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Thanksgiving 2018 - Facts, History, Pictures, Videos & Wallpapers and Much More Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving 2018 Every year Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. This day was historically a religious perception to express gratefulness to the God. The event traditionally celebrates the arrival of the first pilgrims to America. Thanksgiving 2017 Day is an opportunity to feel appreciation for the great things in life. This is a day of merriment, family get-togethers and sumptuous feasts. In the USA this day is considered as one of the real family festivity for the most part celebrated at home with family and companions. The conventional dishes like Roasted turkeys, Cranberry sauce, Corns. Potatoes and Pumpkin pie are incorporated into the Thanksgiving dinner. People celebrate this day with an incredible eagerness with their family and companions and now and then give gifts like flowers, jewellery, baked cookies, chocolates and so forth to their precious. Thanksgiving Becomes An Official Holiday Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving festivity in 1623 to stamp the finish of a long dry season that had undermined the year's gather and incited Governor Bradford to require a religious quick. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on a yearly or infrequent premise ended up plainly basic practice in other New England settlements too. Amid the American Revolution, the Continental Congress assigned at least one days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the principal Thanksgiving declaration by the national administration of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to offer their thanks for the cheerful conclusion to the nation's war of autonomy and the effective approval of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison additionally assigned days of thanks amid their administrations. In 1817, New York turned into the first of a few states to authoritatively receive a yearly Thanksgiving occasion; each commended it on an alternate day, in any case, and the American South remained to a great extent new to the convention. In 1827, the prominent magazine proofreader and productive essayist Sarah Josepha Hale—writer, among endless different things, of the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb"— propelled a battle to build up Thanksgiving as a national occasion. For a long time, she distributed various articles and sent scores of letters to governors, legislators, presidents and different lawmakers. Abraham Lincoln at last noticed her demand in 1863, at the tallness of the Civil War, in a decree begging all Americans to request that God "praise to his delicate care each one of the individuals who have progressed toward becoming dowagers, vagrants, grievers or sufferers in the heartbreaking common strife" and to "mend the injuries of the country." He planned Thanksgiving for the last Thursday in November, and it was commended on that day consistently until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the occasion up seven days trying to goad retail deals amid the Great Depression. Roosevelt's arrangement, referred to contemptuously as Franksgiving, was met with enthusiastic resistance, and in 1941 the president reluctantly marked a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
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Josie Holford: Rattlebag and Rhubarb | We awaited demobilisation All that winter of 1918 While we toiled in the grime of Taranto Loading ammo and cleaning latrines When they treated the whites to a pay rise It was like someone lobbed a grenade All our years of resentment exploded Saying, to hell with their rules and parades From No Parades by Chris Hoban. Listen here: Chris Hoban's song pretty much sums up the experience of the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR) in WW1. (And do give it a listen - it's haunting in its story-telling and evocation of the music of the period.) It's a story of how racism bigotry and mistreatment betrayed the loyalty, patriotism and courage of 15,000 men all of whom volunteered to fight for the Empire. It's also a story of mutiny, colonialism and the kickstart of the movement for self-determination and independence. What first spiked my interest in the BWIR was reading through the names in the record book of the Taranto Town Cemetery Extension. The Town Cemetery was used for British and Empire burials from June 1915 to April 1919, but by January 1918, it was necessary to open a military extension. After the Armistice the 102 Commonwealth burials in the town cemetery were removed to this extension. There are now 449 WW1 Commonwealth burials in the extension. There among the names of the dead are 147 from the British West Indies Regiment. Why were they there and what had happened to them? I started to get interested in the history of the regiment and that of course led to the Taranto mutiny of the winter of 1918-1919. Here's the story. Background to the Mutiny Taranto is an industrial town on the Mediterranean. Italy entered the war on the Allied side in May 1915 and the Royal Navy began using Taranto as a Mediterranean base soon thereafter. Taranto became a key transit point on the supply lines to and from Egypt. Mesopotamia, Palestine and Salonika. Lines of communication were established between the eastern theaters of war that ran then through Taranto, Turin, Lyons and Le Mans to Cherbourg It's where ships came in to re-coal and where troops passed through on their way from the near east to the Western Front or back to Britain. A huge tented encampment was set up to accommodate them and No 79 General and No 6 Labour Hospitals followed with more permanent brick and concrete structures added over time. It was a base and rest camp and labour units, including the 8th, 10th and 11th Battalions, British West Indies Regiment, were brought in to service the camp as well as load and unload the ships and trains. In 1915 the British War Office - which had initially opposed recruitment of West Indian troops - created the British West Indies Regiment (BWIR). It served in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In spite of promises made at the time of recruitment, BWIR did not give black soldiers from the West Indies the opportunity to fight as equals alongside white soldiers. Instead, the War Office largely limited this trained infantry regiment to labour duties. Over 15,600 West Indian men volunteered for the BWIR, two-thirds of whom were from Jamaica. Others came from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, the Bahamas, British Honduras, Grenada, British Guiana (now Guyana), the Leeward Islands, St Lucia and St Vincent. 185 were killed and 1,071 died of illness as a result of the war. The first battalions of the BWIR were stationed on the Suez Canal and were first used as labour battalions. They saw front line service in Palestine and Jordan serving with distinction as part of General Allenby's force that drove out the Turks and contributed to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. They earned medals and commendations for bravery and were mentioned in despatches. Later BWIR battalions were sent to the Western Front and then to Italy where they served in auxiliary roles that included digging trenches, construction of roads and gun emplacements, acting as stretcher bearers, loading ships and trains, and working in ammunition dumps. This was dangerous work often carried out in France and Flanders within range of German artillery and sniper fire. After the Armistice in November 1918, eight battalions of the BWIR – 8000 or so men - were stationed at Taranto in preparation for demobilization. They were joined by the battalions returning from Egypt and Mesopotamia many of whom had served in combat. Long standing grievances and growing resentment over unfair treatment, pay and promotion issues had been brewing for some time and in early December they erupted. This was a time of uprisings, riots and disturbances across the British Army. Men who had signed on for duration wanted to go home and get on with their lives. Mutiny and revolution were in the air. The BWIR had some very specific long-standing grievances and a growing resentment over unfair treatment, pay and promotion issues and in December 1918 they reached boiling point. The underlying issue was of course the betrayal of the promise made to them at recruitment: that they would be treated on an equal footing with the other regiments of the British army. Instead they had been primarily used for manual labor and treated as 'native" labor battalions and not as front line troops. Although designated as an infantry regiment and entitled to the same terms of service as other British regiments, commanders and officials often subjected the BWIR to the menial conditions dictated for 'native' corps. Military commanders and officials regarded the BWIR as inferior and treated them accordingly. On the Western Front they were excluded from facilities enjoyed by other British soldiers. The medical care and recreational facilities offered to West Indian troops was often inferior as a result. Estaminets – simple civilian-run cafes that offered the ubiquitous egg-and-chips respite from army food - were off-limits for Chinese and African Labour battalions and that restriction