Revealing relevant political and religious news, history, topics and truths

Philippines: History, Migration, Colonization and Corruption

The Philippines is an archipelago (group of islands) of more than 7,100 islands just north of the Equator in the Pacific Ocean.  There are numerous anthropology theories on the migration to the Philippines, the best agreeing that inhabitants of Southeast Asia of the same or similar ethnic groups gradually made their way to Australia, the Philippines and other islands in the region.  Nevertheless, the Philippines from its name, to its people and lands have been significantly affected by migration, colonization, corruption and religion.   This article will show major events in the history of the Philippines, including many wars; as well as discuss nations that sought to control its people and resources; and the religion of its people.


Early History, Population and Migration

According to Filipino anthropologist Felipe Jocano, the only real facts show that the first inhabitants of the Philippines also migrated to New Guinea, Java, Borneo and Australia; and that they are from the same ethic groups.  What we know is that civilization began in the Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) about 6,000 years ago and expanded from there, primarily following rivers and using seas. This is backed by the fact that the Angono Petroglyphs (near Binangonan) dated about c.a. 3000BC to 2500 BC are the most ancient works in the Philippines.


Like Australia and other South Pacific islands, the skin pigmentation of Filipinos has varied in its people from light yellow/brown to very dark – such as in the Solomon Islands where (May 2012) reported that blonde hair was not first introduced to the islanders by the Europeans, but by random genetics and evolution (not Darwin evolution of 100,000 years; but generational genetics in < 100 years).  The population of the island was very low until about 1000 years ago; also showing that migration was subject to coming from Mesopotamia through South Asia and requiring certain technologies to build sea vessels and survive.

In 2006, SASI Group estimated the population in the Philippines in 1500 to be about 8 million; about the same as Nigeria and a million more than Mexico or Spain.  According to the Annals of the Association of American Geographers: Population Patterns of the Island of CEBU (1965), “Between 1500 and 1800, the dominant factor affecting population growth and distribution patterns was accessibility to the major trade and administrative center on the island.  Thereafter, as population pressures on the land became rather great, land quality became the most significant factor.”   Thus, as the Europeans were able to sail, trade and conquer; they begin by trading and when they saw the resources were great – they made it their goal to colonize the population.   Although, the population was subject to volcanic nature disasters and numerous invaders; the Official Handbook of the Philippines (1903) listed the population of the Archipelago at 6,975,000 between 1887 and 1903 and 35,000 in Cebu; thus it is not likely there were 8 million people in the Philippines in 1500.

In 1900, the US population was 76 million; and 326 million in 2017 – a 328% increase.   The Philippine population will reach about 104 million by end of 2017, and in 1900 was about 7 million (estimates are between 7 and 10 million for 1900) – at 8.5 million it was about an 1112% increase from 1900 (117 years).   The 1830 Philippines population was about 2.5 million, thus to 1900 about an 240% increase (70 years); while the U.S. was at 12.9 million in 1830, thus an 490% increase in the same period.  Immigration played a part in both countries numbers; but the main point is that in 1500 it is not likely that there were 5-8 million Filipinos; and that in 900 there were not likely 1 million and that villages in the Philippines were not likely 3500 years ago.

According to the Official handbook of the Philippines (Philippine Exposition Board; 1903), “…the Philippines are a magnificent rosary of glowing islands that nature has hung above the heaving bosom of the warm Pacific  …mountains and plains, lakes and streams, everywhere rich with glossy leafage, clustered growths of bamboo and palm, fields of yellow cane, groves of banana, great reaches of growing rice, and groves of verdant coffee resulting from an abundant rainfall, a rich soil, an even climate, and a warm influence of equatorial waters…”

The Handbook also speaks of volcanoes, one “in 1772 which destroyed 40 villages.  Galung Gung in 1822 destroyed 114 villages… 20 active and 29 dormant volcanic vents…”   It goes on to report on the numerous natural resources in the Philippines, including copper, silver, gold, tobacco (exported $5.4 million in cigars between 1898-1902), rice, fruits, hemp (U.S. imported 70,000 bales in 1850 and 913,000 in 1901), sugar, coffee ($71 million imported by U.S. in 1902), herbs/medicines, fish, hogs, deer, horses (imported), water buffalo, alligators, and in “1876 a forest area of 51.5 million acres.”

The Handbook states, “…the Ethnological Survey for the Philippine Islands estimate …not over 30 distinct tribes… while the vast bulk of the population is unquestionably of Malayan origin, the aboriginal race of the Archipelago is the dwarf, black people – the Negrito or little negro.  These men are almost the smallest on the globe… negroid in their color and frizzly mops of hair… but not the long head of the African and Melanesian… true savages… neither living in villages nor building stable huts, but roaming through the mountains in small groups…  About 1250 Chao Yukua, a Chinese geographer, wrote… ‘They build their nest in the tree tops and in each nest live a family, which only consists of three to five persons.  They travel about in the densest …forests without being seen… shoot their arrows at the passer-by.  For this reason they are much feared.  If the trader throws them a small porcelain bowl they will stoop down to catch it and then run away with it, shouting joyfully…”

It goes on to report, “the Ethnological Survey for the Philippine Islands reveals …that their numbers are dwindling… as low as 10,000…. to 30,000… they have resisted for centuries the attacks of Malayan, Chinese, and Spanish invaders… while driven from the coast, they yet hold their own in the interior… they use a lance of bamboo, a palm-wood bow and a quiver of poisoned arrows… food consist of fish, roots, fruit and rice.  They are notorious cattle thieves… tattooing is common among both men and women…”

“…The Igorot is a fine race of agricultural, head-hunting barbarians.  They are copper colored, have high cheek bones, a flat nose and thick lips.  Their hair is straight, black… the men …possess great strength… the women well-formed… and graceful… Their dress varies… a mere apron of leaves to a handsome jacket and skirt…  Tattooing is common among the men and women… men …tattoo war record… and aesthetic… in Religion they have the crudest, simplest animism.  This is universal among them… a form of the highest religion; the belief in a supreme being who is half man, half god… they have a democratic council of old men, ‘wise men’.”

