Indonesia–Philippines relations

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Indonesia–Philippines relations
Map indicating locations of Indonesia and Philippines


Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is welcomed by Indonesian President Joko Widodo upon his arrival at Istana Merdeka in Jakarta on September 9, 2016.

Indonesia–Philippines relations are foreign bilateral relations between Indonesia and the Philippines. The two countries are each other's closest allies[1][2] and both have supported each of their policies in the region such as democracy and the rule of law in the South China Sea. Since diplomatic ties were officially established in 1949, Indonesia and Philippines enjoys cordial bilateral relationship in spirit of kinship. Both countries have established embassies in each capitals, Indonesia has their embassy in Manila and consulate in Davao City, while Philippines has their embassy in Jakarta and consulate in Manado and Surabaya. High rank stately visits have been conducted for years.

Both nations are the founders of ASEAN and the members of Non-Aligned Movement and APEC. Both countries are members of the East ASEAN Growth Triangle together with Brunei Darussalam and Malaysia in the BIMP-EAGA. Both countries are mainly composed of islands.

Country comparison[edit]

Official Name Republic of Indonesia Republic of the Philippines
Native Name Republik Indonesia Republika ng Pilipinas
Coat of Arms National emblem of Indonesia Garuda Pancasila.svg Coat of arms of the Philippines.svg
Flag Indonesia Philippines
National Motto Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Maka-Diyos, Maka-Tao, Makakalikasan at Makabansa
National Anthem Indonesia Raya Lupang Hinirang
Population 263,991,400 104,918,100
Area 1,904,569 km2 (735,358 sq mi) 343,448 km2 (132,606 sq mi)
Population Density 138.61/km2 (359.0/sq mi) 351.87/km2 (911.3/sq mi)
Time zones 3 1
Capital Jakarta Manila
Largest City Jakarta – 9,607,787 Quezon City – 2,936,116
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Established 17 August 1945 (Declared)
27 December 1949 (Recognized)
12 June 1898 (Declared)
4 July 1946 (Granted)
Predecessor States Colonial Period (1512–1949)
Portuguese Colonization (1512–1850)

Dutch East India Company (1602–1800)

 Dutch East Indies (1800–1949)
Japanese-occupied Dutch East Indies (1942–1945)
Republic of Indonesia (1945–1949)

 Dutch New Guinea (1949–1962)

Post–Colonial Period (1949–present)
Republic of the United States of Indonesia (1949–1950)
 Republic of Indonesia
Colonial Period (1565–1946)
Spanish East Indies (1565–1898)
British-occupied Manila (1762–1764)
Sovereign Tagalog Nation (1896–1897)
 Republic of the Philippines (1897)

Military Government of the Philippine Islands (1898–1902)
 Philippine Republic (1899–1902)

Insular Government of the Philippine Islands (1902–1935)
Tagalog Republic (1902–1906)

Commonwealth of the Philippines (1935–1946)
 Japanese-sponsored Philippine Republic (1943–1945)

Post–Colonial Period (1946–present)
 Republic of the Philippines
First Leader Sukarno Emilio Aguinaldo
Current Leader President: Joko Widodo President: Rodrigo Duterte
Current Deputy Vice President: Jusuf Kalla Vice President: Leni Robredo
Legislature People's Consultative Assembly
Regional Representative Council
President: Oesman Sapta Odang
People's Representative Council
Speaker: Bambang Soesatyo
President: Vicente Sotto III
House of Representatives
Speaker: Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
Judiciary Supreme Court
Chief Justice: Muhammad Hatta Ali
Constitutional Court
Chief Justice: Arief Hidayat
Supreme Court
Chief Justice: Lucas Bersamin
Military Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
Law Enforcement Agency Indonesian National Police (POLRI) Philippine National Police (PNP)
Religion 87.2% Islam
7.0% Protestantism
2.9% Roman Catholicism
1.7% Hinduism
0.7% Buddhism
0.2% Confucianism
80.58% Roman Catholicism
10.80% Protestantism
5.57% Islam
2.45% Iglesia Ni Cristo
1.00% Aglipayan
0.08% Irreligion
Ethnic groups 42.6% Javanese
15.4% Sundanese
3.4% Malays
3.3% Madurese
3% Batak
2.7% Minangkabau
2.5% Betawi
2.4% Bugis
31.6% Visayans
28.1% Tagalog
10.1% Iloko
6.9% Kabikolan
4.5% Moros
3.4% Zamboangueño
3.3% Kapampangan
1.8% Pangasinan
National language Indonesian Filipino
Official languages Indonesian Filipino, English
GDP (PPP) US$3.010 trillion ($11,633 per capita) US$811.726 billion ($7,846 per capita)
GDP growth rate 5.1% (2017) 6.7% (2018)
Main industries Palm oil, coal, petroleum, textiles Electronics, aerospace, shipbuilding, chemicals
Labor force 125 million (2016) 44 million (2018)
HDI 0.694 (medium) 0.699 (medium)