was extended to the BWIR, even though they were officially a unit of the British army. When they were wounded or became sick they were treated in 'native' hospitals and received poor treatment. Commissioned officer rank was restricted to those of 'pure" European descent and pay increases, granted to the British army in 1917, were withheld until protests from West Indian soldiers. Equally problematic was the official reluctance to deploy West Indians as combat troops. It meant that they had fewer opportunities to show the battlefield courage so prized by the military; fewer opportunities for medals and decorations. Their contribution - carrying ammunition, loading trains, building roads, railways and gun emplacements, cleaning latrines, cooking, carrying the wounded, digging trenches and graves, clearing the deadly debris of battle - had none of the supposed warrior glamour and glory of the battlefield. Ironically, it was the labour battalions that built the graveyards and cemeteries that are the symbols of remembrance. The Black Soldier's Lament – written by Canadian veteran George A. Borden in the 1980s - reflects the bitter disappointment of the injustice, the sense of shame and loss of manhood. At Taranto, soldiers reported being ostracized: "since we came here, we couldn't understand why these British soldiers they didn't seem to want any attachment with us. We had always seemed to get on good together in Egypt," a soldier from British Guiana recalled. They were given labour duties, loading and unloading ships and trains, as well as being ordered to clean latrines for white units. Meanwhile, sick and wounded BWIR men continued to succumb to illness and disease. In August 1918,12 men from Barbados had signed a respectful petition (you can read it here) outlining their grievances about pay pointing out that soldiers from white regiments had received a pay increase while they – together with "native" regiments - had not. They specifically identified this as a betrayal of the promises made to them at the time of recruitment. In addition, black soldiers had not been permitted to rise through the ranks, despite good recommendations. The Hon. J C Lynch, Chair of the Recruiting Committee, sent a letter in support of the petition indicating the justice of the claims. He also described the respectable (middle class) and often professional or land-owning backgrounds from which these men came. The 12 signatories were Joseph Chamberlain Hope DCM, Vernon G Thomas, Edward E. Packer, Vincent Lionel Talma, Leslie A. Greaves, John Berkeley Johnson, L'Estrand C. Deane, Alexander L. Marshall, Lashington L. Skinner, T Thompson, Herman P.J. Ince, and G.F. Bowen. Nothing came of this petition. After Armistice Day, on November 11 1918, the eight BWIR battalions in Europe were concentrated at Taranto in Italy to prepare for demobilization. They were subsequently joined by the battalions from Egypt and Mesopotamia. The combat veterans arriving in Taranto from the east were subjected to the same discrimination and second class status and treatment as the labour battalions. Brigadier-General Cyril Darcy Vivien Cary-Barnard was base commandant known for his strict segregationist regulations. According to some accounts, the men had been refused leave to enter town and he forbade black soldiers from using facilities alongside white soldiers. They had separate canteens they were not allowed to go to the cinema when white troops were there. When sick they were sent to the 'native' hospital where they received inferior treatment. They were prevented from being able to rise through the ranks. They were employed on fatigues and laboring duties in spite of assurances that this would not happen. All of these men had volunteered to serve and all of this was counter to the promises of equal treatment and opportunity they had been given on recruitment. Discontent was rife at Taranto just as it was across a broad spectrum of the British Army in the weeks after the Armistice. Canadian troops stationed in Britain, for example, staged three major riots. The BWIR had quite specific and particular grievances however, and they arose from the unequal and demeaning treatment they received. Soldiers returning from the Middle East had enlisted first and were ready to be mobilized. They resented being used as porters for white soldiers in transit and they resented being subject to the rigid segregation policies that barred them from equal access to canteens and cinemas. The designation "native" was imposed denying the BWIR access to proper medical facilities Major Thursfield of the 5th battalion protested to the camp commandant Brigadier-General Cyril Darcy Vivien Cary-Barnard about the betrayal of the promises made to the men. Cary-Barnard was a decorated veteran of the Boer War where he served with Lumsden's Horse. He served with distinction on the Western Front. He was decorated for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, wounded, mentioned in despatches and promoted. And from October 1917, to 31 January 1919 he was Base Commandant, Taranto. At camp commander, Cary-Barnard had a reputation for harsh discipline and a dismissive attitude toward the legitimate grievances of the men of the BWIR. Field punishment was meted out for even trivial offenses removing the discretion from junior officers whose attitudes he regarded as too lenient. Cary-Barnard's response to Thursfield's protest was abrupt, brutal, racist and dismissive. The men were only niggers… no such treatment should ever have been promised them …they were better fed and treated than any nigger had a right to expect… he would order them to do whatever work he pleased, and if they objected he would force them to do it. On 6 December 1918, sergeants from the BWIR forwarded a petition with 180 names to the Secretary of State repeating the demands of the earlier petition, including for the pay increase granted by Army Order No.1 1918 to all Imperial troops. They also expressed their resentment at being barred from the possibility of rising through the ranks and outlined some of the history of West Indian service in the British forces where this color bar was not observed. They also requested an increase in the separation pay – money that was sent home to help their families. Inflation and war profiteering had led to huge increases in the prices of basic commodities and their families were suffering hardship in their absence. Captain Reginald Elgar Willis of the 9th battalion had travelled with the fifth contingent from Kingston on March 30th 1917. Promoted to Lt.Col., Willis had a reputation as a harsh disciplinarian. On December 6th 1918, ordered his men to clean the latrines used by Italian laborers. They refused and some men surrounded his tent and slashed at it with knives and bayonets before dispersing. There was some shooting and wild talk. Some men made demands that demobilization process be speeded up so that they would be home by Christmas. The next day the 9th and 10th battalions refused to work and there were clashes. They were forcibly disarmed and ordered on a route march. On December 8th, Pte. Samuel Pinnock was killed by Acting Sgt, Robert Richards who was charged with negligently discharging his rifle and was sentenced to four months labor. This was the only fatality during the mutiny period. Unrest and insubordination continued for four days with men refusing refusing orders and refusing to work. Unnerved, the military authorities reacted harshly and swiftly. The camp commander requested support and a battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment and a machine gun company were order to Taranto traveling "in fighting order with ammunition in their pouches". The mutineers were arrested. The 9th battalion was disbanded and the men distributed among the other battalions. The whole regiment was disarmed. Sixty men were charged with mutiny and 47 were found guilty. Most received sentences of between 3-5 years. One man - Pte. Arthur Sanches - who was considered the ringleader - was sentenced to death. This sentence was commuted to 20 years penal servitude. (He did not serve full term as in 1934 he was a member of the delegation that presented a petition to the Governor of Jamaica – Sir Arthur Jelf - requesting improvements to the roads and water service supply on the lands granted to ex servicemen.) Many accounts state that one man was executed for his part in the mutiny. This does not seem to be correct. One man was shot at dawn on January 20th 1919. He was Pte. Albert Denny of the 8th battalion who was executed by firing squad for the murder of Pte. Edgar Hilkiah Best 13573 10th Battalion of Barbados in a robbery on the 5th of September. The British authorities did make concessions and mobilization plans were speeded up. The Colonial Office prevailed on the War Office and in February 1919 the BWIR got, in full, the increased separation allowances withheld from them in the Army Order No.1. Even after the courts-martial the spirit of resistance continued. Some of those who who had been convicted and repatriated to the West Indies staged further revolts; disturbances occurred on the SS Orca which docked at Kingston, Jamaica. There, BWIR men allied themselves with seamen repatriated from Britain to protest their treatment. There was also discontent at Plymouth where in February 1919 four men of the BWIR were found guilty and received 2 