of workers in shipbuilding.

In the ship repair sector, the Navotas complex in Metro Manila is expected to accommodate 96 vessels for repair.[74]


The ABS used in Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Volvo cars are made in the Philippines. Ford,[75] Toyota,[76] Mitsubishi, Nissan and Honda are the most prominent automakers manufacturing cars in the country.[citation needed] Kia and Suzuki produce small cars in the country. Isuzu also produces SUVs in the country. Honda and Suzuki produce motorcycles in the country. A 2003 Canadian market research report predicted that further investments in this sector were expected to grow in the following years. Toyota sells the most vehicles in the country.[77] By 2011, China's Chery Automobile company is going to build their assembly plant in Laguna, that will serve and export cars to other countries in the region if monthly sales would reach 1,000 units.[78] Automotive sales in the Philippines moved up from 165,056 units in 2011 to over 180,000 in 2012. Japan’s automotive manufacturing giant Mitsubishi Motors has announced that it will be expanding its operations in the Philippines.[79]


Aerospace products in the Philippines are mainly for the export market and include manufacturing parts for aircraft built by both Boeing and Airbus. Moog is the biggest aerospace manufacturer with base in Baguio in the Cordillera region. The company produces aircraft actuators in their manufacturing facility.

In 2011, the total export output of aerospace products in the Philippines reached US $3 billion.[80]


A Texas Instruments plant in Baguio has been operating for 20 years and is the largest producer of DSP chips in the world.[81] Texas Instruments' Baguio plant produces all the chips used in Nokia cell phones and 80% of chips used in Ericsson cell phones in the world.[82] Until 2005, Toshiba laptops were produced in Santa Rosa, Laguna. Presently the Philippine plant's focus is in the production of hard disk drives. Printer manufacturer Lexmark has a factory in Mactan in the Cebu region. Electronics and other light industries are concentrated in Laguna, Cavite, Batangas and other CALABARZON provinces with sizable numbers found in Southern Philippines that account for most of the country's export.

Mining and extraction[edit]

The country is rich with mineral and geothermal energy resources. In 2003, it produced 1931 MW of electricity from geothermal sources (27% of total electricity production), second only to the United States,[83] and a recent discovery of natural gas reserves in the Malampaya oil fields off the island of Palawan is already being used to generate electricity in three gas-powered plants. Philippine gold, nickel, copper and chromite deposits are among the largest in the world. Other important minerals include silver, coal, gypsum, and sulphur. Significant deposits of clay, limestone, marble, silica, and phosphate exist.

About 60% of total mining production are accounted for by non-metallic minerals, which contributed substantially to the industry's steady output growth between 1993 and 1998, with the value of production growing 58%. In 1999, however, mineral production declined 16% to $793 million.[citation needed] Mineral exports have generally slowed since 1996. Led by copper cathodes, Philippine mineral exports amounted to $650 million in 2000, barely up from 1999 levels. Low metal prices, high production costs, lack of investment in infrastructure, and a challenge to the new mining law have contributed to the mining industry's overall decline.[citation needed]

The industry rebounded starting in late 2004 when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of an important law permitting foreign ownership of Philippines mining companies.[citation needed] However, the DENR has yet to approve the revised Department Administrative Order (DAO) that will provide the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA), the specific part of the 1994 Mining Act that allows 100% foreign ownership of Philippines mines.[citation needed]

Offshoring & outsourcing[edit]

Outsourcing offices in Makati City
A business process outsourcing office in Bacolod

In 2008, the Philippines has surpassed India as the world leader in business process outsourcing.[84][85] The majority of the top ten BPO firms of the United States operate in the Philippines.[citation needed] Total jobs in the industry grew to 100,000 and total revenues were placed at $960 million for 2005. In 2012, BPO sector employment ballooned to over 700,000 people and is contributing to a growing middle class. BPO facilities are located mainly in Metro Manila and Cebu City although other regional areas such as Baguio, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Clark Freeport Zone, Dagupan, Davao City, Legazpi, Dumaguete, Lipa, Iloilo City, and CamSur are now being promoted and developed for BPO operations.

