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Two Root Causes for Undevelopment of Philippines as a Nation

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What is the root cause of the under development of our country as a nation? That is the question we asked ourselves recently, the same as what makes Philippines as a nation? In this essay I want to examine why we as a nation are going through the path of undevelopment, but not the path of rise and progression. If we had a chance to travel outside the Philippines in our lifetime, we might have noticed that most people from the first world have no idea where the Philippines is located. With lack of geographical awareness is just one of the many reasons. 

The academician and experts have constantly cited that the underdevelopment of the Philippines as a nation exists. The Philippines is one of Asia’s countries with an enormous population. However, despite having a population of around 100 million that could make it one of the largest markets for business, the country is not developing at par with other Southeast Asia. The Philippines remains an underdeveloped country, and many people are wondering why. The main reasons why most Filipinos remain to be poor and do not prosper even though they have an internet connection, electricity, and even education. Can be seen and found out in the lack of significant industries in the country, the absence of national leaders who think globally, and the continuously low performance by its officials. The Philippines has a long checkered story of a challenging past regarding its development as a nation. For as long as we could probably count, it has been this way, and time and time again, the country regressed backward. Well, if we are to think about it, there are many reasons why this was the case, and even today, there still seem to be many things that we can do better to unpack this baggage. With all the resources available in the Philippines, it is a mystery why this small archipelago has yet to prosper on the world stage. Although there are many reasons why this is so, one of the leading causes that we believe is holding us back is this: most Filipinos have forgotten we are Filipinos. We are now facing two major problems that may lead to its collapse as a nation in the coming years: 

  1. Lack of direction;
  2. The lack of a serious discussion regarding this matter or any proper steps to solve this problem.


This research will investigate these issues, develop the arguments that justify the causes of such problems, and suggest possible courses of action for us to pursue moving forward. Why is the Philippines underdeveloped, and how can it be fixed? That is a query that both the regional and unfamiliar businesspeople have asked. The most important factor affecting development in the country is corruption. Corruption exists within the ranks of officials and even in the private sector. Officials from all levels have no qualms about asking for bribes before providing public services. This behavior is socially accepted as well as standard practice. In the Philippines, we are currently experiencing the effects of decades of political underdevelopment. Although the brilliant leadership of our new President Rodrigo Duterte has been able to overcome this problem and instill a sense of hope in our people, there is still more to be done not only for the provinces but for the whole country. The Philippine government must do everything within its power to promote economic development to give our people the chance to grow out of poverty and become self-sufficient.

In our own country, agrarian reform is a significant issue that has yet to be resolved.  It is a significant issue affecting millions of Filipino farmers and their families. Currently, only 0.4% of the total land in the Philippines has been distributed to tenant farmers, while almost 14% was given to owners, and 24% remains unutilized. The roots of the underdevelopment of the Philippines can be outlined in the Philippine land system and the misapplication of the agrarian reform program. At present, the Philippines is a third-world country because while a few landowners grew rich from unequal terms of work, high profits, inconsiderable wages, and tiniest tax fees, thousands of peasants and citizens remain in destitution through landlessness, illiteracy, and unemployment. The agricultural sector in the Philippines is characterized by incongruence between society’s social, political, and economic sectors. Property rights are not absolute, and laws, institutions, and government intervention are almost anti-entrepreneurial. The Philippines’ agricultural sector is still underdeveloped up to the present. That is expected, willingly and foremost, to the inability of the government to solve the issue of land ownership. As it is seen today, there are various forms of land ownership in the Philippines, which is seen not only as a hindrance in terms of economic progress but also as a significant source of tensions between landowners and tillers. In reforming this situation, the passage of new laws and several forms for its implementation, such as land transfer and land tax programs, is being implemented.

The Philippines has been independent of the United States for more than 50 years. This year is a time for reflection for our country as we remember the struggles of our forefathers amid calls to create justice and fairness in society. However, with each passing day, the situation of our country worsens instead of improving. The mismanagement of our government officials and its failure to develop the economy have caused social unrest. The people are calling for significant changes in this country – constitutional reforms that will help end our woes and bring true justice, equal opportunity, and a higher quality of life through economic growth. The significant issues hindering the Philippines from keeping up with progress are the issues of constitutional reforms. The three main goals stated for the Philippine Revolution were representative democracy, establishing a constitution, and establishing a republican government. These goals have not been achieved and have been thrown to the bottom of the list due to power struggles, historical revisionism, and foreign interference. Concepts on constitutional reforms were first introduced to the Philippines in 1793 by Jose de Viana, the Lieutenant Governor of the Spanish Colony. Since then, it has existed on its route to becoming eventually one of the over three thousand constitutions in Asia. However, Filipinos have not always had a chance to make their opinions heard regarding whether or not constitutional reform should take place and, more importantly, what type of reforms are most needed for hindering the socio-economic and political development of the country. With today’s meeting between Gloria Arroyo and her Cabinet, several topics will be brought up for further discussions, including measures for poverty reduction and provisions for Philippine independence. One of the issues that we believe are hindering the progress of our country, as pointed out by many Filipinos, would have to be the over-reliance on constitutional reforms. There are tons of these reform-centric blogs and other forms of media that churn out articles day after day about the supposed tiers of government and how they should be set up.

Issues of initiative and taxation are also why the Philippines is lagging as a nation in Southeast Asia. The Philippines is underdeveloped compared to other neighboring countries in Southeast Asia. From 1972 until now, there have been 17 major tax laws and 842 revenues laws that have been passed by congress, wherein they seemingly increase the tax burden of the citizenry. It is evident that the Philippines is a nation wherein its citizens are generally overtaxed while its agencies are underfunded and inefficient. As such, we need to critically analyze our historical root causes of why this condition exists in order for us to correct our course as a nation, for if we do not do this, we may never be able to change it. Initiatives and taxation are the issues we mainly researched and discussed our position on them. The intent was to persuade the audiences that there are some problems we need to address if we want to step up on the international stage. The first problem is our tax system. We all know that it is ineffective; once one kind of research about the income tax history of the Philippines, one can easily conclude that it hinders the growth and development of the economy. When income per capita increases, the amount of taxes collected by the government increases, but this does not necessarily mean that all these benefits will be returned to benefit the citizens. Due to corruption and inefficiency, most government officials and other government employees do not work hard towards improving their country because they know they can hold onto their position without doing anything. Hence, we need to have a system centered around fairness. The Philippines’ underdevelopment has been continuously brought up for decades, and the root cause of this problem has never been addressed. The Philippines is considered the only recently-developed country in Southeast Asia, even though its infrastructures are still inferior to its pre-colonial counterparts.

In conclusion, we have discussed why the Philippines is still underdeveloped. Despite its being an archipelago for many centuries. The leading cause of this underdevelopment is being unable to control the other countries from exploiting resources from the Philippines.  In order to prevent its underdevelopment, it needs to keep sovereignty at all times and do everything possible to preserve its resources. We need to stop blaming foreign countries and start looking inwards to find a solution. Let it be known what we think is the root cause of the underdevelopment and how it can be fixed. Analyzing the Philippines’ educational system could lead to suggestions for improvements. We can conclude that the root cause of the underdevelopment of the Philippines lies in the fact that its economic structure is incapable of being developed. It is not that our natural resources are scarce because we have some 216,000 square kilometers of land.

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Two Root Causes for Undevelopment of Philippines as a Nation. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
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