years detention. In the midst of an even harsher camp regime enforced after the revolt, on December 17th 50-60 sergeants of the BWIR met and formed the Caribbean League. They held four meetings in December and early January and discussed not only their grievances but also their plans for what to do when they returned home. Out of their discussions emerged a sense of a pan-Caribbean identity and political awakening. They called for greater cooperation between the islands and mainland Caribbean territories and they talked of seeking independence and self-determination. At the second meeting one man - Sgt. Baxter - said that the black man "should have freedom and govern himself in the West Indies" and that "force must be used and if necessary blood shed to obtain the object". Such words would have alarmed the colonial establishment and probably drowned out the more modest aim of the League, "the Promotion of all matters conducive to the General Welfare of the islands constituting the British West Indies and the British Territories adjacent thereto." They agreed to strike for higher wages on their return home. They talked of a Caribbean–wide governing body with a headquarters in Kingston, although the choice of Jamaica led to some inter-island rivalry and controversy about the location.This was a distinctly social democratic and reformist agenda but also problematic for those determined to maintain the status quo of economic and power arrangements. At first the Caribbean League was treated with cautious approval by the military authorities as they saw it as a way to help contain and manage the discontent of the troops. At one of the later meetings however, one of the participants - Sgt. Leon Poucher, a Trinidadian reported to his commanding officer that they talk had turned toward self-government and strike action. This concern was relayed to the colonial authorities in the West Indies who were spooked by the thought of thousands of radicalized and angry ex-servicemen returning to their homes determined to seek change. The Caribbean League did not survive demobilization which was completed by August 1919. Although it was short-lived it seems to have had a powerful and radicalizing impact on those who participated. It gave rise to a new and confident voice of resistance that was to make an impact on the politics and social conditions of the post-war Caribbean. Take a look at this poem written at the time:Before enlisting Monteith had been a school teacher in Jamaica. He had written a number of patriotic poems praising the war effort and the Empire that had been published in the Jamaican Times. These words reflect a personal transformation and a new political outlook that many of the men of the BWIR would take home with them. In some ways this new spirit was presaged by the thinking at enlistment. By joining the imperial war effort to fight for king and country many hoped to prove something. Look at this 1915 article in the Jamaican journal the Grenada Federalist: As coloured people we will be fighting for something more, something inestimable to ourselves. We will be fighting to prove to Great Britain that we are not so vastly inferior to the white. We will be fighting to prove that we are no longer merely subjects but citizens – citizens of a world empire whose watch word should be Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood. The was an opportunity to show proof of worth, of the right of equality and freedom. Deliberately keeping these men from the combat duties of the front line served to thwart those aspirations. It had instead another outcome - that of radicalizing a generation of activists. In the West Indies, a number of BWIR soldiers played important roles in the growth of the working class, union and independence movements. They organized unions, led protests, contributed to reform movements and they laid the groundwork for the move to self-determination and independence. The BWIR served honorably in the Egypt, the Middle East, on the Western Front and in Italy. When given the opportunity, they proved themselves as combat troops. Faced with discrimination and humiliation they fought back against injustice. The BWIR was kept away from the victory parades that marked the end of the war. It was disbanded in 1921. In spite of their efforts, a confidential 1919 Colonial Office memo on the Taranto mutiny makes it clear that the British Government realized that things had changed: Nothing we can do will alter the fact that the black man has begun to think and feel himself as good as the white. Sources: The National Archive (UK) Imperial War Museum No Labour, No Battle: Military Labour During the First World War, Ivor Lee and John Starling Holding aloft the banner of Ethiopia, Winston James Race, Empire and First World War Writing, Santanu Das (editor)
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Official site of Sigma Team company - Home Official site of Sigma Team company. Games development, games publishing, online distribution. Our games it is: Alien Shooter, Alien Shooter - Fight for Life, Alien Shooter - The Experiment, Alien Shooter 2 (Alien Shooter - Vengeance), Theseus - Return of The Hero, Crazy Lunch, Chak`s Temple, Arkanaut, Zombie Shooter., Alien Shooter Conscription is the continuation of cult Alien Shooter 2, which is a unique blend of two game genres- Action and RPG. The Great War has begun! The world population capable of functioning is mobilized to serve in army. Hordes of monsters are destroying the cities and capturing new territories. The situation on the battlefront reached the critical emergency point and there''s nobody to wait for help. Try to fight with the aliens as private soldier from regular army, who occurred to be in the very center of grand events. The outcome probably depends on you!, Be careful when downloading the game: you run the risk of escaping the real world for a long time to get completely absorbed in saving the Earth from the imminent threat! We are happy to present our innovative game in the genre of Tower Defense inspired by the legendary Alien Shooter series! Here you will not just build towers to protect your territory, but will also get in charge of a platoon of elite warriors. Each one of them has their own field of specialization, unique features, as well as development possibilities. It is also possible to equip each class of warriors with weapons of your choice. The attack is under way. The armed forces are mobilized. Violent battles are happening across the whole globe. You are the commander of an elite warrior platoon and find yourself in the midst of large-scale war events, and your actions will determine whether blood-hungry monsters will destroy our planet, or if humanity will come out victorious! The game was created in keeping with the best traditions of Sigma games, no concessions of any kind - everything is just like in real life! • Totally real-life presentation of events – there is a limited munitions stock for each weapon, and it has to be replenished during combat. • Play absolutely free, get daily supply crates that include ammunition, weapons, coins, and ammo. • Your enemies’ dead bodies don’t disappear - wait to see what happens when you finish each level! • Seven character classes with unique characteristics and development possibilities. • Hundreds of types of weapons – equip your troops according to your personal gaming style. • Any kind of weapon can be modified by expanding its basic features. You can disassemble it and get money, as well as auxiliary supplies. • Send your troops to get training, so they can develop a variety of combat skills. • By combining different kinds of forces, you can develop your own tactics needed to accomplish each mission. • In a critical situation, you can use bombs land mines, as well as supply Drones that will momentarily replenish munitions stocks for all the combatants. And, of course, in keeping with our traditions, there are unprecedented crowds of monsters, plenty of bloodshed and explosions, as well as many other things you would usually see when you play our games on your devices!, The second installment of the legendary Alien Shooter is now available on your Android for free! Try and you will be pulled into the heat of explosive action, along with millions of players all around the world! This gameplay has united almost all installments of the series. You are to unravel the mystery from the very beginning - the emergence of monsters inside the MAGMA corporation’s secret base and join in a world-wide battle for the survival of mankind. With the help of long-familiar characters - General Baker, engineer Nicholas, a genius professor and, of course, Kate Lia - our hero’s companion over the years. But most importantly, by popular demand from our players, the game now has a multiplayer. Upgrade your hero, upgrade your weapon and test your skill, competing with players worldwide! What you get: - Hours of gameplay in the campaign mode - Lots of maps for online battles - A possibility to enhance and equip your character according to your play style - Hundreds of weapons - from pistols to plasma guns - Combat drones, grenades, first-aid kits, implants and many other - Ability to play without internet connection (offline mode). As for the best part, it’s a Sigma Team game: - Monsters swarming the screen! - The enemy corpses do not disappear - see the work done after beating a level!