Call centers began in the Philippines as plain providers of email response and managing services and is now a major source of employment. Call center services include customer relations, ranging from travel services, technical support, education, customer care, financial services, online business to customer support, and online business to business support. Business process outsourcing (BPO) is regarded as one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The Philippines is also considered as location of choice due to its many outsourcing benefits such as less expensive operational and labor costs and high proficiency in spoken English and highly educated labor pool. In 2011, the business process outsourcing industry in the Philippines generated 700 thousand jobs[86] and some US$11 billion in revenue,[87] 24 percent higher than 2010. By 2016, the industry is projected to reach US$27.4 billion in revenue with employment generation to almost double at 1.3 million workers.[88]

BPOs and the call center industry in general is also credited for the Philippines' recent economic growth resulting to investment status upgrades from credit ratings agencies such as Fitch and S&P.[55]

With the Philippines being the 39th largest economy in the world, the country continues to be a promising prospect for the BPO Industry. Just in August 2014, the Philippines hit an all-time high for employment in the BPO industry. From 101,000 workers in 2004, the labor force in the industry has grown to over 930,000 in just the first quarter of 2014.[89]

Growth in the BPO industry continues to show significant improvements with an average annual expansion rate of 20%. Figures have shown that from $1.3 Billion in 2004, export revenues from BPO has increased to over $13.1 Billion in 2013. The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) also projects that the sector will have an expected total revenue of $25 Billion in 2016.[89]

This growth in the industry is further promoted by the Philippine government. BPO is highlighted by the Philippines Development Plan as among the 10 high potential and priority development areas. To further entice investors, government programs include different incentives such as tax holidays, tax exemptions, and simplified export and import procedures. Additionally, training is also available for BPO applicants.[89]


Old Houses in Intramuros, Manila

Tourism is an important sector for the Philippine economy, contributing 7.8% to the Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) in 2014.[90]

The tourism industry employed 3.8 million Filipinos, or 10.2 per cent of national employment in 2011, according to data gathered by the National Statistical Coordination Board. In a greater thrust by the Aquino administration to pump billion[clarification needed] to employ 7.4 million people by 2016, or about 18.8 per cent of the total workforce, contributing 8 per cent to 9 per cent to the nation's GDP.[91]

In 2014, the tourism sector contributed 1.4 trillion pesos to the country's economy.[92]

Regional Accounts[edit]

Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) is GDP measured at regional levels. Figures below are for the year 2014:

Region GRDP (in ₱B) % of GDP Agriculture (in ₱B) % of GRDP Industry (in ₱B) % of GRDP Services (in ₱B) % of GRDP per capita GRDP
Metro Manila 4,679.830 37.02 9.290 0.20 828.025 17.69 3,842.515 82.11 365,629
Cordillera 230.706 1.82 25.320 10.98 115.760 50.18 89.626 38.85 132,612
Ilocos 390.511 3.09 95.546 24.47 103.939 26.61 191.026 47.42 77,926
Cagayan Valley 234.314 1.85 97.077 41.43 32.981 14.08 104.257 44.49 68,317
Central Luzon 1,147.550 9.08 207.130 18.05 481.729 41.98 458.691 39.98 104,081
CALABARZON 2,014.890 15.94 119.270 5.92 1,223.450 60.72 672.171 33.36 141,891
MIMAROPA 212.218 1.68 56.211 26.49 73.220 34.50 82.786 39.01 72,041
Bicol 264.495 2.09 70.471 26.64 54.280 20.52 139.745 52.83 45,798
Western Visayas 502.800 3.98 126.461 25.15 99.046 19.70 277.293 55.15 66,757
Central Visayas 831.833 6.58 56.387 6.78 309.877 37.25 465.570 55.97 113,391
Eastern Visayas 258.739 2.05 54.324 21.00 100.768 38.95 103.648 40.06 59,654
Zamboanga Peninsula 257.060 2.03 63.591 24.74 82.264 32.00 111.205 43.26 70,074
Northern Mindanao 485.705 3.84 122.198 25.20 156.265 32.17 207.242 42.67 104,424
Davao Region 519.069 4.11 104.436 20.12 151.174 29.12 263.459 50.76 107,479
SOCCSKSARGEN 351.357 2.78 116.079 33.04 105.313 29.97 129.964 36.99 77,662
Caraga 155.296 1.23 36.808 23.70 44.494 28.65 73.944 47.65 59,941
Muslim Mindanao 106.362 0.84 67.533 63.49 6.312 5.93 32.517 30.57 30,602
Total 12,642.736 100 1,428.131 11.30 3,968.897 31.39 7,245.708 57.31 126,579