“…Of all the peoples preceding the Spanish in the Philippines, the latest comers are the Mohammedan Malay… subsequent to the 13th century… Malaysia (saw)… the conversion of this (their) people to Mohammedanism by Arabian missionaries in the 12th century… They were the ‘Norsemen’ of the Orient, adventurous navigators and fierce fighters, and made their name a terror wherever their sharp prows cut the blue waters of the eastern seas.  They arrived in the Jolo’ Archipelago between 1300 and 1400 A.D.  Upon the coming of the Spaniards in the 16th century (the Muslims had) …outposts and settlements reaching to Manila Bay… The Spaniard checked their further progress in the Philippines… after centuries of conflict, to reduce them to Christianity or obedience to the Spanish Crown…”

“…The original Malay type of these insular Mohammedans or Moros, as the Spaniard called them, has been modified by …the natives of the Philippines and the Arab… There is another element… Before Spanish domination began the Chinese had commercial relations with the Philippines.  When Legaspi founded Manila in 1571 the Chinese were granted personal security to the ungovernable crowds who frequently killed and robbed them.  After the Spanish power became thoroughly established the number of Chinese residents in the Philippines continued to increase… by the middle of the 17th century there were some 30,000 Chinese in Manila alone… According to the census of 1876 there were 30,797 Chinese in the Archipelago, and in ten years, or in 1886… 99,152.”

“…The progressive Kingdom of Ferdinand and Isabella was quick to seize the advantages which accrued to her by the discoveries of the bold Genoese navigator, and 27 years after Columbus had planted the banner of Spain upon San Salvador, Hernando Magellan’s flotilla sailed from Seville… two years later, in 1521, the same year that Cortes was fighting his was from the coast to the valley of Mexico in his campaign against Montezuma, Magellan landed at Butuan… raised a cross… celebrated mass for the first time in the Philippines and the intrepid explorer took possession of the land in the name of the King of Spain… Notwithstanding the fact that it is almost 400 years since (1903)… the Archipelago is practically a new country…”

“…Magellan went from Mindanao to Cebu’ and made an alliance with Hamabar, the King, but was killed in battle on the small island of Mactan (small island 1 mile from Cebu)… in a war…  Barbosa and 26 companions were treacherously assassinated at a banquet by order of Hamabar and in 1522 the remnant …reached Seville (Spain) …completing the first circumnavigation of the globe…”

“During the next quarter of a century, between 1525 and 1550, three expeditions sailed for the Philippines… In 1542 the third expedition, under …Villalobos… reached southern Mindanao and the commander gave to the Island of Leyte and adjacent islands the name ‘Filipinas,’ in honor of Philip, at that time crown prince of Spain, which name was afterwards extended to the entire Archipelago… Thus from 1519, the date when Magellan sailed from Seville until 1564, a period of 45 years, 4 separate attempts were made to secure a foothold in the Philippines, but without results…”

“The next effort… was entrusted to General Miguel de Legaspi, who took with him Friar Andres’ de Urdaneta… an Augustine (Catholic) monk.  The entire force consisted of four ships and one armed frigate, carrying 400 soldiers and sailors.  The flotilla visited the Islands of Leyte, Camiguing, Bohol and Mindanao, and finally cast anchor in the port of Cebu’ in 1565, which it decided to capture…  The natives resisted, but the town was taken and sacked… Legaspi pushed forward his conquests little by little… He gradually won the confidence of the natives, their deposed King accepted baptism… and his daughter married a Spaniard.  About this time Friar Urdaneta returned to Spain to report to King Philip II.”

“In 1568 two galleons arrived at Cebu’ with troops, munitions and arms, and with them Juan de Salcedo, a grandson of Legaspi, called the Hernan Cortes of the Philippines.  About this time the Portuguese sent an expedition to dispute possession of the territory and Legaspi built a fortress …and in 1569 Cebu’ was declared a city and Legaspi was made governor-general of all the lands he could conquer.  In 1571 Legaspi transferred his government to Manila and declared it to be the capital of the Philippine Islands and proclaimed the sovereignty of Spain over the entire Archipelago.  Manila was already …a place of considerable size…  Rajah Lacandola ruled over Tondo… to the time of the Spanish-American war the members of this family, as being of blood royal, were exempted by the Spanish from the payment of all taxes.”

“Legaspi died in 1572, leaving a name in Spanish history… Meantime Salcedo was extending his conquests and soon Zambales, Pangasian, Ilocos and Camarines acknowledged Spanish supremacy.   Guido de Lavezares was appointed to succeed Legaspi by sealed instructions from the Supreme Court of Mexico…  In 1574 the Chinese pirate Li-Ma-Hong attempted to capture Manila… He had been outlawed by the Chinese Emperor… he had a fleet of 62 junks and 4,000 soldiers and sailors with some 1,500 women…  He arrived at the Bay of Manila in November, 1574, a desperate attack was made, but the pirate failed… and retreated north and attempted to establish himself in Pangasinan, but was soon dislodged by a combined force of Spanish and natives…  A considerable number of Li-Ma-Hong’s forces scattered among the mountains, and intermarried among the Igorrote tribes.  Their descendants …are distinguished by their semi-Chinese features.  This victory is still (1903) celebrated in the Philippines as a public holiday.”

“The more important events with occurred… were the arrival of the first Franciscan monks in 1577, and in 1578 governor-general Sande undertook an expedition to Borneo, where he restored its legitimate King to the throne, who later offered vassalage to Spain… The Chinese there …were compelled to live under the guns of Fort Baybay.  The first bishop, Fray Domingo Salazar, arrived at Manila… with a party of Jesuits and the foundations of the Manila cathedral were laid.  In 1583 during the funeral ceremonies of Gonzalo Ronquillo the church of San Augustin took fire and two-thirds of the city was destroyed.”

“…In 1590 the walls of Manila were built, and diplomatic relations were established with Japan.  At no time has the history of the Philippine been commonplace.  Struggles between the military and civil authority, between the church and state, and expeditions against the natives, fill the chronicles of the years.  Early in the 17th century began a number of naval engagements between Spaniards and the Dutch extending over a period of more than 50 years… The Dutch did not attempt to take the Philippines, but contented themselves with sea fighting and plundering vessels with brought supplies to the Spanish colonists… In July 1620, three Mexican galleons met three Dutch vessels off the Cape Espiritu Santo… Two were beached and the third reached Manila.  After this the Government vessels were instructed to vary their course on each voyage so that the enemy could not tell where to lie in wait for them.”

“In 1662 another Chinese pirate, Kotinga, demanded the submission of the Archipelago.  He had captured Formosa, then under the control of the Dutch, and had a very large force… The Filipino Spaniards resisted; bodies of infantry and a squadron of cavalry were organized, and the churches, convents and houses outside the walls were razed to the ground.  Kotinga, in order to communicate with the Spaniards, elevated an Italian Dominican missionary named Vitorio Riccio to the rank of mandarin and sent him as ambassador to the governor of the Philippines… When a Spaniard was killed in the market, the guns of the fort were trained on the Parian.  Many Chinese were killed, others hanged themselves and some escaped by sea.  A general massacre followed, but was finally checked in view of the inconvenience that would have followed from the lack of tradesmen and mechanics.”