TxtMania | The Philippines, a group of over 7,000 islands with combined land area encompassing 300,000 square kilometres, grew into a nation under more than three centuries of Spanish conquest and 42 years of American rule. It is the first country outside the New World that closely witnessed the United States' rise to power following the 1898 Spanish-American War. Situated 800 kilometres southeast of mainland Asia, the archipelago, named after King Philip II of Spain, was discovered in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, the same explorer who had discovered the Pacific Ocean in search of the so-called "Spice Islands" and is now widely considered the first navigator to have cruised around the planet. Ironically, the Filipinos, after having been subdued for centuries by foreign colonizers as a result of Magellan's voyage, would emerge as the best seafarers in the world, manning a third of all international vessels today. Some 7.8 million overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipino migrants would help rebuild cities in many countries and bring back over US$10 billion in annual remittances to their families in the Philippines. The country's geographical location and long exposure to foreign influences has placed the Philippines on a unique cultural base in Asia. It is now the only predominantly Catholic country in the region, with 70 million out of its total population of 85 million (as of 2005) confessing to be Catholic. There are also large numbers of Protestants and Born-Again Christians in the country while the Muslim population is concentrated in southern Mindanao. Early Trade The first inhabitants of the Philippines were the Negritos who traveled from mainland Asia over a land bridge that is now underwater. Migrants from other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia later followed and established a Malayan culture that flourished before the Spaniards came. Chinese and Arab merchants helped establish markets at the community level. A sultanate system, first established in the southern island of Sulu in the 14th century, is believed to have reached the islands of Luzon and Visayas, giving way to the rise of the Islamic faith. The Spaniards would later drive the Muslims to the south and establish Catholicism as the main religion in the north and central parts of the country. Local villages, known as barangay, traded agricultural and fishery products with each other. The Igorot tribe in Northern Luzon carved the marvellous Banaue Rice Terraces from the mountains, a proof of their advanced agriculture technology. Communities near the shore exchanged goods with Chinese and Arab merchants, who came aboard large ships. These communities traded slaves, gold, beeswax, betel nuts, pearls, and shells for porcelain, silk, iron, tin and semi-precious stones. The Philippine islands were a part of an extensive trade route used by Chinese merchants as early as the 10th century. By the time Magellan arrived in the islands, regular trade and cultural contact between Chinese traders and local chieftains were firmly instituted. Many Chinese merchants settled in the country and shared their crafts with the natives. Some historians claim that an Italian Franciscan priest, named Father Odorico, was actually the first European to have reached the Philippines in 1324 when his ship bound for China took refuge from a storm in Bolinao Island in northern part of Luzon. Aside from the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Cordillera Mountains, early settlers did not leave any giant monument, and this is what makes conservative historians doubt the existence of the rich kingdoms in the country hundreds of years ago. However, it cannot be denied that early Filipinos were learned individuals who expressed their beliefs and sentiments in rich languages. According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), there are actually 78 language groupings and over 500 dialects in the Philippines. Feudal Society Magellan, who claimed the archipelago for Spain in 1521, died in a battle with a group of local warriors led by Lapu Lapu at Mactan Island. It was Ruy Lopez de Villalobos, in the fourth Spanish expedition, who named the territory as Filipinas after the heir to the Spanish throne in 1543. In 1565, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi led an expedition to colonize the islands and by 1571, most parts of the archipelago came under Spanish rule. The Spaniards established the colonial government first in Cebu in 1565 and then in Manila in 1571. Historians claim that University of San Carlos in Cebu and University of Sto. Tomas in Manila are the oldest universities teaching European type of education in Asia. Jesuit and Dominican priests established the two institutions. Under Spanish rule, Catholicism became the dominant religion. Catholic friars not only lorded over the congregations; they enjoyed vast political and economic influence, which they eventually used to repress Filipino peasants' uprisings in the largely feudal Philippine society at that time. The Spaniards also quelled a number of rebellions instigated by the Chinese migrants. The friars distributed lands to Spanish families, who later comprised the landowning class. To perpetuate their economic interests, this class would also rise to become the political elite that would remain in power to this day. This gave way to the hacienda system in the Philippines, where cacique or landowners managed large tracts of lands tilled by peasant workers. Under the system, farmers were supposed to receive half of the harvest, but they usually ended up with much less because they had to pay for large interests on debt incurred from the cacique. This would be later corrected with a system of land reform, which, however, remains to be fully implemented to this day. Galleon Trade The Manila-Acapulco galleon trade became the major trading system between Asia and the Americas for nearly two centuries. Manila became a transhipment point of American silver to China. It was through this trade that the first Chinese silk and porcelain reached the shores of the New World. There were unverified claims that Filipinos helped build the city of Los Angeles in America. The Chinese and Filipinos would later become the two largest Asian migrant groups in the United States. Coconut became the country's top agricultural product, because of Spain's huge need for charcoaled coconut shells used for the caulking of the galleons. In 1642, the colonial government issued an edict requiring each Filipino to plant 200 coconut trees all over the country. By 1910, coconut exports would account for a fifth of total Philippine exports and to this day, coconut oil remains the country's top agricultural shipment. The Galleon Trade lasted for about 200 years until 1815. It is during this period that rice and tropical fruits from the Philippines such as mango and banana made their way to Latin America. Beginning 1750, Spanish priests encouraged the development of plantations to grow abaca (hemp), tobacco, coffee and sugar. Sugar barons from the Visayas would later emerge as among the richest clans in the country. From 1762 to 1764, the British briefly captured Manila during the Seven Years War. The treaty of Paris ended the British occupation and returned the colony to the hands of their original colonial masters. Plantation Crops In 1781, the Spanish governor established the tobacco monopoly in the Philippines, which would become a major source of revenue for the colonial government. From 1820 to 1870, the Philippines would be transformed to an agricultural export economy. Located on the oceanic trading routes connecting Asia to other parts of the world, the Philippines became a transhipment point of merchandise goods from all over Southeast Asia on their way to Europe. The Philippines exported plantation crops such as sugar, abaca, other fibres, tobacco, coffee, and coconut products to China, Spain, United States, United Kingdom and British East Indies. In return, it imported textiles and rice. Historians claim that Spain administered the Philippine affairs through Mexico. Spanish administrators in the country were actually reporting to the Viceroyalty of Mexico. After Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, Madrid directly governed its only Asian colony and even allowed rich Filipinos to study in Europe. The Spanish rule gave way to the rise of a small but highly powerful elite class, which to this day, controls most of the Philippine economy. The elite families, which own large plantations, were able to send their children to Europe for education. Foreign Investors Investors from Spain, Germany, Britain and other European countries laid the groundwork for utility companies in steam navigation, cable, telegraphy, railroads and electricity in the country. They also invested heavily in rice and sugar milling, textile and banking. The local elite developed the brewing industry, which would become one of the most profitable sectors in the economy. Although the educated Filipinos who studied in Europe shunned the use of force to topple the colonial government, their writings provoked nationalist sentiments among young men, who eventually formed a revolutionary movement against Spain. In 1896, the war between Spanish and Filipino soldiers escalated following the death of novelist Jose Rizal