Note: Green-colored cells indicate higher value or best performance in index, while yellow-colored cells indicate the opposite.

Economic indicators and international rankings[edit]

Further information: Philippine investment climate
Organization Title As of Change from previous Ranking
International Monetary Fund Gross Domestic Product (PPP) 2014 (Steady) 30th[93]
International Monetary Fund Gross Domestic Product (nominal) 2014 (Steady) 39th[94]
International Monetary Fund GDP per Capita (PPP) 2014 (Increase 1) 119th[95]
International Monetary Fund GDP per Capita (nominal) 2014 (Increase) 128th[96]
International Monetary Fund Foreign Reserves 2014 (Increase 1) 26th[97]
United Nations Population 2013 (Steady) 12th[98]
United Nations Land Area 2013 (Steady) 73rd[99]
Population Commission Population Density 2014 40th out of 242th[100]
World Health Organization Life Expectancy 2014 112th out of 193st[101]
Central Intellegence Agency Literacy Rate 2014 108th out of 194nd[102]
The World Factbook External Debt 2014 (positive decrease 3) 57th[103]
United Nations Human Development Index 2014 (Increase 1) 117 out of 187[104]
World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness 2014 (Increase 6) 52 out of 148[105]
Fraser Institute Economic Freedom of the World 2014 (Increase 5) 51 out of 144[106]
World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2014 (Decrease 4) 9 out of 142[107]
World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness 2015 (Increase 8) 74 out of 140[108]
World Economic Forum Global Enabling Trade Report 2014 (Increase 8) 64 out of 138[109]
World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2014 (Increase 13) 95 out of 183[110]
Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2014 (Increase 9) 85 out of 177[111]
Heritage Foundation/The Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom 2014 (Increase 8) 89 out of 178[112]
The Economist Intelligence Unit Global Peace Index 2013 (Decrease 5) 134 out of 158[113]
Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index 2015 (Increase 6) 141 out of 178[114]
World Economic Forum Financial Development Index 2012 (Decrease 5) 49 out of 60[115]


Percentage of population in 2007 living below poverty line, by province. Provinces with darker shades have more people living below the poverty line.
Economic growth[116][117][118]
Year  % GDP  % GNI
1999 3.1 2.7
2000 4.4 7.7
2001 2.9 3.6
2002 3.6 4.1
2003 5.0 8.5
2004 6.7 7.1
2005 4.8 7.0
2006 5.2 5.0
2007 7.1 6.2
2008 4.2 5.0
2009 1.1 6.1
2010 7.6 8.2
2011 3.7 2.6
2012[52] 6.8 6.5
2013[52] 7.2 7.5
2014[52] 6.1 6.3
2015[52] 5.2 5.6
* Computed at Constant 2000 Prices
** Source: NEDA and NSCB
Filipino exports in 2006
Graphical depiction of Philippines' product exports in 28 color-coded categories.

Most of the following statistics are sourced from the International Monetary Fund - Philippines (as of 2012; figures are in US dollars unless otherwise indicated).