“The next conflict was with the English.  In 1762 Spain agreed to unite her forces with those of France against England, and in the war which followed England sent fleets over sea to harass and capture Spanish outposts.  The British were everywhere successful.  In the West Indies Havana was captured by Rodney and Monekton, and a flotilla of 13 vessels appeared before Manila under command of Admiral Cornish… surrender of the city was demanded… the acting governor-general, Archbishop …Rojo, was inclined to yield, but a war party … resisted …and victory hung in the balance, but the English were finally victorious and entered the city October 5, and their flag floated over the Walled City.  A heavy contribution was levied upon the inhabitants… silver from the church… etc., amounted to $546,000…”

“…By the peace of Paris, February 1763, the Philippines were restored to Spain… (In addition, to) the Portuguese, Chinese, Dutch and English… the Spaniards …attacked one tribe after another and conquered each district separately… For three centuries or more the Spanish rulers attempted to cultivate a feeling of nationality that was foreign to the native mind.  The different tribes hated or mistrusted each other…”

“The checkered history… and constant demands on the Royal Treasury for their maintenance and defense raised the question of their retention or abandonment.  It was urged that they could never be altered for the better, that the vast quantities of silver sent there from other Spanish possessions were absorbed by the Chinese, that the Islands were so separated by dangerous seas that they could never be welded into one compact body politic, and therefore it would be better to let them go and work out their own salvation or destruction…”

“According to Argensola (church historian)… there were mission fields where the cross rather than the sword was to win victories.  It is recorded that Philip III replied… ‘For what would the enemies of Christ say if they perceived that the Philippine Islands were left destitute of the True Light, and its ministers to propagate it, because they did not produce rich metals and other wealth, like the rest of the fruitful islands in Asia and America?’  The religious orders of St. Augustine, St. Dominic, San Francisco and the Jesuits continued to send recruits, who established missions, built churches and convents, and baptized pagans, gradually pushing farther into the interior the border line between barbarism and civilization…”

“…In 1823 a military revolt …was put down, and in 1827 some of the towns of Cebu’ and Bohol started a rebellion… (but they submitted)… Pascual Enrile (1830) devoted himself to building roads and …communication in the islands… He organized the postal service… and raised the taxes on tobacco… the first trading steamers began to ply the waters of the Philippines and all the islands and cities of the Archipelago were put into direct commutation with the metropolis.  …agriculture was stimulated, (law and order was established in) most of the provinces… and the establishment of elementary and higher education…”

The Handbook also noted that due to various Royal Decrees of the Spain, that primarily the rich owned large amounts of land: “in 1880 (citizens) had to: possessed the land without interruption for 10 years to claim your title in good faith; or if no title had to possessed it for 20 years and cultivated it for last 3 years or 30 years without such cultivation.   In 1894, there were over 200,000 claims initiated but not concluded.”

Another way to understand the history of the Philippines is to explore its oldest writings and towns.  Aklan is considered to be the oldest province and is said to have been established early 1200s by people from Borneo.  Aklan’s first known ruler was Datu Dinagandan, whose grandson Kalantiaw III, in 1433 produced the Code of Kalantiaw (laws).


According to (Republic of the Philippines; ‘Historical Background’), Aklan is “the country’s oldest province… of the middle of the 13th century when ten Bornean datus, together with their families, fled the oppressive rule of the Bornean king, Sultan Makatunaw…  they came in contact with the black-skinned, pygmy aborigines of the island.  The Ati king named Marikudo… welcomed the newcomers…”

Unisan (originally Calilayan; Uni-san or Uni-sancti is from the Latin ‘holy saint’) and Cebu are also considered the oldest settled places in the Philippines. But Unisan was settled in 1521, the year Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines; and Cebu City was established by Miguel Lopez of Spain in 1565.  Of course there were villages before these, but the population of the island was scattered and unorganized.

As for its oldest writings, there has survived a copper plate dated 900 (“Saka-year 822…”), found in Laguna and written in Old Malay.   The Kingdom of Tondo was located in the Manila Bay area on Luzon Island.   Yet note, Lakan Timamanukum is the earliest known ruler of Tondo (12th century).


One of the points of revealing the history, population and mitigation of the Philippines is to show that its patterns are consistent with other such lands and countries that received civilization by natural flow from Mesopotamia in Asia; experienced wars, struggles and invasions; and religion in great part through colonization.

For more on MIGRATION see:

Specifically the following two articles offered in small part:

According to the Center For Migrant Advocacy (2017 article: History of Philippine migration), “A long history of migration is deeply ingrained in the social, economic, and cultural climate of the Philippines.  As one of the largest origin country for migrants, migration has greatly affected the Philippines.  …Migration in the Philippines is characterized in four significant waves.  First wave: First ever recorded Philippine migration occurred in the 1417 when Sultan Paduka Batara initiated a mission to improve trade relations with the Chinese emperor, consisting of Sulu Royalties and their families. Under Spanish rule in the 18th century, Manila maintained trade relations with Acapulco which started migration of Filipino seafarers to Mexico. Following the migration to Mexico, Filipino seafarers started settlements in Louisiana while other Filipino migrants were working as fruit pickers in California. At the end of the 19th century Filipino students, professionals and exiles migrated to Europe.  Second wave: …beginning of the 20th century until the 1940s large scale systematic migration of Filipinos to the US occurred.  During this American colonial period, the first Filipino migrants arrived in 1906 to work on sugar plantations in Hawaii. Shortly after, more Filipino migrants arrived in Hawaii to work as fruit pickers. Between 1906 and 1934 more than 100,000 Filipinos arrived in the US, most of whom in Hawaii. Other Filipino migrants were working in Alaska’s fish canneries. As a colony of the US, Filipinos were considered as US nationals, facilitating migration.  Third wave: … Following the end of the Second World War, the US government instituted a national origin quota system, limiting immigration for Filipinos who joined the US Navy. The national origin quota led to a significant decline in Filipino migration to the US. Due to the immigration restrictions of the US, more Filipinos started migrating to Asian countries in the 1950s. Around 250,000 Filipinos were employed in logging camps in Sabah and Sarawak serving five year contracts. Many more Filipinos were employed on American army bases in Vietnam, Thailand and Guam during the Indochina war. At the start of the 1970s Filipinos also migrated to Iran and Iraq to work as engineers and technicians. In the 1960s, the US and Canada relaxed immigration regulations, allowing for family reunification, which led to an significant increase of Filipino migration to North America. In the same period, Filipinos started migrated as nurses or domestic workers to Western Europe.  Forth wave: … In the 1970s former President Ferdinand Marco institutionalized a policy to encourage emigration to stimulate the economy. While these policies were aimed to be of temporary nature, labor migration has been steadily increasing since. High unemployment and poor living standards combined with a government policy of emigration encouraged thousands of Filipinos to seek employment overseas. In 1972, former President Marcos imposed Martial Law leading to the exile of political opponents. The political, social and economic uncertainty under martial law rule of President Marcos pushed opponents and middle class Filipinos to leave the country.”