and rebel leader Andres Bonifacio. Emilio Aguinaldo, the new leader of the revolutionary forces, forged a pact with US Commodore George Dewey in Hong Kong to defeat the Spanish army. American Colony The Americans entered the scene because of its conflict with Spain over Cuba. With the outbreak of the Spanish-American war in the Pacific, the Philippines had to be taken by the US, lest other European countries such as Britain, France and Germany would fight for their next Southeast Asian colony. On June 12, 1898, Aguinaldo, first backed by American forces, declared the independence of Kawit, Cavite, the seat of the revolutionary Filipino government at that time, from Spanish rule. The Americans took possession of Manila on August 13, 1898. While armed clashes with Spanish forces continued in other parts of the country, the Americans and the Spaniards were negotiating for the purchase of the Philippines for US$20 million. In the Treaty of Paris in 1898, Spain ceded the Philippines, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Guam to the US. Filipinos felt insulted at the fact that their country has been passed from one colonial master to another for only US$20 million. When the US, which had not conquered any country before, made known its intention to succeed Spain as the next colonizer of the Philippines, Aguinaldo and his men waged a revolutionary resistance that ended with his capture in March 1901. The American soldiers easily subdued the remaining factions of rebellion with the help of their powerful weapons and their divide-and-conquer tactic. As an archipelago of 7,000 islands, the Philippines is home to different ethnic groups which do not speak the same language. The national government's attempt to declare Tagalog (spoken in Central and Southern Luzon including Metro Manila) as the national language would not easily win the support of other regions. The Philippine-American war took the lives of 4,234 American and 16,000 Filipino soldiers. The death toll was much higher on the civilian population, with as high as 200,000 casualties. Although local resistance persisted until 1903, the US ended its military rule on July 4, 1901. American Way Under American civilian rule, the Philippines was introduced to US-type of education, Protestant religion, and later to the concept of democracy. Placed under US control were most parts of the country, except in the southern portion of Mindanao where Muslim rebels held strong resistance. William Howard Taft, the 27th US president, was the first American Civil Governor in the Philippines. Taft was praised for establishing a civil service system, creating a national legislature, suppressing prices, upgrading health standards, and sponsoring land reform and road building in the country. In 1907, the First Philippine Assembly composed of educated and rich Filipinos with vast landholdings. Manuel L. Quezon, who represented the Philippines in the US Congress, lobbied for the passage of the Jones Law, which in 1916 abolished the Philippine Assembly to give way for a bicameral legislature made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. With the passage of the Tydings-McDuffie Act in 1934, Filipinos had their first taste of self-rule through the Philippine Commonwealth, a transitional government designed to prepare the Filipinos over a ten-year period for independence. By 1935, the Commonwealth was in place with Quezon as its first president. The Philippines also approved a new constitution in the same year. The United States is credited for helping establish the Republic of the Philippines, the first democratic government in Asia. Economically, the Philippines was ahead of its Asian neighbours, who were still subjects of European colonial powers before the war. Japanese Invasion In December 1941, the Japanese Imperial Army invaded the Philippines and drove the Commonwealth Government from Manila. While Quezon continued to head the government-in-exile until his death in New York in August 1944, the Japanese forces handpicked Jose P. Laurel, a graduate of Yale University and Tokyo International University, to head a new government under their control. The Philippines was dragged into the war because of Japan's military ambition to become the dominant force in Asia and the Pacific. Japan wanted to be the leader of an economic zone in East Asia, which would be the source of its raw materials. The US presence in the Philippines, known for its strategic location in Southeast Asia, was the largest threat to the Japanese forces, following the destruction of the American Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. While the American forces were regrouping in the United States, Filipino soldiers formed a guerrilla organization called Hukbalahap (People's Anti-Japanese Army). Some 30,000 guerrillas at that time engaged the Japanese army in intermittent clashes. The Hukbalahap would later adopt the communist ideology and rule in the countryside. Meanwhile, Sergio Osmeña replaced Quezon as the head of the government-in-exile and joined General Douglas MacArthur in the liberation of Manila. General MacArthur returned to the Philippines via the island province of Leyte, along with 174,000 army and navy servicemen on October 20, 1944. The liberation of Manila took almost 20 days from February 3 to 23, 1945 and the fierce battle destroyed much of the city, with its ruins now often compared to the ruins of Warsaw, Poland in Europe. The Japanese army, however, continued to fight in the provinces, until September 2, 1945 when General Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya who was believed to have hidden vast amount of treasures during the war, surrendered in Baguio City. It is estimated that the battle of Manila cost the lives of 1 million Filipinos, 300,000 Japanese and 60,000 Americans. The intensity of the US-Japan war would force the former to drop an atomic bomb in Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and in Nagasaki three days later. US Bases By February 1945, Osmeña restored the Commonwealth in the Philippines but it was only on July 4, 1946 that the US granted the Philippines its independence, coinciding with the celebration of the Independence Day in America. However, US military bases would remain in the country for the next 45 years. On March 14, 1947, Manila and Washington signed the Treaty of General Relation, which provided the US to construct military bases for a lease period of 99 years. In 1959, the agreement was amended to shorten the lease period until 1991, after which both sides were to renegotiate the contract. When the US sought a ten-year extension of the lease period in 1991, the Philippine Senate, led by Senate President Jovito Salonga, rejected the proposal in a historic casting of vote on September 16, ending US military bases in the country. With newfound freedom in 1946, Filipinos elected Manuel A. Roxas, leader of the Liberal Party and one of the seven members of the Constitutional Convention who drafted the 1935 Constitution, as the first president of the independent republic in April 1946. His presidency was focused on rebuilding the cities and municipalities torn by the war, redistributing lands as wealthy landowners returned to reclaim their estates, and confronting the Hukbalahap, which by this time was tagged as a socialist-communist organization. The economy grew at a rapid pace, immediately after the war. Special Treatment Close economic ties between Manila and Washington continued after the war on the back of agreements providing for preferential tariffs for American exports and special treatment for US investors in the Philippines. In the 1946 Philippine Trade Act, the Americans were granted duty-free access to the Philippine market and special rights to exploit the country's natural resources. Because of the Trade Act, the Philippines suffered a huge trade deficit with the influx of American imports. In 1949, the Philippine government was forced to impose import controls, after getting the consent of Washington. Roxas' two-year presidency ended with his death, following a heart attack while delivering a speech at Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga province in April 1948. Vice president Elpidio Quirino succeeded Roxas as president and defeated Jose P. Laurel to keep his post in the 1949 presidential race. It was during Quirino's term that the Minimum Wage Law was enacted and the Central Bank was established to stabilize the peso and consumer prices. The country's gross national product grew by an average of 7.7 percent annually in the early 1960s, on the back of the double-digit increase in the manufacturing sector. In the 1953 presidential election, Ramon Magsaysay, who had served as defense secretary under the Quirino administration, won by a landslide. The charismatic Magsaysay initiated peace talks with the Hukbalahap, which would later evolve into a communist organization. He became popular for opening the gates of Malacanang Palace to ordinary people. He died in a plane crash on Mount Manunggal in Cebu in March 1957, which to this day remains a mystery to many Filipinos. While the standard of living in the Philippines was below that of the Western World, the country was often cited as the second richest economy in Asia, after Japan in the 1960s. However, ill-advised economic policies, poor governance and rapid population growth in the country