  • GDP - purchasing power parity: $751.770 billion (2015)
  • GDP - real growth rate: 5.6% (Q2 2015)
  • GDP per capita purchasing power parity: $6,985.680 (2014)
  • GDP nominal: $330.259 billion (2015)
  • GDP per capita: $2,913.344 (2014)[119]
  • GDP - composition by sector:
    agriculture: 11.2%
    industry: 31.6%
    services: 57.2% (2013 est.)[9]
  • Population below poverty line: less than $1.25 / 10.41% (2009)
    less than $2 / 25.2% (2012),[120] 26.3% (2009),[120] 32.9% (2006 est.)[9]
  • Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: 2.4%
    highest 10%: 31.2% (2006)[9]
  • Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.8% (July 2015), 4.9% (July 2014), 5.3% (2011 est.),[9] 3.5% (September 2010)[121]
  • Labor force: 59.81 million (2011 est.)[9]
  • Labor force by occupation:
    agriculture 32%
    industry 15%
    services 53% (2012 est.)[9]
  • Unemployment rate:6.4% (April 2015), 7.5% (January 2014),[120][122] 7.5% (April 2013),[122] 6.9% (April 2012),[122] 7.2% (April 2011)[123]
  • Budget:
    revenues: $34.58 billion (2013),[124] $31.99 billion (2011 est.)[9]
    expenditures: $44.29 billion (2013),[124] $36.71 billion (2011 est.)[9]
  • Foreign Reserves: US$85.761 billion (January 2013)[125]
  • Industries: electronics assembly, shipbuilding, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, wood products, food processing, petroleum refining, fishing
  • Industrial production growth rate: 12.1% (2010 est.)[9]
  • Electricity - production: 59.19 billion kWh (2009 est.)[9]
  • Electricity - consumption: 54.4 billion kWh (2009 est.)[9]
  • Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2007)[9]
  • Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2007)[9]
  • Agriculture - products: sugarcane, coconuts, rice, corn, bananas, cassavas, pineapples, mangoes; pork, eggs, beef; fish[9]
  • Exports: $53.98 billion (2013)[126]$54.17 billion (2011 est.); $69.46 billion (2010 est.)[9][127]
  • Exports - commodities: semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, fruits[9]
  • Exports - partners: China 19%, United States 13.4%, Singapore 13.2%, Japan 12.8%, Hong Kong 7.6%, Germany 4.2%, South Korea 4.1% (2010)[9]
  • Imports: $61.831 billion (2013),[126] $68.84 billion (2011 est.)[9]
  • Imports - commodities: electronic products, mineral fuels, machinery and transport equipment, iron and steel, textile fabrics, grains, chemicals, plastic[9]
  • Imports - partners: Japan 14.1%, China 13.6%, United States 9.9%, Singapore 9.3%, Thailand 6.5%, South Korea 5.6%, Indonesia 4.1% (2010)[9]
  • Debt - external: $62.41 billion (31 December 2011 est.)[9]
  • Currency: 1 Philippine peso (₱) = 100 centavos
  • Exchange rates: Philippine pesos (PHP) per US dollar - 44.39 (2014 average),[128] 42.43 (2012 average),[128] 43.44 (2011), 45.11 (2010), 47.68 (2009), 44.439 (2008), 46.148 (2007), 51.246 (2006),[9] 55.086 (2005[citation needed])

Government budget[edit]

The national government budget for 2016 has set the following budget allocations:[129]

Budget Allocation Billions of Pesos
Billions of US Dollars
Department of Education 435.9 9.54 14.52
Department of Public Works and Highways 394.5 8.64 13.14
Department of National Defense 172.7 3.78 5.75
Department of Interior and Local Government 154.5 3.38 5.14
Department of Health 128.4 2.81 4.28
Department of Social Welfare and Development 104.2 2.28 3.47
Department of Agriculture 93.4 2.05 3.11
Department of Finance 55.3 1.21 1.84
Department of Transportation and Communications 49.3 1.08 1.64
Department of Environment and Natural Resources 25.8 0.56 0.85
Department of Science and Technology 18.6 0.41 0

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]