Stamps issued: 1946-PRESENT
A large group of islands in the Malay Archipelago, north of Borneo. Occupied by Spain from the 16th century, the Philippines were ceded to the United States in 1899. Nationalist resistance was suppressed by the United States by mid-1902, but local self-government was steadily expanded. In 1935 the Philippine Commonwealth was established, and a plan leading to full independence in 1946 was adopted. During World War II, the Philippines were occupied by Japan. Following the defeat of the Japanese in September 1945, prewar plans for independence were resumed, and on July 4, 1946, the Republic of the Philippines was declared. Communist Huk guerrillas fought the central government after 1946 but were defeated by 1954. Moro resistance in the southern islands, which had continued from the days of Spanish rule, culminated in peace talks in 1996/97, aimed at permitting greater autonomy in Moro areas. Increasing leftist terrorism and student riots during 1970-71 led to a declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos continued to rule by decree until he was ousted from the Philippines following a hotly contested election by Corazon Aquino in 1986. The Aquino regime survived several coup attempts by right-wing elements, and was succeeded by a democratically elected slate in 1992. Tension between the Philippines and the United States over U.S. naval bases in the country were defused in 1991/92, when the United States abandoned Clark Air Force Base, damaged by the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, and turned over the Subic Bay naval base.