would allow other Asian economies such as Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and China not only to catch up with but to leave the Philippines behind in the race towards industrialization. Filipino First Vice President Carlos P. Garcia assumed the country's top government post following the death of Magsaysay. Garcia was known for his First Filipino Policy and Austerity Program, which put the interests of Filipinos ahead those of foreigners. Under his austerity measures, he encouraged temperate spending, which resulted in less imports and more exports. His nationalist policies, however, perpetuated the business interests of the ruling elite in the country and did not encourage local businesses to be competitive. Garcia lost to his vice-president in the 1961 presidential poll. Protectionist policies allowed local manufacturers to control the economy from 1949 to 1962, discouraging them from becoming competitive. Diosdado Macapagal, father of incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was the president from 1961 to 1965. Before he became president, he authored the land reform program as a legislator and was vice-president to Garcia. As president, Macapagal began a five-year socio-economic program by removing imports control and liberalizing foreign exchange. It was Macapagal who declared June 12 as the national Independence Day. In 1962, the Macapagal administration began devaluing the peso by half to around 3.90 to the US dollar. Macapagal initiated a shift in investments from the light industries to chemicals, steel and industrial equipment. He was also one of the proponents of the MAPHILINDO, a trade bloc of three South East Asian countries – the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia. This bloc later expanded to what is now the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). By 1965, foreign capital was present in nearly a third of the country's capital stock. Martial Law Ferdinand Marcos, the Senate president, defeated Macapagal in the presidential election to become the country's tenth president in November 1965. A close ally of the United States, Marcos launched military campaigns against the insurgents including the communist Hukbalahap and Moro rebels in Mindanao. In August 1967, Manila hosted a summit that led to the creation of the ASEAN. With his reelection in 1969, Marcos had to contend with worsening civil strife. An ideologist named Jose Ma. Sison founded the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, 1968. It was during the same year that University of the Philippines Nur Misuari founded the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the armed wing of Islamic resistance movement. In June 1971, the government convened the Constitutional Convention to amend the Constitution. Ironically, Marcos declared Martial Law on September 21, 1972, following a series of bombings in Metro Manila, He abolished Congress, curtailed freedom of the press, imposed curfews, ordered the arrest of his political enemies, prohibited labour unions, and controlled the economy with the help of his cronies. Although his wife Imelda was credited for building some of the country's finest monuments, she was criticized for personal extravagance, a form of which was maintaining a collection of 3,000 pairs of shoes. Green Revolution The so-called green revolution in the early 1970s, which introduced new farming technologies, enabled the Philippines to export rice to its neighbours. The International Rice Research Institute was established in Los Banos town, Laguna province where Thai, Vietnamese and other Asian researchers trained to develop their own rice production. Thailand would later become the world's largest rice exporter and the Philippines one of the largest rice importers. With the introduction of new farming technologies, the Philippines became heavily dependent on importer fertilizers, which are mostly fuel-based. The increase in world crude oil prices also pushed prices of fertilizers, to the detriment of Filipino farmers trying to adopt the modern technologies. Chinese Tycoons On June 9, 1975, the Marcos administration signed a joint communiqué with Communist China to restore official diplomatic relations. The Communiqué recognized that "there is but one China, of which Taiwan is an integral part. In return, China vowed not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Philippines and refrained from providing any substantial support to the Communist Party of the Philippines, the largest insurgent group in the country. The largest success story in the Philippines actually involved Chinese merchants who left China in pursuit of business opportunities abroad. Unlike rich American investors, Chinese migrants came to the Philippines with little money but large determination that the country's democratic society would help them become rich. True enough, they found goldmine in the Philippines. Today, the richest individuals in the Philippines have Chinese names, including billionaires such as Lucio Tan, Henry Sy, John Gokongwei, and George Ty. Together, they are the largest group of investors in the Philippines and control most of the largest companies in the country. Overseas Workers Under Martial Law, one man other than Marcos would singularly define labour relations in the Philippines and the role of the Filipino workers in the world. Labour Minister Blas Ople, a former journalist, authored the Labor Code on November 1, 1974 and launched the overseas employment program in 1976, which would send young and talented Filipinos who could not find work at home to other countries for dollar-earning jobs. Ople obtained the permission of Marcos to deploy thousands of Filipino workers overseas to meet the growing need of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates for skilled workers and the rising demand for Filipino seamen in flag-of-convenience vessels. Hesitant at first, Marcos later conceded to the proposal, if only to tame the growing militancy building among the hearts of the young and intelligent Filipinos who could not find job opportunities in their own land. The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) were established to intensify recruitment of Filipino workers. This would make the Philippines the third largest destination of dollar remittances in the world, next to the more populous countries of India and Mexico. The Marcos administration also tried to court foreign investors, by committing guarantees against nationalization and imposing restrictions on trade-union activity. However, the blatant record of human rights abuses by the military under his administration was a big turnoff among foreigners. Under Martial law, the military and the police killed, abused, or arrested at least 10,000 Filipinos, including some of the brightest students and intellectuals. Many had disappeared without a trace. While Marcos lifted martial law on January 17, 1981 in time for the visit of Pope John Paul II to Manila in February, he maintained most of his powers as a dictator. Benigno Aquino, an opposition senator living in asylum in the US, decided to return to Manila in 1983. His death, from assassins' bullets at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport, sparked adverse sentiments against the Marcos administration. Bankruptcy As the economy stagnated under the Marcos administration because of a mix of bad economic policies, corruption and uncontrolled population growth, the government had to resort to foreign borrowing to finance the fiscal deficit. In October 1983, the Central Bank notified its creditors about its plan to default payment on debt amounting to US$24.6 billion. With the growing loss of confidence by the business community, the peso depreciated by as much as 21 percent in 1983. The gross domestic product shrank by 6.8 percent in 1984 and by 3.8 percent in 1985. Emboldened by Marcos' dipping popularity, the opposition gathered around Aquino's widow, Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, who would later challenge Marcos in the 1986 snap presidential election. When Batasang Pambansa (National Assembly) declared Marcos the winner amid allegations of widespread electoral fraud, protesters, buoyed by Manila archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, trooped to the streets. Following the defection of Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces vice chief Fidel Ramos from Marcos, protesters began converging along EDSA near Ortigas Avenue, which would culminate in the ouster of Marcos from Malacanang Palace on February 25, 1986. The media called the bloodless uprising as the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution - something that political groups would later thought could be replicated time and again. Democratic Rule After Marcos, his family and his cronies fled from the Philippines, Aquino became president, organized a new government, freed the political prisoners and tried to restore democratic rule in the country. In February 1987, her government approved a new Constitution, which would later be subjected to heated debates over its restrictive provisions on foreign participation in the economy. The 1987 Constitution restored the presidential system of government with a bicameral legislature composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives and an independent judiciary headed by the Supreme Court chief