Is the Philippines a Third World Country?

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Is Philippiness a third world country?

The question of whether or not the Philippines is a third-world country is fast becoming a subject of debate. From all indications, the Philippines is a third-world country.

In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about third-world countries and why it’s the perfect fit for the Philippines.

If you’re curious to know more, then read on!

What’s the Definition of a Third World Country?

Recently, the definition of a third-world country has found expression in two meanings. First, the historical third world country was defined as one not aligned to NATO or USSR.

The second definition is used in modern reality. It defines a third-world country as one economically inferior to the first and second World countries. But this definition has become rather derogatory.

Ideally, third-world countries are identified by non-affiliation to intergovernmental alliances. The idea that being third world meant being poor was only because most third world countries at the time were poor.

This erroneous concept soon became the norm over time. But this is not the case today. The Philippines may not have advanced as the likes of South Korea, Hong Kong, or Singapore, but it is surely ahead of most African countries.

Today, countries are disassociating themselves from the tag of being either first, second, or third world countries. They stick to being either developed, developing, or underdeveloped.

So if we’re going to be politically correct, the Philippines is a developing country.

Characteristics of Third World Countries

1.   Non-Alignment

This is the primary definition of a third-world country. These countries are not aligned with NATO or the Warsaw pact during the Cold War. At the time, countries aligned with NATO were called first-world countries.

Those countries aligned with Warsaw were called second world. Non-aligned countries then fell into the third world category. Though these realities no longer exist, categorization is still important in teaching history.

2.   They’re Mostly Developing Countries

All first and second world countries are developed countries. Developed countries barely have limitations as to health care, low gross domestic product, or high mortality rates. Mind you, the Philippines is not a third-world country because it has limited health care.

It’s third world because it’s not affiliated with intergovernmental alliances. Nonetheless, most third-world countries are identified as being developing countries. And this shouldn’t be a disease. It’s only a label that reflects a country’s economic performance.

The good news is that the Philippines has experienced massive evolution over the years.

3.   Human Development Index is Low

Human development is at the heart of economic development. A country low in human development is said to lack knowledge, a decent standard of living, and healthy life for its citizens. These 3 elements were published by the United States as the core needs of human life.

4.   Gross National Income is Low

In 2016, the World Bank classified world economies according to their Gross Domestic Income (GNI). Countries with low GNI were defined as those with $1,025 per capita or less.

Middle-income economies were those with GNI between $1,026 and $4,036. High-income countries were those with GNI from $12,476 and above. At the time, high GNI countries like the United States had GNI of about $12,700 per capita.

In 2019, the Philippines’ GNI was $3,850. By 2020, there was a 10.91% decline, bringing the GNI to $3,430. GNI is a major determinant of economic growth. No country can become a developed nation without a rise in GNI.

Today, business process outsourcing (BPO) is a major GNI booster for the Philippines.

5.   Traces of Economic Dependence

Most third-world countries heavily rely on developed nations to boost their economy. Though it helps, it often leads to their being controlled by these powerful nations. This dependence has been a major tool for the exploitation of a country’s natural resources.

6.   Lack of Social, Economic, and Political Rights

Lack of civil liberties may be a major hint that a country is third world. Just to be clear, most third-world countries like the Philippines are fast evolving and breaking limits. Nonetheless, the absence of these rights is primary evidence that a country is developing.

What’s Special About the Philippines?

The Philippines may be labeled a third-world country, but it still has so much to offer. Here are a couple of things to know about the Philippines:

1.   The People

If anything, Filipinos are constant reminders of the importance of the little things — shared smiles and happy living.

For what it’s worth, the Philippines ranked 2nd happiest country in Southeast Asia in March 2022. While being happy is not all there is to life, it sure has its part to play in healthy living.

2.   It’s a Tourist Zone

The Philippines is one of the world’s archipelago countries. Having a string of about 7,100 islands, the Philippines has become a tourist destination for many.

3.   Natural and Human Resources Abound

The Philippines is rich in gold, silver, limestone, cobalt, copper, nickel, and other minerals. It also has fisheries and agricultural lands.

According to the OECD, the Philippines stood out as the Southeastern Asian state with stand-alone HR units. The Philippines was also top of the list for having the highest number of women in its government offices among other ASEAN states.

4.   It’s an Affordable Place to Live

The Philippines is sure to give you a lavish lifestyle with a minimal budget. Compared to most developed countries, the Philippines has a reasonable cost of living.

5.   Great Traditional Food

The Philippines is famous for its tasty traditional dishes. Filipinos will wow you with their menu. Of course, some of them would make you cringe, but what’s the fun if you don’t? It’d interest you to know that rice is the key ingredient in all Philippines meals. Funny right?

6.   It has the Longest Underground River in the World

The Puerto Princesa River is surrounded by beautiful limestone karst in the north of Palawan. This subterranean river is named one of nature’s seven wonders.

7.   It’s Multilingual

Over 175 languages are spoken in the Philippines. How this came to be remains a mystery. But the near explanation is the effect of colonialism over the years.

8.   World’s 2nd Largest Coconut Exporter

After Indonesia, the Philippines takes the lead in coconut production. In 2019 alone, the country produced coconuts worth over 14.7 million tons.

9.   No Need For Cars

If you’re going to live in the Philippines, getting a car may not be necessary. The country’s famous for its tuk-tuk and jeepney. These means of transportation are made affordable for every commuter.

However, if you love your comfort, a private car or cab are great options.

10.                It’s the Best Place to Build a Career in Boxing

Boxing is at the heart of every Filipino. Being the country’s favorite sport, fights are revered like national events. In fact, the police report that crime rates decline significantly when there’s a Pacquiao fight.

It’s More Fun in the Philippines

The country’s tourism slogan says a lot about the experience. Though a third-world country, the Philippines plays a top role in BPO. Above all, the country is a major attraction to tourists. So if you’re considering it, the Philippines is a worthy bucket list option.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Philippines

Should I live in the Philippines?

Living in the Philippines may not entirely be a bad idea. Besides having an affordable cost of living, Filipinos make the Philippines special. They’re caring and welcoming.

Is it safe to live in the Philippines?

Not entirely. According to the Safety Index of 2022, the Philippines ranked 59th safest country out of 142 others. With a safety score of 82 over 100, the Philippines is said to be safe for expats.

However, crime rates are high in the Philippines. There have been reports of gang activities in Manila. Expats are also targets for armed robbers and scammers.

What is the cost of living in the Philippines?

The cost of living in the Philippines is relatively lower than in any other place. With about $2000 per month, a couple can live like royalty anywhere in the Philippines. If you’re single, $1000 will serve you for a month.

Where are the dangerous areas in the Philippines?

It’s never all smiles and coconuts in the Philippines. If you’re ever going to visit, avoid going to these areas:

  • Marawi City
  • Quezon City
  • Jolo Province
  • Basilan
  • Cotabato City
  • Manila
  • Cebu City

Where are the safest places in the Philippines?

Based on reports, Davao City has the lowest crime rate in the Philippines. Other safe places are:

  • Venezuela City
  • Baguio
  • Makati
  • Some parts of Cebu