According to the Center For Migrant Advocacy (2017 article: Philippine Migration), “the current age of globalization has faded international borders and stimulated multiculturalism.  In this context, Philippines is among the largest migrant countries of origin in the world… Migration has increased to over ten per cent of the Philippine population, or more than 10 million Filipinos, changing the social and cultural climate of the country. While it contributes to the international character of the Philippines, labour migration has torn Filipino seafarers and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) from their families for decades. Limited employment opportunities in the Philippines encourage Filipinos to pursue a brighter future abroad. The majority of the Filipino migrants are deployed to the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. …Philippine migration is becoming increasingly gendered. Domestic Workers, of whom 90 per cent are women, accounted for one-thirds of the total 2012 deployment of new hires.  Domestic workers and other low skilled workers often work in a deregulated environment making them extremely vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

Colonization/Colonialism of the Philippines: DNA and Government

The Colonization of the Philippines in part began in 1542 when the islands of Leyte and Samar were given the name ‘Filipinas’/Philippines, but more formally in 1565 when the Spanish established its first permanent settlement on Cebu.  Its Colonialism lasted until its independence in 1946.  Although Legazpi and his Spaniards made ‘blood compacts’ with some of the Datu, several tribes revolted against the Spanish intentions of colonizing their lands.

In that the Latin word colere means to inhabit, the Spanish did began to live in Cebu and on other islands in 1565.  However, their method was to build forts and conquer as they did in Central and South America.  Then once a foothold was established, they would send reinforcements to expand.  Their goal moved beyond trading posts, to controlling and colonialization – which is to become the governing power of the region and in the case of the Philippines – as much as the Archipelago as possible.   During the process and progression of colonialization; the Spanish (as did the Muslims) would establish dominates, make peace treaties, gain servants and allies of tribes, marry their men to the local women and then build church missions and schools.

For example, now five centuries or about 500 years after the Spanish began to colonize Mexico (Nueva España; New Spain) in 1519, their ethnicity show that about 62% of their 124 million population (2017) is Mestizo (Amerindian-Spanish), about 27% Amerindian or mostly so and about 10% mostly European.  And their language is 93% Spanish and their people greatly are at least in name Catholic Christians (82%).  (Source: 2017 CIA World Factbook)

Likewise, the Philippines, also having the Spanish arrive in the 16th century and being colonized by Spaniards have similar reflections; through two factors are much different – the United States expelling the Spanish rule about 120 years ago in 1898 and the Southeast Asians/Orientals (China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Polynesia, etc.) being so demographically near the Philippines.

Because of these differences, the Filipino (‘Tagalog’) and English are the official languages; yet, they have many other auxiliary languages.  Their 104 million (2017) people remain predominantly Austronesian/Malay – specifically, about 28% Tagalog, 13% Cebuano, 9% Ilocano, 8% Bisaya, 8% Honggo, 6% Bikol, and 3% Waray.  Yet, because of the vast Southeast Asia diversity, the islands have over 170 languages and more than 100 ethnic groups.   They are often called Filipinos or Mestizos, when they are of Spanish descent.  The people of the Philippines are also 82% Catholic Christians in name.  (Source: 2017 CIA World Factbook)


In the 1903 Philippine Census, it simply showed: Malay (Philippine): 7,539,632 (98.7%); Chinese: 42,097 (0.6%); Mestizo: 15,419 (0.2%); Negrito: 23,511 (0.3%); Caucasian: 14,271 (0.2%) [Spaniards and White US Servicemen]; Negro: 505 (0.01%) [Black US Servicemen].   This says nothing of what the Malay are.

According to Dr. Purugganan, Dean of Science at New York University and co-director of the Center for Genomics, “our culture even 100 years ago was already a mix – of Malay, Chinese, Hindu, Arab, Polynesian and Spanish, with maybe some English, Japanese and African thrown in.  And it shows up in our genes…  I think every Filipino who is genetically tested will show up as a mix…”  The average Filipino, like the average Mexican does not even consider their mix, they are citizens of their nation – looking and acting – like the vast majority in their country.

However, most Filipinos are more diverse than citizens in most of the nations of the world.  For this reason a DNA test could be frustrating such as showing x%Asia East; Polynesia or Pacific Islander, Asia South; 1% African.  The African portion is discovered as being notable, but the Asia portion is not specific.  But in another example, a college aged Filipino may discover from their grandparents that they are approximately ¼ Malaysian, ¼ Polynesian, 1/8 Caucasian, 1/16 Chinese, traces of Spanish and other.

According to Spanish biologist Gonzalez-Martin of Complutense University in Madrid (2012), “the demographics of the Philippines, where whatever anyone may think or be willing to admit, everyone is a mestizo…  What makes the Philippines interesting is how its population has been influenced by four waves of migration, unique in the world.  It is truly one of the most genetically diverse countries in the world… there is no such thing as being 50% Filipino and 50% anything else, because we are all a mix of the same genes… just groups of people, with very slight differences… race simply does not exist as a biological concept, and ethnicity has more to do with cultural affinity.”

Government: 1565 to 1898 – 116 Spanish Governors

In 1565, after a few differing landings, and being opposed in Cebu earlier in February, landed again in April – overcame the natives and built Villa del Santisimo Nombre de Jesus (Town of the Most Holy Name of Jesus).  The Spanish built Fort San Pedro in Cebu and set up Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as the first Governor of the Captaincy General of the Philippines.

In 1569, due to food shortages, the Spaniards moved and established a settlement next to Panay River.  Legazpie went there with 250 Spanish soldiers and about 600 native warriors.  Then in 1570, upon discovering the abundant resources in Luzon, the decision was made to move the headquarters again.  Because Manila Bay could be used to better facilitate trade with China and other countries, in 1571, Legazpi moved the capital of the Spanish East Indies to Manila.

He at first formed an alliance with Rajah Matanda – ruler of Maynila (Manila) and vassal to Saiful Rijal; the 8th Sultan (Malay: Yang di-Pertuan Negara ‘he who is lord’) of Brunei (first Sultan – the Muslim Muhammad Shah, 1368).   Legazpi also engaged in peace pacts with native councils and local rulers.  The Spanish quickly built the Walled City (June 1571) – Intramuros (‘within the walls’), which is now part of Manila.

In 1572, Legazpi died and was succeeded by Governor General Guido de Lavezaris who face much opposition from the Muslim Sultans in the region.   However, his reign was short and in 1575, Francisco de Sande became the Philippine governor.  He established several more cities, including Naga City; and enacted laws protecting the Filipinos from abuses by Spanish soldiers and citizens.  The Church of San Agustin was built in 1577.

In 1578, the Spanish sailed to Borneo and the Castellan War followed; battles between the Brunei and the Spanish.  About 400 Spaniards, with 1,500 Filipino natives and 300 Borneans, raided Kota Batu, Brunei.   Their Sultans fled, but the Spanish still suffered losses; in great part due to cholera and dysentery.  They burned the mosque in Kota Batu and showed enough strength so that the Muslim Sultans did no longer threaten Luzon.

In 1580, Penalosa became governor; then in 1583 another and in 1584 Vera became the 6th.   Between 1590 and 1602 there were 4 more; and between 1602 and 1609 – 3 more governors.  In 1609, Silva became the 14th and lasted until his death in 1616.   In 1607, then Commander Juan de Silva led the Spanish in defeating a Dutch fleet at Manila.  The Dutch had sent 13 vessels with about 2,800 men to war with the Spain and to plunder the islands.

From 1618 to 1624, Entenza was the 16th governor-general and he likewise had to repel Dutch and Japanese threats.  Sabastian de Corcuera was the 21st governor from 1635 to 1644.  He had certain tension with the church’s Archbishop Guerrero who in 1635 sought to give sanctuary in the church to a Spanish soldier who in anger killed a female slave (the governor removed the soldier and hung him on the same spot he killed the woman.  But Corcuera had bigger troubles dealing with the Moros (Muslims) who over the past 30 years had taken as many as 20,000 captive/slaves from the Philippines.  In 1638, after many battles and losses – a truce was declared.

His successor, Diego Fajardo (1644-1653) also had to repel the Dutch; and his successor, Sabiniano de Lara (1653 to 1663) had to deal with Chinese rebellions as did Corcuera.  He next Salcedo (1663-1668) was arrested and sent to Mexico by the Archbishop.  The 26th governor, Manuel de Leon (1669-1677) also struggled with the Archbishop.  Likewise, Juan Hurtado (1678-1684) was excommunicated and like Salcedo – died at sea on the way to Mexico.  Hurtado rebuild the College of Santa Potenciana during his term.  The 28th governor, Arriola (1684-1689) reinstated the Archbishop.

Again, Governor Gongora (1690-1701) had struggles with the Church powers on the islands; but did see the rebuilding of the Governor’s Palace.   The next, Echevarri (1701-1709) is dismissed by the king of Spain for supporting foreign policies between the Catholic Church and China without consent.  The next Arismendi (1709-1715) has issues with the Chinese in Manila and the powers of the Church; and the next, Mariscal (1717-1719) was arrested by the Archbishop’s Jesuits and assassinated by a mob.

Fray Francisco de la Cuesta, archbishop of Manila, became the 33rd governor (ad interim) in 1719 to 1721.  He dealt with ecclesiastic troubles as well; even being opposed by Franciscans, Dominicans and Augustinians for various actions.

From 1721 to 1750, there were 4 more governors.  Governors Jose Solis (1750-1754) and Pedro Santisteban (1754-1759) expelled certain Chinese and also dealt with troubles from the Moros and the archbishop.  Miguel Ezpeleta, bishop of Cebu became the 40th governor (1759-1761; note there were vacancies and possibly several short-term other interim governors).   After him, Manuel Rojo, 16th Archbishop of Manila took possession of the church and also became governor in 1762.  After the English raided Manila, he was imprisoned by the archbishop, but reinstated governor by the English (during brief British occupation) until his death in 1764.   The BRITISH ceased occupation of Manila due to a treaty following the Seven Year’s War (primarily: Britain, Prussia, Portugal versus France, Holy Roman Empire, Russia, Spain).

After, another briefly appointed British governor (Salazar), the British evacuated Manila in 1764 and Torre became interim governor.  Jose Raon was governor 1765 to 1770, during which he expelled both Chinese and the Catholic Jesuits.  After him, Simon Salazar from 1770 until his death is 1776; then Sarrio less than 2 years; both resisting the Moros.  Under Jose Vargas (1778-1787) the Chinese were allowed to return to Manila, fornications were strengthen and agriculture industries increased.

After 2 others Rafael de Leon served from 1793 until his death in 1806; he had a shipyard built at Binondo to build boats to defend against the Moros.  Two more served as governors 1806-1810, then during Aguilar’s term (1810-1813), Philippines’ first newspaper was established and the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was accepted in Manila.  Then after Jaraveitia (1813-1816), Mariano Fernandez de Folgueras was reinstated (1816-1822).  In 1819, certain natives rose up and massacred foreigners.  One year after his term ended, he was assassinated during an insurrection between Spanish-Americans and Filipinos (1823).

Ten more served as governor from 1822 to 1844, then Lt.-Gen. Narciso Zaldua (1844-1849) became governor.  During his term a military library was built and the first steam war-vessel was purchase in 1846.  He oversaw the conquest of the island of Balanguingui and saw the publication of Manila’s first daily newspaper (La Esperanza; 1846).  After Blanco, Antonio Eguia (1880-1853) saw a Leper Hospital founded in Cebu (1850) and the Española-Filipino Bank established (1850).

Five more served short terms from 1853 to 1857, when Lt. Gen. Fernando Escudero took office until 1860.  He reorganized the infantry; allowed a Jesuit mission and encouraged increased agriculture and trade.  Another eleven (11) served short terms from 1860 to 1869.  Then during Carlos Cerrada’s term (1869-1871) a 4th Constitution was written in 1869 (1st in 1812).

Then 10 more men serve short terms as governor from 1871 to 1888; several were interim and at least one removed for corruption.  During Valeriano Weyler’s term (1888-1891) a telephone system was established (1890).  The next two (1891-1896) were opposed by the Catholic Church for their reforms; followed by Polavieja – who served only 1 year.  During Fernando Rivera second time as governor (1897-1898) more than 30,000 natives were killed during the Philippine Revolution (1896-1897) and the rebellions and insurrections that surrounded it, primarily in Luzon.   Four more serve as interim in a 2 year period until 1898.   The last and 116th Governor-General of the Philippines was Diego Nicolau who only served about 3 months in 1898.