justice. To avoid a replication of Marcos' excesses, the Constitution limited the president's stay in office to one six-year term. It also created the autonomous regions of Muslim Mindanao and Cordillera and put agrarian reform as the cornerstone of the government's plan for social transformation. A renegade faction in the Philippine military launched a series of coup attempts against the Aquino presidency. Perception of political instability dampened economic activities and refrained the economy from matching the large strides taken by its Asian neighbors in the 1980s and 1990s. By this time, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand have overtaken the Philippines in the race towards industrialization. The Arroyo administration, while taking pride of having restored democracy, failed to bring the economy on track towards industrialization, and one of the factors singled out was the president's political inexperience and lack of consistency in pushing for economic reforms. In the 1992 presidential election, Aquino endorsed the candidacy of her chosen successor – Defense Secretary Fidel Ramos. In June 1991, Mount Pinatubo's powerful eruption sent tons of ashes around the planet's atmosphere. Subsequent lava/lahar flow buried several towns in Central Luzon and jolted the economy. The natural tragedy also forced American soldiers at Clark Field and Subic Bay to withdraw from their bases earlier than stipulated. The US turned over to the Philippine government the two bases with total assets amounting to US$1.3 billion. The Philippine government later transformed the two bases into special economic zones. Liberalisation In 1992, Fidel Ramos was elected President. He began his term amid an energy crisis, which plunged the country literally into darkness. This he was able to resolve by inviting foreign investors to take part in the so-called build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme, where they would serve as independent power producers (IPPs) enjoying a lot of incentives and guaranteed market. While it brought light to Filipino households, the scheme would later translate to high electricity rates. In 1995, the Ramos administration also had to contend with a rice shortage, as a result of low agricultural production and poorly managed importation program. Since then, the government has authorised the National Food Authority (NFA) to import rice at will in order to prepare for any shortage in domestic stock. The Ramos presidency was also responsible for economic reforms such as privatisation of government assets, trade and banking liberalisation and deregulation, which would push annual trade growth at double-digit levels and draw in large-ticket foreign investments. By 1996, the Philippines was described as a newly industrialising economy along with the likes of Thailand and Malaysia. It was also under the Ramos presidency that communism was legalised, and some leftist organisations would later join Congress as partylist groups. The government and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) headed by Nur Misuari would sign a peace agreement that would establish a peace zone in southern Philippines. However, other militant rebel groups such as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Abu Sayyaf would continue waging a war against the government for a Islamic state in the south. What Ramos failed to accomplish is the amendment to the 1987 Constitution to remove the restriction on foreign ownership of land and public utilities, which limits maximum ownership to 40 percent. The opposition party accused him of trying to tinker with the charter to remove the six-year term limit of the president and in the process perpetuate his stay in power. In the end, he had to give up such attempt under the weight of public opinion. Financial Crisis With the outbreak of the Asian financial crisis, the Philippine economy contracted by 0.6 percent in 1998, the same year Joseph Estrada, a popular politician with links to the movie industry, became president. The economy actually grew although at a slower pace at 3.4 percent in 1999 and at 4 percent in 2000 even as the inflation and interest rates began to decline. In comparison, growth reached 5.2 percent under the Ramos presidency in 1997. While Estrada got the backing of Filipino-Chinese businessmen by reducing the problem of kidnapping, he did not get the same support from other "elite" businessmen. Despite appointing top economists, Estrada, a former college dropout, could not convince the "high society" that he could resolve the country's economic woes. Ironically, what brought down the Estrada administration was not his economic policies, seen by many as not substantially different from those of Ramos, but the perception of wide corruption in his administration. In October 2000, a former ally implicated Estrada in illegal gambling payoffs and kickbacks. Reports that he has many wives housed in different mansions also got Estrada indifferent treatment from the Church, which was a force behind the 1986 People's Power Revolution. EDSA 2 In December 2000, the House of Representatives impeached Estrada. The subsequent impeachment trial at the Senate was aborted when senators from the opposition party walked out of the courtroom, triggering street demonstrations reminiscent of the 1986 revolt. Within hours after the walkout, the crowd at EDSA grew into millions of anti-Estrada protesters. When political and military leaders withdrew their support from Estrada, Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide swore Vice President Gloria Mapacagal Arroyo as the next president on January 20, 2001. Arroyo, a daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal, came to Malacanang with a promise to clean the government of corrupt officials and bring down the number of poor Filipinos, which represents a third of the total population. In her first year in office, she faced numerous challenges starting with the May 1 rebellion, instigated by the Estrada camp to regain the presidency. The rebellion proved futile, as the highly politicised military and the police remained loyal to Arroyo. She also had to contend with Muslim extremists, who began to target cities in their attacks. Following the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, the Philippines was one of the first countries to express support for a US-led international campaign against terrorism. On the economic front, Congress passed the liberalisation of the retail trade sector and the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001, which aims to privatise the state-owned National Power Corporation. The Arroyo administration also promoted business process outsourcing (BPO), information technology, tourism, and mining as key investment areas for foreign companies. Trade with other Asian countries was also given importance in view of the declining trade volume with the United States. Telecommunications One particular industry, which has led economic growth since 2000 is telecommunications, although this proved to be a bane for other industries as Filipinos cut their expenditures on other items to buy mobile phones and pay for monthly network services. By 2005, it is estimated that half of the 85 million Filipinos would have mobile phones, a high penetration rate for a developing market. Because of the global economic slump following the September 11 attacks, the GDP grew by merely 1.8 percent in 2001. Growth reached 4.3 percent in 2002 and 4.7 percent in 2003 even as the Arroyo administration confronted communist and Islamic insurgency problems and a shocking military coup in July 2003. After surviving the coup, Arroyo won the May 2004 presidential election over Estrada's close friend and popular actor Fernando Poe Jr. Economic growth reached 6.1 percent in 2004, the highest in 15 years, although this was negated by high inflation and uncontrolled unemployment rates which were more felt by the poor. Fiscal Deficit Pressed by economists to narrow the burgeoning fiscal deficit, President Arroyo urged Congress to pass a package of tax reform measures aimed at achieving a balanced budget by the end of her term in 2010. Because of a long history of budget deficits, the public debt hit more than 130 percent of the GDP in 2003 and has been rising since then. Different sectors, however, criticised the administration for passing a heavier burden of taxation on the people at a time crude oil prices were hovering at historic high levels and pushing prices of goods and services beyond the capacity of ordinary consumers. By the second half of 2005, there were signs that the fiscal deficit was narrowing, even with the delay in the implementation of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) law, which raised by 2 percentage points the tax rate on consumer products and services to 12 percent and by 3 percentage points the corporate income tax to 35 percent. The new EVAT law, which was expanded to cover fuel and electricity, took effect on November 1, 2005. New Constitution As the popularity of President Arroyo dipped to the lowest level amid allegations that she bought her way to the presidency in the 2004 presidential elections, she was given an option to correct the loopholes in the political system by amending the 1987 Constitution. She formed a Consultative Commission to recommend charter amendments focusing on lifting all restrictions