Leaders of the two states

Elpidio QuirinoRamon MagsaysayCarlos P. GarciaDiosdado MacapagalFerdinand MarcosCorazon AquinoFidel RamosJoseph EstradaGloria Macapagal ArroyoBenigno Aquino IIIRodrigo DuterteSukarnoSuhartoB. J. HabibieAbdurrahman WahidMegawati SukarnoputriSusilo Bambang YudhoyonoJoko WidodoPhilippinesIndonesia


Warrior from Java in the Philippines, c. 1590 in Boxer Codex

Ancient era[edit]

Indonesia and the Philippines are both archipelagic countries with ethnic populations that have common Austronesian ancestry. The historical links between ancient Indonesia and the Philippines have commenced since around the 9th century. The Laguna Copperplate Inscription dated from 900 CE mentioned the Javanese Medang Kingdom and the Srivijaya Empire. The writing system used is the Kawi Script, while the language is a variety of Old Malay, and contains numerous loanwords from Sanskrit and a few non-Malay vocabulary elements whose origin is between Old Tagalog and Old Javanese.[3] The 14th century Nagarakretagama manuscript written during the height of Majapahit empire, mentioned several states that is now Philippines; Kalka, Selurong (Manila), and Solot (Sulu), suggested that Majapahit empire influences had reached the Philippine archipelago.

Moluccan Warrior in the Philippines, c. 1590 in Boxer Codex

Various Philippine legends also refer to Indonesia as a place of ancestral origin. According to Visayan folklore, during the Chola occupation of Sumatra, a minor prince by the name of Rajamuda Lumaya was sent to establish a vassal state and a base. Known better by the name Sri Lumay, he reached what is today Cebu, establishing the Rajahnate of Cebu and ruling with his sons Sri Alho and Sri Bantug. The Kedatuan of Madja-as, an ancient confederation in what is today Western Visayas and the Negros Island Region, was a vassal state of the Srivijaya Empire.

Age of Islam[edit]

During the age of Islamic sultanates in Southeast Asia, many Islamic missionaries from present-day Indonesia (as well as Malaysia) migrated to the southern Philippines to preach Islam. In 1390 CE, Rajah Baguinda, also a native of Sumatra helped form a polity in the Sulu Archipelago which would become a preceding state to the Sultanate of Sulu.

The Sultanate of Sulu would cover an area, that includes the modern-day Philippine islands of the Sulu Archipelago, Palawan, the Malaysian state of Sabah and the Indonesian province of North Kalimantan.

European occupation[edit]

In the 16th century the two realms were divided under European colonial powers; Philippines archipelago was held under Spanish Empire while on the south the Moluccas spice islands (now Eastern parts of Indonesia) was under Portuguese possession, later wrestled by Dutch Empire. European colonials identify both archipelagic realms as East Indies, Spanish East Indies and Dutch East Indies. The natives of the Moluccas of Indonesia referred to the Philippine island of Mindanao as "Maluku Besar" or "Greater Moluccas".

From 1925 to 1926, Indonesian national hero and former PKI member Tan Malaka lived in Manila. There he became a correspondent of the nationalist newspaper El Debate, edited by Francisco Varona. Publication of Malaka's works, such as a second edition of Naar de Republiek Indonesia (December 1925) and Semangat Moeda (Young Spirit; 1926) might have been supported by Varona. There Malaka also met Mariano de los Santos, José Abad Santos, and Crisanto Evangelista.[4][5]


President Benigno Aquino III shakes hand with President Joko Widodo, during the courtesy call at the Malacañang Palace

Since Indonesia's proclamation of independence on 17 August 1945 and the Philippines independence on 4 July 1946, the old cordial relationship between Indonesians and the Filipinos are reestablished. On November 24, 1949, the two countries established diplomatic relations.[6] Since 1949, the Indonesian Government has opened its representative office (Consular Office) in Manila but it was not until the early 1950s that a diplomatic office (embassy) was established headed by an Ambassador. To institutionalize the relation between the two countries, a treaty of friendship was signed on 21 June 1951. This Treaty constituted the basic relationship of both countries, covering several aspects such as maintenance of peace and friendship, settlement of disputes by diplomatic and peaceful means, traffic arrangements for citizens of both countries and activities to promote cooperation in the area of trade, cultural, shipping, etc. which include the political, social-economic and security matters of both countries. In 1967, both countries together with Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia founded ASEAN to ensure the peace and stability in the region.

In 2010, an Indonesian photographer by the name of Ilham Anas (known for his physical resemblance to Barack Obama) starred in a Philippine Domperidone commercial, impersonating Obama.[7] In 2012, Indonesian television producers spawned their national franchise of the Philippine game-television show Eat Bulaga!, known as Eat Bulaga! Indonesia. The first Indonesian version adopted many activities and game segments from their original Philippine counterpart, before switching TV stations and adding their own twists.[8]

However, with the case of Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina death-row inmate in Indonesia convicted of drug trafficking, relations between the two nations may take a minor strain. Veloso has however requested her family and the Philippine government not to damage the Indonesia–Philippines relations.[9] In the end, Veloso's execution was further delayed on the day she was scheduled to be executed.

In 2016, in an effort to improve the country's maritime capabilities, the Philippine Navy purchased its newest warship, the BRP Tarlac, from Indonesia. It is based on the Makassar-class ships used by the Indonesian Navy. The ship was built by PT PAL Indonesia, in Surabaya, East Java where it is to be exported from. This would enable the Philippines to rely less on foreign allies for military maritime transport.[10]

In June 2016, economic relations between Indonesia and the Philippines took a minor strain, when the Indonesian officials suspended coal exports to the Philippines. This decision was made after 7 Indonesian sailors carrying boats of coal en route to the Philippines were kidnapped by Filipino militants in the Sulu Sea. It is unknown of whether the militants were part of the Abu Sayyaf. Indonesian minister for foreign affairs Retno Marsudi stated that the moratorium would last until the Philippine government could provide confident security to Indonesian nationals. Indonesia currently is the Philippines' biggest supplier of coal, approximately 70%.[11][12]

In January 2017, the Philippines granted residence permits to persons of Indonesian descent (PIDs) and stateless people with Indonesian ancestry living in southern Philippines.[13]


Bilateral trade has trended positively in recent years. According to the Indonesian Ministry of Trade, that figure has gone from $1.12 billion in 2003 to $2.9 billion in 2009 and $3.89 billion in 2010.[14] Indonesia is currently the Philippines' biggest supplier of coal, exporting about 70% of the Philippines' coal imports. In June 2016, Indonesian coal exports to the Philippines was put under a moratorium due to the growing concern of piracy in the Sulu Sea.[11] That being said, the total trade between the two countries is in excess of $5.2 billion in 2016 with the balance of trade significantly favoring Indonesia, whose exports to Philippines compose over 85% of said figure[15][16]. The first Indonesian warship to be exported was also delivered to the Philippines in May 2016[17].


As a result of their close history, Indonesia and the Philippines also display similar cultural characteristics, though less than of Malaysia. The people of both nations share some similar lifestyles, such as the tradition with eating with the hands and eating on banana leaves. Both countries also share similar dishes, such as bakpia, or commonly known as "hopia" in the Philippines, a Chinese-influenced pastry as well as the lumpia spring-roll.

The kris, a battle dagger originating from Indonesia is also a part of Filipino culture, though it is much more confined to the southern Philippines and the Muslim areas (as Philippines is a majority-Catholic country). Additionally, dances and festivals can be found throughout Mindanao that originate from influences of the Majapahit Empire.

Tourism and transportation[edit]

During the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2012 in Manado, North Sulawesi, the governments of Indonesia and the Philippines initiated their very first bilateral tourism cooperation. This initiative will improve connectivity between the two countries by operating cruise ships and the renewal of direct flights between Davao in the Philippines to Manado.

The two countries are also actively supporting the Master Plan of ASEAN Connectivity, which will enhance greater mobility within the region. The Philippines in particular is eager to develop the ASEAN Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) Network and Short Sea Shipping. In April 2017, the new shipping route connecting Davao in the Philippines with Bitung in Indonesia was inaugurated. This shipping route is within the BIMP-EAGA agreement and expected to boost Indonesia-Philippines trade relations.[18]

Transborder terrorism and separatism[edit]

Indonesia and the Philippines are working hand-in-hand to explore ways of cooperation to combat terrorism and other forms of transnational crimes threatening their borders and more broadly within Southeast Asia.[14] Indonesia's president has expressed his country’s readiness to assist the Philippine government in peace talks with Islamist separatist groups active in its borders. And the Philippines helped Indonesia in its own negotiations with rebels, serving as a monitor during the Aceh Peace Process in 2005.

The Indonesian-Philippines naval border areas in Sulawesi Sea near Sulu archipelago and Mindanao waters are known as the piracy hotspots as well as terrorist's corridor. The Islamist militant operating in Poso, Central Sulawesi, has established relations with their Islamist terrorist counterparts in Sulu and Mindanao areas in Southern Philippines. Arms supply for Poso Islamist guerillas are suspected has been supplied by arm dealer operating in the Philippines blackmarket. On 26 March 2016, 10 Indonesian sailors were held hostage by Islamist militant group Abu Sayyaf operating in Sulu archipelago in southern Philippines. The Indonesian vessels were freighting coal from South Borneo heading for Batangas port was hijacked near Sulu waters. The Philippines and Indonesian authority has been working together to crack down this hostage crisis. On 2 May 2016, 10 of Indonesian sailor hostages were released by their captors.[19]

Boundary agreement[edit]

Indonesia and Philippines share maritime borders mainly on Sulawesi Sea. In the past both countries involved in territorial disputes over Miangas island (Island of Palmas Case). It was fought between the Netherlands and the United States and won by Netherlands East Indies in 1932. Today there is no territorial disputes between Indonesia and Philippines. In March 2011, leaders from both countries agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to boost cooperation in security, defense, boundary delimitation, protection of migrant workers, education and sports. Indonesia is keeping its support for the Philippine proposal to delineate and segregate the disputed parts of the South China Sea from the undisputed areas in drafting the Code of Conduct that will bind countries with territorial claims in the Spratlys group of islands.

On May 23, 2014, the Philippines and Indonesia signed a historic agreement that drew a boundary between the two countries. Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and his Indonesian counterpart, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, inked the deal in Manila with Philippine President Benigno Aquino III and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as witnesses. The EEZ is an area 200 nautical miles from a coastal state's baselines, or edges, within which the state has the sovereign rights to explore and exploit, and conserve and manage natural resources, among others. “The conclusion of the negotiations attests to the friendship, patience, goodwill, and commitment of the governments of the Philippines and Indonesia to peacefully address maritime issues,” said Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Evan Garcia, who led the Philippine team in negotiations.[20]