In 1898, the Spanish-American War began and the U.S. Navy destroyed the Spanish fleet at Manila.   The war was fought in Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines.  Though less than 1,300 America and Spanish soldiers died in action between the two nations, over 30,000 died from disease (mostly Spanish) and 40,000 Spaniards became prisoners.  Moreover, some estimate that over 15,000 Filipino soldiers died and perhaps several hundred thousand Filipino civilians (maybe included in 1899 Philippine-American War).  The Treaty of Paris ended the short war.  The United States received temporary control of Cuba and Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines were ceded to America in return for $20 million to Spain (about $580 million – 2017 dollars).  This ended the Spanish government in the Philippines.

The Balangiga Incident, Wars and Independence: 1898 to 1946

May 1, 1898 within a few hours the American Navy destroyed the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Manila Bay.  The sea was controlled, but taking the land was another matter.   Thousands of soldiers were brought in and Filipino forces fought alongside the Americans to end centuries of dominant control without fair Filipino representation.  After the Spanish-American War ended, Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States and independence was declared June 12, 1898, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, of Filipino-Chinese descent, became the President of the Philippine Republic.   He was just 30 years old.

Almost immediately, the tensions between the Filipinos and the Americans were stressed.  And it appeared that Aguinaldo was informing both the Americans and Spanish in hopes of their destroying each other.  Negotiations and cooperation between Aguinaldo and U.S. Admiral Dewey and Generals Merritt and Otis were very difficult from 1898 to 1899.  At one point, General Otis, within Congressional approval, declared himself ‘Military Governor of the Philippines.’

January 1899, Aguinaldo issued the following in El Heraldo de la Revolucion, “As in General Otis’s proclamation he alluded to some instructions edited by His Excellency the President of the United States, referring to the administration of the matters in the Philippine Islands, I in the name of God, the root and fountain of all justice, and that of all the right which has been visibly granted to me to direct my dear brothers in the difficult work of our regeneration, protest most solemnly against this intrusion of the United States Government on the sovereignty of these islands.  I equally protest in the name of the Filipino people against the said intrusion, because as they have granted their vote of confidence appointing me president of the nation, although I don’t consider that I deserve such, therefore I consider it my duty to defend to death its liberty and independence.”

Shortly afterwards a statement by Filipino Minister Agoncillo was given to the United States, “the Filipino people… will never consent to become a colony dependency of the United States.  The soldiers of the Filipino army have pledged their lives that they will not lay down their arms…”  Days later certain Filipino forces attacked the American barracks.  Fighting followed and President Aguinaldo surrendered in 1900.

In 1901, William H. Taft was appointed Governor-General of the Philippines (1901-1903); he would thereafter become the U.S. Secretary of War (1904-1908), 1st Provisional Governor of Cuba (1906), President of the United States (1909-1913) and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (1921 until his death in 1930).

It was the Philippine Organic Act of July 1902 at officially the ended the war.  Yet, the Act of independence was only diplomatic because the United States received a 99 year lease to hold land for military bases; and the Philippines agreed to significant trade with America.  (below: US soldiers watching cock fight with locals)

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BALANGIGA 1901: According to, “August 11, 1901, Company C, 9th US Infantry Regiment, arrived in Balangiga… Samar Island, to close its port and prevent supplies reaching Filipino guerillas in the interior… a unit …guarded the captured President Emilo Aguinaldo upon their return to the Philippines on June 5, 1901, after fighting Boxer rebels and helping capture Peking in China.  They also performed …during the July 4, 1901 inauguration of the American civil government in the Philippines and the installation as first civil governor of William Howard Taft, later president of the U.S. …13 companies arrived in Manila in April 1899… 11 companies returned to Manila on June 2, 1901 (returning from China)…

Filipino historian, Prof. Rolando Borrinaga… article Vintage View: The Balangiga Incident and Its Aftermath: “The first month of Company C’s presence in Balangiga was marked by extensive fraternization between the Americans and the local residents.  The friendly activities included tuba (native wine) drinking among the soldiers and native males, baseball games and arnis (stick fighting) demonstrations in the town plaza…  Tensions rose when on September 22, at a tuba store, 2 drunken America soldiers tried to molest the girl tending the store.  The girl was rescued by her two brothers, who mauled the soldiers.  In retaliation, the Company Commander, Capt. T. Connell… rounded up 143 male residents for forced labor to clean up the town… They were detained overnight with food under two …tents …(made for) 16 persons; 78 of the detainees remained the next morning, after 65 were released due to age and physical infirmity.  Finally, Connell ordered the confiscation from their houses of all sharp bolos (like a machete knife), and the confiscation and destruction of stored rice.  Feeling aggrieved, the townspeople plotted to attack the U.S. Army garrison… September 28… a bell in the church tower was rung… guards outside the convent and municipal hall were killed… the officers in the church were killed… The mess tent and the two barracks were attacked.  Most of the Americans were hacked to death before they could grab their firearms.  The few who escaped… fought with kitchen utensils, steak knives and chairs.  …the SS Pittsburg… steamed to Balangiga.  The town was deserted.  The dead of Company C lay where they fell… of the original 74 men, 48 died…including Capt. Connell… 22 survivors severely wounded…

The guerillas also took 100 rifles with 25,000 rounds of ammunition; 28 Filipinos died…

After the Balangiga Incident, which was dramatically described by many newspapers (Media) as the worst disaster to the U.S. Army since Custer’s last stand at Little Big Horn, the U.S. Army wanted hateful revenge.   Major Gen. Chaffee, then military governor of the Philippines, immediately responded to the press, the situation calls for shot, shells and bayonets as the natives are not to be trusted.’   Chaffee ordered his officers ‘to give the Filipinos ‘bayonet rule’ for years to come.’  His orders were at least indirectly supported by President Theodore Roosevelt who ordered Chaffee to ‘in no unmistakable terms… to (take the) most stern measures to pacify Samar.’  In America, Chaffee would be promoted to Chief of Staff U.S. Army (1904-1906); in Balangiga many natives and buildings would be razed to the ground.

7f32ec3f41ba13b319edecc0377f80d7--american-war-american-soldiers.jpg Cities across America reported the Balangiga Incident almost exclusively without speaking of the molestation attempt and Capt. Connell’s punishment of the townspeople.  They told of the bolo hacking bloody uprising.   One paper told of “Brave Capt. Connell Shot by Filipinos;” the Salt Lake Herald told of “Terrible Defeat at Hands of Filipinos;” and soldiers returned home spreading stories of the Massacre.

It is almost unbelievable that the shameful actions of 2 drunk soldiers led to the unfair and unwise decisions by the young Capt. Connell; which in turn led to the Captain’s own death and the mutilations of many American soldiers (hacked to death, because the natives lacked civilized guns at the time); and then which led to great foolish mistakes by generals and leaders (including the newly in office U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt – September 14, 1901 after  the assassination of President William McKinley); which led to ten thousands of dead Filipino civilians.


September 29, 1901 St. Anthony Church was burned down by soldiers.  Chaffee, then ordered Brig. Gen. Jacob Smith to deal with the locals on Samar.  In turn, about a month later, according to the book, Hang the Dogs, the True and tragic History of the Balangiga Massacre (Couttie 2004), Gen. Smith told (Circular No. 6) Major Waller to take control of an area of about 600 sq. miles,  and ordered ‘I want no prisoners… I wish you to kill and burn; and the more you burn and kill, the better it will please me.  I want all persons killed who are capable of bearing arms against the United States.’  Major Waller responded, asking to what ‘limit of age… sir?’  To which Gen. Smith said, ‘Ten years!’

Later both Waller and Smith would be court-martialed and evidence showed that Waller told his soldiers ‘we are not making war on women and children.’  Nevertheless, Waller’s and America’s soldiers followed the orders, while officially at War, and killed by Couttie’s account about ‘three thousand people (3000).’  Filipino historians say it was closer to 50,000; which is not verified, yet, does it matter – significant damage was done to lives and diplomacy.

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October 1901, soldiers burned a village in Samar; but Waller was specifically court-martialed for the execution of 11 Filipino porters; who were given a ‘Christian burial’ by many local townspeople.  (Below May 5, 1902 New York Journal)


In 1902, civil government was established by the United States to end and replace military rule.  Gov. Taft, with millions in U.S. Funds, led reconstruction and infrastructure improvements, established a ‘pensionado’ program for students; and though America was modernizing the Philippines – after the Balangiga events and centuries of colonization and wars, Filipinos wanted independence.

In 1907, a Philippine Assembly was inaugurated and Congressional elections took place.  Soon after hopes of independence, War World I came and again Filipinos were in a War.   August 1916 the Philippine Autonomy Act (Jones Act) replaced the Philippine Organic Act of 1902 and declared the the U.S. was moving toward an independent Philippines.  In 1917, during WWI, thousands of Filipinos in Hawaii and other parts of the United States volunteered and were drafted into the War.  Additionally, the Philippine Assembly created the Philippine National Guard.  The U.S. required 15,000 volunteers from the colony – about 25,000 volunteered to serve.

It would take 30 years after the Jones Act (1916) and another invasion before the Philippines would gain independence.   In 1934, the Philippine Independence Act (Tydings-McDuffie Act) passed through the U. S. Congress and set up a 10-year period for the transition of full independence.  In 1935, the Philippine Constitution was approved; Filipino Senator Manuel Quezon (1935-1944) was elected President, and the U.S. Governor-General office was abolished.  However, within the 10-year transition World War II began and the Filipinos were again at war.

November 1941, Quezon was re-elected president.  December 8, 1941, about 10 hours after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii (Dec. 7, 1941); Japan invaded the Philippines.  Quickly U.S. and Filipinos troops surrendered Manila to Japan.  They fell back to Bataan and held it until April 9, 1942 when troops surrender themselves and the Bataan Peninsula of Luzon.


According to (‘Bataan Death March,’ 2017), approximately 76,000 Filipino and American troops had surrendered and were forced to march 65 miles without food and water to the Japanese prison camps.   About 66,000 were Filipinos.  Britannica states, “During the main march – which lasted 5 to 10 days, depending on where a prisoner joined it – the captives were beaten, shot, bayoneted, and in many cases, beheaded; a large number of those who made it to the camp later died of starvation and disease.  Only 54,000 prisoners reached the camp; though the exact numbers are unknown… an additional 26,000 Filipinos and 1,500 Americans died at Camp O’Donnell (in Capaz).”


About that time, Japan declared martial law in the Philippines and proclaimed that the U.S. occupation of the islands had ended.  By 1943, there were serious food shortages, primarily of rice.  According to Chronicle of the World (JL Publishing; 1989), October 21, 1944: “’I shall return,’ vowed General Douglas MacArthur when Japan ejected him from the Philippines in 1941.  He has kept his pledge and strode up a beach at Leyte… (with) an invasion force of 250,000 fighting to retake the islands…”  After the U.S. dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima (August 6) and Nagasaki (August 9), the Japanese finally surrendered to the Allies August 14, 1945.

During WWII about: 13.5 million Chinese were killed (10 million civilians), 5.3 million Polish civilians, 21 million Russians (7.7 million USSR civilians), nearly 300 thousand U.S. soldiers, 450 thousand British soldiers, 600 thousand of the French (360,000 civilians), 7 million Germans (3.8 million civilians), 5.3 million Japanese (3.6 million civilians) and more than 5 million from other nations.  Some historians estimate all about 60 million people were killed or about 3% of the world’s populations at the time.

According to World War II Database ( the Commonwealth of the Philippines lost 57,000 soldiers and 900,000 civilians in WW2.  Their population in 1939 was 16 million.  The war ended August 1945; and July 4, 1946 the U.S. flag was lower and the Flag of the Philippines raised as the Philippines became an independent Republic.   However, the Philippines celebrated its 119th Independence Day this June 12, 2017 as it recognizes Aguinaldo as its first president and 1898 as its true year of freedom and independence.

Republic, Presidents, Dictator and Corruption: 1946-2017

July 4, 1946, the United States and the Republic of the Philippines signed a treaty which granted America the continued use of military bases, as well as gave trade rights to U.S. corporations.  Manuel Roxas served as president until 1948, and then five others served until 1972.  Most of this period saw post-war construction in large part due to tens of millions of dollars from US foreign aid each year.  In 2015 and 2016 alone the US gave the Philippines over $180 million in development assistance and another $170 million in military aid.  With tens of millions flowing in the country the Quirno administration (president 1948-1953) was involved in massive corruption.  In 1951, the Philippines signed a Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States which pledged mutual military defense and continued use of bases.

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In 1965, ‘His Excellency’ Ferdinand E. Marcos defeated former president Macapagal to become the 10th President of the Philippines.  Since the end of World War II, Marcos had claimed he was a highly decelerated war hero.  He became a Representative in 1949 and a Senator in 1959.  At that time (before the instant internet) Marcos claimed he received ‘war medals.’ The US Armed Forces has denied given him medals.

