Philippines in Transition

May 17, 1950

Report Outline
Philippine Republic Under Stress and Strain
Liberation and Transition to Independence
Economic Problems of Philippine Islands

Philippine Republic Under Stress and Strain

Civil Disorder and Growing Economic Diffculties

The Republic of the Philippines, now nearing the end of its fourth year as an independent nation, is confronted by threats to its stability from two sources: A Communist-led guerrilla movement in the heart of the country continues to defy constituted government authority; and signs of severe economic stringency ahead are rising as aid from the United States is progressively reduced. Guerrilla activity, centered in the Philippine “rice bowl” close to Manila, appears momentarily the less serious threat, but it may be intensified by worsening economic conditions. For a core of civil unrest in a nation assailed by economic ills offers tempting opportunities for exploitation by Communist troublemakers.

Rich in agricultural and a number of mineral resources, the Philippine nation basically is capable of self-support. Its current economic difficulties are primarily of a transitional nature, arising in part from very extensive war damage and in part from a high degree of trade dependence on the United States. Although the long-range outlook is hopeful, conditions may get worse before they get better, particularly if economic efforts are impeded by domestic disorders or by fears engendered by foreign developments.

Philippine Security and Red-Led Guerrilla Activity

The United States maintains military bases in the islands and Secretary of State Acheson declared last winter that “an attack on the Philippins could not and would not be tolerated by the United States.” Filipinos, however, well remembering that Manila fell to the Japanese in three weeks, have been made apprehensive by the Communist triumph in China. The main body of the Philippine archipelago lies 500 miles across the South China Sea from the mainland of Asia, but the southern tip of Formosa is only 65 miles from the northernmost point in the Philippines. Manila was aroused in March by reports that 25,000 Chinese Communists had infiltrated the country and that the Hukbalahap guerrillas were planning a general uprising to coincide with a Communist invasion of Formosa.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Aug. 10, 1990  Can Democracy Survive in the Philippines?
Feb. 06, 1987  Philippine Politics
Oct. 28, 1983  Political Unrest in the Philippines
Oct. 24, 1980  The Philippines Under Stress
Apr. 25, 1975  Philippine Instability
May 17, 1967  The Philippines: Time of Frictions
May 17, 1950  Philippines in Transition
Apr. 12, 1945  Rehabilitation of the Philippines
Aug. 05, 1933  Independence Contest in the Philippines
Dec. 12, 1931  Economics of the Philippine Problem
Nov. 06, 1926  The Problem of the Philippines
Jan. 28, 1924  Philippine Independence
Imperialism, Colonization, and Independence Movements
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific