The Philippines, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of the Philippines, is a sovereign country located in maritime Southeast Asia. Its de facto and de jure capital is in Manila, however, the government had chosen Clark as its administrative capital.
The country has first been discovered by the West in 1521, when Magellan landed in Cebu and died in the island. In 1542, Ruy Lopez de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of the King of Spain, Philip II. In 1565, the Spanish settlement was established in the country and resulted in the spread of Christianity. It has later been colonized by Spain until 1898, a commonwealth of the United States and ultimately acquiring independence by 1953. Since then, the Republic was established.
The country is considered as a newly industrializing economy, with a sprawling population and a high GDP growth rate. In the both this and the actual timeline, Marcos in this timeline never declared Martial Law, yet was the first president to complete two terms. Benigno Aquino Jr., in this timeline, won the 1973 election and created a provisional government as president to establish the Socialist Republic of the Philippines, a non-Maoist nor non-Marxist state with a functional democracy and elements of capitalism.
As a result, Ferdinand Marcos never became an infamous dictator, yet his reforms had brought growth and progress to the Philippines. The communist insurgency had subsided and instead, there was no need to declare martial law. Marcos was a centrist and was more open to peace talks. The Communists had established a party which is among the two main parties in government, alongside the Partido Demokratiko, a democratic socialist party.
The Philippines held a constitutional convention and voted in favor cha-cha or charter change held May 8, 1995 (coinciding with the 1995 midterm elections), which paved way for 3 major parties ruling the country and with the president democratically elected, while the premier as the leader of the ruling party and head of government.
Today, the country has among the largest economies and populations in the world, with it being classified as an advanced economy, and a global superpower. It is the second-most populated country in Southeast Asia, with it only behind Indonesia; with roughly 102 million inhabitants, the country is the 12th most populated country in the world.
In this timeline, history, since the start of the American era, has been on the more favorable side for the Philippines. While the Spanish stayed 2 years longer (until 1900) without the violent Katipunan revolt headed by Emilio Aguinaldo. The Philippines was handed down by Spain to America through peaceful means, without engaging into war against each other. Filipinization took place during the era, while preserving the presence and use of the Spanish language. This was a time of socioeconomic prosperity, yet the rise of Communist forces, demanding equal treatment of farmers and landowners in the country. The Communists, locally known as Hukbalahap, fought against the Japanese imperialists during the Second World War, and ended up triumphant. Instead of being persecuted and imprisoned, the Communists were able to form their party, known as the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP, CPP), allied with the Soviet Union at the time. However, they engaged in friendly relations with the Americans and the Philippine government resulting in a peace agreement and ceasefire. On July 4, 1953, the United States granted independence to the Philippines, yet retained their military bases and promised to cooperate with the independent government.
Republic of the Philippines (1953-1995)
Elpidio Quirino, the first president of the First Republic, granted asylum to all political and war prisoners, as part of ongoing peace efforts. His successors, Ramon Magsaysay and Carlos Garcia, promoted Philippine culture and product exports which made the Philippine economy boom. The administrations of Diosdado Macapagal and Ferdinand Marcos were known as railway systems and a large road network, known collectively as the Maharlika Transportation Network, were built in different urban areas of the country.
Since Martial Law was never declared by Ferdinand Marcos, he never stayed in power for long, and was eventually succeeded by PKP Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who established significant economic reforms which were pro-workers and became popular among the people. Despite his communist leanings, Aquino sent large troops to aid US and South Vietnam, which ended up in a South Vietnamese victory. A year later, the Republic of Vietnam established its embassy in the country, promising friendly diplomatic and trade relations with the Philippines. The Southeast Asian region prospered economically and culturally. However, a global economic recession took place from 1978, as a result of stock markets crashing across Europe and Asia, and ended in 1981. Unfazed by the economic plunge, the Philippines' growth continued yet was still slowed, in comparison to the rapid growth in the previous years.
Corazon Aquino, his wife, created the transitional government for democratic socialism to work efficiently. Under her term, the GDP surged with a growth of ~10% per annum, among the highest and fastest growing globally. Wind and solar power were created to address concerns over the depletion of conventional electricity sources. She was succeeded by Fidel Ramos in 1992. Ramos wanted more businessmen to invest in the Philippines, so he made the country open to investors and less planned. In 1993, he expressed plans to convert the unitary form of government to a federal system, to better cater the needs of those in rural and less affluent areas. As planned, a constitutional convention was held in 1995, alongside the Midterm elections.
Federal Democratic Republic (1995-present)
The constitutional convention for change in form of government yielded an overwhelming vote in favor of the amendment, and was implemented the following year. The country's official name was changed from the Republic of the Philippines to the Federal Democratic Republic of the Philippines, and a change in the country's official seal. Ramos's administration spread out power from NCR to the rest of the country. In 1997, as Southeast Asia underwent a financial crisis, the Philippines was totally unaffected, with growth eventually reaching 15% before the end of Ramos' term and the GDP surpassing the $1 trillion mark, the first country to do so in the region. Joseph Ejercito Estrada succeeded Ramos, and aimed to fulfill his anti-poverty programs to solve the lack of settlements and increasing street dwellers. Estrada built high-rise apartments to serve their needs and make use of the small land area of the country, alike that of Singapore. This significantly changed the poverty and housing problems in the Philippines, since it resulted in the demolition of the slum area to make use of it for different government projects and businesses.
His successor, Fernando Poe, Jr., continued his advocacy and sustained the country's economic progress. During Poe's term, the GDP had grew at a peak of 24%, marking the highest growth in Philippine or Southeast Asian history. The country became part of the G7 in 2008, being the only country in the region to become a member of the group. Under Poe, the poverty rate dropped to an all-time low of 10% in international standards. Transparency and corruption were problems of his successor, Benigno Aquino III, to resolve, with the administration passing several anti-corruption laws in the Batasang Pambansa. The country then sustained economic growth, albeit being lower at 10-15% per annum. In 2013, the IMF and the World Bank classified the Philippines as an advanced economy, being the second country in the region following Singapore. The GDP reached $3 trillion the following year, with it retaining the same growth rates, making only the Philippines and India reaching such while maintaining a very positive growth rate.
Government and politicsSee also: Political Parties in the Philippines (Left Revolution)
The Philippines is a federal semi-presidential constitutional democratic republic. Its president, Rodrigo Duterte, is the the incumbent president since June 30, 2016, and functions as the head of state. He is democratically elected along, but separate, with the vice president, Leni Robredo. Its premier, Aquilino Pimentel III, is the president and leader of Partido Demokratiko, the ruling and largest party in the country. During the Ramos administration, the Congress underwent a constitutional convention which eventually resulted in a change in form of government, from unitary to federal.
The country is a free-market capitalist market, with elements of democratic socialism, which is balanced between the businessmen and the Manggagawa or 'working class.' The distribution of wealth and taxes is seen in favor of the working and middle classes, as those who earn 140% or less of the minimum wage are tax-exempt. Poor villages and families below the poverty line receive government subsidies.