In 2016, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) issued a report that Marcos ‘was a Filipino soldier, period;’ and 4 points in its ‘Executive Summary,’ including that “1. Mr. Marcos lied about receiving U.S. medals:  Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and Order of the Purple Heart, which he claimed as early as about 1945.  2.  His guerrilla unit… was never officially recognized and neither was his leadership of it.  3. U.S. …did not recognize Mr. Marcos’s rank… from Major… 4. Some of Mr. Marcos’s actions as a soldier were officially called into question by …the U.S. military… his commissioning of officers without authority, his abandonment… his collection of money for the airfield… illegal, and his listing of his name on the roster of different units… malicious criminal act…’”

In 1968, the Muslim group MNLF began leading armed rebellion against the nation; and in 1969 PKP, a Maoist group, also was troubling the government.  September 1972, Marcos placed the Philippines under martial law and ceased control as President.  He placed restrictions on the media, suspended Parliament, arrested opposition candidates and ruled as a DICTATOR under the title of President until February 1986.  In 1966, he made improvements to public works and for his people; but soon after he began systematically embezzling from the government.

During most of the 1970s the US backed his regime; but, by the 1984 the US discontinued to support Marcos.   In 1981, the Catholic Church campaigned for Marcos to lift marital law (which it did for 3 days for the Pope’s visit), but remain in power.  In 1983, opposition leader Aquino was assassinated.  In 1985, 56 assemblymen failed an impeachment attempt.  From 1964 to 1985 the national debt of the Philippines rose from about $500 million to over $26 billion.


The book, Dark Legacy: Human rights under the Marcos Regime (McCoy, 1999) estimated that from 1975-1985 Marcos’ Regime committed 3,257 extrajudicial killings, tortured 35,000 and incarcerated 70,000 Filipinos.  In 1986, when Marcos sought to steal the election for president from Corazon Aquino (Ninoy’s widow), millions of Filipinos took to the streets in protest.  At that time the military withdrew their support for Marcos and he fled to Hawaii.  February 25, 1986, Maria Corazon Aquino became the first woman and 11th president of the Philippines.

February 28, 1986 President Aquino set up and ordered the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) “to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated during the Marcos regime; to investigate cases of graft and corruption… to adopt …safeguards to prevent corruption.”  About 300 pieces of jewelry worth millions of dollars were seized by US Customs in Hawaii.   September 28, 1989 Ferdinand Marcos died in Honolulu, Hawaii without a day in jail.


(Above: Marcos memorial; below: Imelda Marcos’ Shoe Collection: over 1,220 pairs seized in 1986.  After over 20 years in storage most of her shoes and clothes were damaged by storms and became worthless.)


In 1995, 10,000 Filipinos won a US class-action suit against the Marcos estate; but the government of the Philippines was protected by sovereign immunity.  By 2016, during 30 years and costing $60 million for the Commission, the PCGG had recovered about 170 billion Philippine Pesos ($3.5 billion or P170 billion) in cash.  The Swiss government reluctantly and slowly returned about $700 million.  Some estimates say that Marcos embezzled two to three times that amount.  The PCGG was still in the process of selling off about another $600 million in recovered assets early 2017.

May 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released findings from the Panama Papers, which included the fact that Imee Marcos Manotoc and sister Irene Marcos Araneta; daughters of Marcos, along with his grandsons and son-in-laws, all had secret and private illegal offshore accounts.    September 3, 2017 CNN Philippines reported that Philippines President Duterte said that the Marcos family is ‘ready to return’ their wealth if an agreed settlement is reached.   None of these people have served time in jail.

In 1989, a coup attempt was made to take over the government; which the US helped suppress.  In 1990, certain military officials were convicted for their part in Benigno Aquino’s 1983 murder.  In 1991, the Philippine Senate voted to terminate the US military bases in the Philippines.  In 1992 Fidel Ramos – a US West Point graduate – won the presidency.  He was the first Protestant Christian (non-Catholic) to become president.

Ramos worked for the progression of the country, while keeping relations with the United States.  He dealt with widespread power shortages and blackouts and created an Energy Department.  Per capita income rose from about Php 11,200 to Php 12,100 during his term.  He also was instrumental in getting a peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in 1996.   In 1997, the country was impacted during the Asian financial crisis.

In 1998, former actor/model, Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada became the 13th president.  In 2000, Estrada declared ‘all-out war’ on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (an outshoot of the MNLF) and captured it headquarters.  However, in 2001 Estrada stepped down after two impeachment hearings and after findings of corruption and violations against the Constitution.   His then Vice-President Gloria Arroyo became president (2001-2010).  Estrada was later found to have embezzled more than $80 million and sentenced to jail – but pardoned.

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Arroyo worked towards peace with the MILF in 2001.  However, in 2002 the MILF group claimed responsibility for several bombings that killed many civilians.  Again ceasefires were agreed to (2003) and again Islamic terrorist from the MILF continued their attacks against Christians and the Philippine government – killing hundreds.   In 2003, 300 soldiers attempted a coup in Manila.  After handling the crisis, Arroyo won re-election in 2004.  However, in 2011, a year after she left office, Arroyo was arrested for electoral fraud and misuse of almost $9 million in lottery funds (acquitted in 2016).

June 2010, Benigno Aquino III, son of the 11th President, became the 15th president.  June 30, 2016, he was succeeded by the current president, Rodrigo Duterte.  He is the first president from Mindanao; and the oldest being elected at 71.  He is known for his hard stance against illegal drug sellers; it matter which is opposed by many in the UN.  August 2017, Philippine police killed 32 suspects in a series of raids in Manila.


According to (Aug. 16, 2017), “Supt Romeo Caramat said 67 police operations in various parts of Bulacan …left 32 ‘drug personalities’ dead and more than 100 others in custody.”  Duterte won election in part for this; while Mayor and candidate for president November 2015, he said that ‘if I become president, I advise you people to put up several funeral parlor businesses because I am against illegal drugs… I might kill someone because of it…”


According to (4/20/17) ‘Philippine President Rodrigo tells jobless Filipinos to kill drug addicts.’  June 2016 Rodrigo told police in a public speech, “if you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”


Since becoming president, more than 3,800 people ( Sept. 21, 2017) have been killed for drug-related crimes.  Newsweek put the number at “around 9,000 people killed by police and vigilantes… since June 30 last year (4/20/17).  The President has said ‘if I have children who are into drugs, kill them so people will not have anything to say…’  September 7, 2017, his son Paolo, Vice Mayor of Davao City, appeared before a Senate hearing in Manila for an inquiry into his part if any in smuggling in shipments of crystal methamphetamine from China.



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