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Why the Philippines?

About the Philippines

The Philippines is an archipelago, which lies just north of the equator and 1,100 km from the coast of the southeastern Asia mainland. The chain of 7,107 islands stretches 1,850 km northward from Borneo to Taiwan, 1,000 km east-west at its widest point, and has a total land area of 300,000 sq. km.

There are two major islands: Luzon in the north, with an area of 105,000 square kilometers and containing the capital city of Manila (population 12 million), and Mindanao in the south with an area of 96,000 square kilometers. Together, they form almost 70% of the total land surface. A group of nine islands comprise most of the remaining area. The total population of the islands is approximately 70 million and the official language is Filipino, with English spoken widely as the language of the government and the business community.

The Republic of the Philippines is a constitutional democracy with a system of government similar to that of the United States. In 1986, the then President, Ferdinand E. Marcos, was overthrown and one year later a new constitution was ratified by the electorate.

The constitution provides for a presidential style of government with three separate and equal branches functioning independently under a system of checks and balances. A bicameral legislature is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, whose members are elected by direct popular vote for terms of three and six years respectively; the executive branch, headed by the President who is elected for a single six-year term by direct popular vote; and the Judiciary, which is headed by the Supreme Court. The members of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President.

Recently, the government, in an effort to revitalize the nation's economy, opened up the mining industry and market to foreign investments. The Philippine Mining Act of 1995 was also designed to decrease the risks of initial investment, increase mining exports and encourage joint venture agreements for exploration and production.