to foreign investments and paving the way for a shift in the form of government from a presidential, central system into a parliamentary, federal system. Posted by Text Mates at 4:16 PM 0 comments Labels: Economy, History, National, Social Filipino Inventions Solar powered Balut maker The College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos has invented a solar "balut" maker. Engineer Fernando Paras Jr. said the machine, which covers an area of five square meters, is actually an incubator that can process duck eggs into embryonated eggs or balut for 15 to 17 days. Traditionally, balut makers in Pateros have been using electricity for incubation. The new invention is a two-way solar-powered system, with the solar water heater serving as the primary heat source while the photovoltaic cells serve as the auxiliary heat source regulating the temperature inside the incubator. The machine can process up to 4,000 eggs at the same time. This can double the income of farmers. SMS reader for the Blind A group of four engineering students from the De La Salle University invented the SMS reader, a device that allows the blind to read and send text messages. The prototype is composed of a black box with a Braille display that mimics the interface of a mobile phone. A data cable is connected to a slot in the black box. Superkalan Narciso Mosuela of La Union province invented the "superkalan", a novelty stove that can be fired with anything that burns—wood, paper, dried dung and leaves, corn cobs, and coco shells. The body of this stove is made of aluminum alloy, with a cast iron heat intensifier. For his invention, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) bestowed on Mosuela the "best design award" for Third World country category in 1987. Aside from the superkalan, Mr. Mosuela invented a functional rice thresher and other kitchen gadgets. Anti-cancer cream In November 2005, Filipino inventor Rolando dela Cruz won the gold medal for his "DeBCC" anti-cancer cream at the prestigious International Inventor's Forum in Nuremberg, Germany. The "DeBCC" cream, developed from cashew nuts and other local herbs, was chosen over 1,500 entries as the "most significant invention" of the year. According to Mr. dela Cruz, the cream was a simple answer to basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common type of skin cancer worldwide. BCC affects around 800,000 Americans every year, according to the Skin Care Foundation. BCC also affects 500,000 Europeans and 190,000 Australians every year. Mole Remover In 2000, Rolando dela Cruz developed an ingenuous formula that could easily remove deeply grown moles or warts from the skin without leaving marks or hurting the patient. His formula was extracted from cashew nut (Annacardium occidentale), which is common in the Philippines. The formula won for dela Cruz a gold medal in International Invention, Innovation, Industrial Design and Technology Exhibition in Kuala Lumpur in September 2000. In March 1997, dela Cruz established RCC Amazing Touch International Inc., which runs clinics engaged "in a non-surgical removal of warts, moles and other skin growths, giving the skin renewed energy and vitality without painful and costly surgery." Modular Housing System Edgardo Vazquez won a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gold medal in 1995 for developing a modular housing system. Such a system called Vazbuilt is reportedly capable of building within weeks a house with prefabricated materials that can withstand typhoons and earthquakes. Ironically, Vasquez is not getting enough support from the Philippine government to propagate his technology, which could help provide shelter to some five million Filipino families without their own homes. Vazquez is the national president of the Filipino Inventors Society. Super Bunker Formula-L In 1996, Rudy Lantano Sr., a scientist from the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST), won the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) gold medal for developing Super Bunker Formula-L, a revolutionary fuel half-composed of water. The mix burns faster and emits pollutants, 95 percent less than those released to the air by traditional fuel products. The inventor said his invention is a result of blending new ingredients and additives with ordinary oil products through agitation and mixing, which is a very safe process. The initial plan was to commercially produce two million liters of Alco-Diesel, two million liters of Lan-Gas and an unlimited quantity of Super Bunker Formula-L each day for customers in Luzon. Natural Gas Vehicle The Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a vehicle that runs on natural gas, whose rich deposits remain untapped under the Philippine seabed. The project's main objective is to look into the potential of natural gas as an alternative fuel to conventional petrol and diesel for the transport sector. The natural gas vehicle (NVG) has been road-tested in Isabela where an existing natural gas supply from the PNOC Gas Plant is located. Test runs have also been made in Cagayan, Ifugao and Mountain Province. The test vehicle used was the Isuzu Hi-Lander 4JA-1, direct injected diesel engine. The use of natural gas as a fuel is cheaper. On a gallon-equivalent basis, natural gas costs an average of 15 to 40 percent less than gasoline and diesel. There are over one million NVGs in the world today, according to the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles. Lamp Fixing Invention A Filipino inventor has developed a technology, which could revive a busted lamp (pundido) and give it more years of functional life than those of new ones. Acclaimed by the Filipino Inventors Society as timely and revolutionary, the Nutec system can prolong the life of fluorescent lamps up to seven years. Nutec was developed by New World Technology, headed by president Eric Ngo and chosen as the "Product of the Year" at the Worldbex 2000 Building and Construction Exposition held at the Manila Hotel. Engineer Benjamin S. Santos, national president of the Inventors Society, called Nutec a timely invention. "Tubig Talino" The Department of Science and Technology claimed that it has developed "Tubig Talino", an iodine-rich drinking water that treats micronutrient deficiencies responsible for goiter, mental and physical retardation, and birth defects. "Tubig Talino" is actually a mixture of 20 liters of water and 15 ml of "Water Plus + I2". Consumption of five glasses a day of this iodine fortification in drinking water is expected to provide 120 micrograms of iodine, which meets 100 percent of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of a male adult. Feminine Hygiene Product Inventor Dr. Virgilio Malang won a gold medal for his invention "Psidium Guajava Effervescing Gynecological Insert", a silver medal for his "Patient Side-Turning Hospital Bed", and three bonze medals for his inventions "external vaginal cleanser", "light refracting earpick", and "broom's way of hanging" at the Seoul International Fair in held South Korea in December 2002. There were 385 inventions from 30 countries that joined the competitions. Patis Contrary to popular belief, there was no fish sauce or Patis yet during the Spanish occupation. Patis began to become a part of most Filipinos' diet only after the Japanese occupation. Here is an account of how an enterprising lady discovered the fermentation of Patis. Immediately after the war, the family of Ruperta David or Aling Tentay started a dried fish business. One day, Aling Tentay stored in jars some salted fish that turned into fragments even before they dried. While in jars, the fish fragments turned into a liquid substance that tasted like our Patis today. Thus the beginning of the thriving Patis business of Aling Tentay, which was officially registered in 1949 and is known today as Tentay Food and Sauces Inc. (Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer) A Showcase of Ingenuity Nothing perhaps has been associated with Filipino technology as much as the country's pride - jeepney. The word "jeep" evolved from the military designation, general-purpose or G.P., of a light vehicle first used by the Americans in World War II. Developed by the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps, this vehicle was powered by a four-cylinder engine and was classified as a quarter-ton truck in carrying capacity. It had served as a command vehicle, reconnaissance car, and ammunition carrier. The American soldiers brought these vehicles to the Philippines in the 1940s. After the war, these vehicles were left by the Americans and converted by the Filipinos into public utility vehicles. Employing artistic and indigenous designs, the Filipinos came up with a longer, well-decorated, techni-colored and sleeker vehicle, which they later called jeepney. From the standard military jeep, the body was extended to accommodate between 20 to 30 passengers. Modern jeepneys now sport very colorful and intricate paintings, fancy adornments, and metallic decors reflective of Filipino sentiments, values, and culture. The town of Las Pinas has been recognized as the jeepney-producing center in the country. Today, public utility jeepneys or PUJs serve as the primary means of transportation in most provinces. For this, the Philippines came to be known as the "land of the jeepneys".
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