Disaster reliefs[edit]

Both Indonesia and Philippines archipelago are prone to natural disasters, such as volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis and storms (typhoons, tornadoes, etc.). In spirits of solidarity and humanity both country often help each other in times of need. The Indonesian government on Monday December 10, 2012 came to the aid of thousands of typhoon “Pablo” (Bopha) victims in the Visayas and Mindanao, donating $1 million and four tons of relief items through the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Besides the financial aid, the Indonesian government also gave 1,000 military blankets, 3,000 packs of ready-to-eat meals and 50 boxes of instant noodles.[21]

In November 2013, Indonesian Government sent humanitarian aid of goods and logistics worth $1 million to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Central Philippines as part of ASEAN solidarity. Indonesian Red Cross also sent 688,862 tonnes emergency supplies. Three Indonesian Air Force Hercules aircraft deployed with supplies to affected areas. Logistical aid including aircraft, food, generators and medicine. The Indonesian Red Cross deployed KM Emir cargo ship loaded with emergency supplies and also 30 Indonesian Red Cross volunteers.[22][23][24][25]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Indonesia And The Philippines Have An Alliance In The Works". 21st Century Asian Arms Race. 2017-10-28. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  2. ^ "PH, Indonesia alliance 'stronger than ever'". Manila Bulletin News. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  3. ^ Postma, Antoon. (1992). The Laguna Copper-Plate Inscription: Text and Commentary. Philippine Studies vol. 40, no. 2:183-203
  4. ^ Jarvis 1987, p. 46.
  5. ^ McVey 1965, p. 206.
  6. ^ "Briefer: Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Indonesia". Official Gazette of the Philippines. Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
  7. ^ Doherty, Ben (5 December 2010). "Spot the difference: Barack Obama and his doppelganger". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  8. ^ Dewi, Ratna (14 July 2012). "14 Host Pandu 'Eat Bulaga' Indonesia". (in Indonesian). Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  9. ^ Esmaquel, Paterno II (28 April 2015). "Mary Jane Veloso: Don't harm ties with Indonesia". Rappler. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "Indonesia says coal on hold for Philippines after seven sailors abducted". Reuters.
  12. ^ "'Go to hell Philippines': Indonesian workers ask Duterte to act on Abu Sayyaf kidnappings". Rappler. Archived from the original on 2016-07-26.
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b Bartolome, Clarisse Ann (April 11, 2012). "Away From the Spotlight, Indonesia and the Philippines Have Forged a Tight Bond". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Foreign Trade Statistics of the Philippines: 2016" (PDF). Philippines Statistics Authority. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  16. ^ "NERACA PERDAGANGAN INDONESIA dengan PILIPINA Periode: 2012 - 2017" (in Indonesian). Indonesian Ministry of Trade. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  17. ^ Parameswaran, Prasanth. "Will Philippines Get More Indonesia-Built Warships?". The Diplomat. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  18. ^ Sofia Tomacruz (28 April 2017). "PH-Indonesia RoRo first to sail on new shipping route". Rappler.
  19. ^ Tim Hume and Kathy Quiano (May 2, 2016). "10 Indonesian hostages released by Islamist militant group, president says". CNN.
  20. ^
  21. ^ Ramos, Marlon (December 11, 2012). "Indonesia donates $1M, 4 tons of relief goods for typhoon Pablo victims". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  22. ^ Primanita, Arientha (November 13, 2013). "Indonesia Sends $2m Typhoon Haiyan Aid to Philippines". Jakarta Globe. Retrieved November 24, 2013.
  23. ^ "Indonesia to Send Typhoon Aid to Philippines". Jakarta Globe. November 10, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013.
  24. ^ "Pelepasan Misi Kemanusiaan PMI Untuk Filipina" (in Indonesian). Indonesian Red Cross. November 22, 2013. Archived from the original on November 28, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  25. ^ "Typhoon Haiyan: UN launches $301m Philippines aid appeal Aid at a glance". BBC. 12 November 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.