The Philippines Cultural Field Guide is designed to provide deploying military personnel an overview of the Philippines’ cultural terrain. In this field guide, the Philippines’ cultural history has been synopsized to capture the more significant aspects of the Philippine cultural environment, with emphasis on factors having the greatest potential to impact operations.
This handbook provides basic reference information on the Philippines, including its geography, history, government, military forces, and communications and transportation networks. This information is intended to familiarize military personnel with local customs and area knowledge to assist them during their assignment to the Philippines.
The Army is currently engaged in two fights in southwest Asia. However, future conflicts could possibly be brewing throughout all of south and southeast Asia. The largest Islamic country in the world is not in the Middle East but is in Asia: Indonesia with approximately 197 million Muslims. And throughout southern Asia, insurgency and radicalization is on the rise. At a recent conference in Bangladesh, Major General (Retired) A.N.M. Muniruzzaman of the Bangladesh Institute of Peace and Security Studies announced south Asia is now the “epicenter for global terrorism.” Not one of the attendees from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the United States, Canada, Germany, Norway, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore disagreed with him.
The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General issued a report in May 2011 titled “Supervision of Aliens Commensurate with Risk” that details Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) detention and supervision of aliens. The report includes a list of Specially Designated Countries (SDCs) that are said to “promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members”. The report states that ICE uses a Third Agency Check (TAC) to screen aliens from specially designated countries (SDCs) that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members and that the purpose of the additional screening is to determine whether other agencies have an interest in the alien. ICE’s policy requires officers to conduct TAC screenings only for aliens from SDCs if the aliens are in ICE custody.
Television dominates the Philippines’ mostly privately owned and market-oriented media, overtaking radio over the past decade. Newspapers rank third, but Internet usage is on the rise. Violence against broadcast journalists has marred the country’s claim to media freedom. Of the seven major TV networks, three are government-owned, but only one — NBN — is under the government’s operational control. NBN promotes official views but has lost audience share to private TV stations ABS-CBN and GMA, which sensationalize news and entertainment programs. TV is mostly in Tagalog and English. Over 150 radio networks broadcast in the Philippines. Manila Broadcasting Company is the largest with over 100 radio stations nationwide. Philippine Broadcasting Service, the only government-owned radio network, has over 30 stations. Most major networks are based in Manila, but provincial affiliates operate independently due to differences in urban-provincial needs. With much programming in local languages, radio tends to promote regionalism.