Beginnings of insurrection against Spanish rule. [1]


During the Spanish-American War, the US navy destroys the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay. Spain cedes the Philippines to the US under the Treaty of Paris in December. The US proclaims military rule. [1] [2] [5]


Resistance to US occupation is savagely repressed.

To this day, the total number of Filipinos killed during the war is hotly debated. Some 16,000 to 20,000 Filipino soldiers were killed from 1899-1902. Estimates of the number of civilians who died from famine, disease and other war-related causes during these years range from 200,000 to 600,000. These figures do not include the number of Filipinos who died during the warfare in the southern Philippines that continued until 1914. Of the nearly 200,000 U.S. soldiers who served in the Philippines from 1898 to 1902, only about 5,000 were killed. Highlighting a similarly glaring difference in casualty figures in a speech given in 1902, Twain exclaimed: "This is not battle, for only one side is engaged -- it has another name. It is massacre." [3]

The US military government licenses brothels for its soldiers. [4]


Leader of insurgents, Emilio Aguinaldo, is captured. [1]


US civil government replaces military rule. [1]


A Philippine assembly is inaugurated. [1]


A plebiscite approves the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines. Manuel Quezon is the first president. The Philippines is promised full independence within 10 years. [1]


Japan attacks the Philippines by air and invades two weeks later. [1]


US forces retake the islands. [1]


U.S. military fights against leftist forces (Huks) even while the Huks are still fighting against the Japanese invaders. After the war, the U. S. continues its fight against the Huks, defeating them, and then installing a series of puppets as president, culminating in the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. [6] [8]


The islands are granted nominal independence, but the US retains sovereignty over dozens of military bases and imposes heavy constraints on trade via the Bell Act. The terms of the Bell Act are so onerous that even the U.S. State Department opposes them. One official describes the law as "clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this country" and a betrayal of "our promise to grant the Philippines genuine independence." [7]


The US is awarded military bases on the islands. [1]

These bases are used for operations in Indonesia, Vietnam, China and others. [9]


Peace treaty signed with Japan. The Philippines eventually receive 800 million dollars in reparations payments. [1]


Ferdinand Marcos becomes president. [1]


Marcos is supported by successive US governments. He supports the US action in Vietnam and the US help him fight Filipino insurgents. [10]


Marcos is re-elected amidst allegations of electoral fraud. Marcos supports the US policy in Vietnam. There are protests against this. Muslim separatists in the south of the country also begin their campaign of guerrilla war. [1]


Marcos declares martial law. The parliament is suspended, opposition politicians are arrested, censorship is imposed. [1]


A new constitution gives Marcos absolute powers. [1]


Opposition leader Benigno Aquino is sentenced to death. Marcos delays the execution. [1]


Aquino allowed to travel to the US for medical treatment. [1]

In the 1980's Marcos gives Ronald Reagan millions of dollars to help fund his election campaigns. [11]


Martial law is lifted. Marcos wins presidential elections. [1]


Aquino returns to the Philippines, but is shot dead as he leaves his plane. The military is blamed for the murder. [1]


Presidential elections see Marcos opposed by Aquino's widow, Corazon. Marcos declares himself the winner, but Aquino disputes the result. There are mass protests, dubbed "people power", in Manila. The military withdraws its support for Marcos. The new government claims Marcos had looted billions of dollars from the country during his time in power. [1]

The US government takes Marcos to safety in Hawaii. [12]

Under Aquino human rights abuses continue and dictates of the US are still followed. [12]


December - US jets assist Philippine government forces in suppressing an attempted coup. [1]


Military officials are convicted of the murder of Benigno Aquino. [1]


The nationalist people’s movement convinces the Philippine Senate not to extend the treaty on the U.S. military bases. The U.S. has to vacate Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Air Base, two of its largest overseas bases. [12]


Aquino's defence minister, Fidel Ramos, wins presidency. The US closes Subic Bay Naval Station. [1]

After the election of Ramos the Philippine government jumps on the ‘globalization’ bandwagon. Privatization, deregulation and liberalization become the key words in government economic policy. Successive governments are quick to sign any multilateral or bilateral treaties endorsed or demanded by the U.S., often hiding the true content of these documents from the public. The Philippines’ decision to join the World Trade Organization (WTO), for example, proves to be disastrous for local agriculture -- turning a country that used to export food into a net food importer, and causing the loss of a million agriculture-related jobs. [12]


Peace agreement reached with Muslim separatist group, the Moro National Liberation Front. Another group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), carries on its campaign. [1]


Joseph Estrada elected president. [1]


November - Impeachment proceedings start against Estrada on allegations of corruption, betrayal of public trust, and violation of the constitution. [1]


January - Impeachment trial is suspended on the 16th. There are mass street protests. The military withdraws its support. Estrada stands down on the 20th, proclaiming his innocence. His vice-president, Gloria Arroyo, is sworn in as president. [1]

March - The MILF declares a ceasefire and says it is ready to hold talks with the government. [1]

April - Philippines prosecutors charge Estrada with plundering more than 80 million dollars from state funds while he was in office. Estrada is arrested and placed in custody. [1]


January - US says joint exercises with Filipino military signal new phase in war on international terrorism. Exercises take place near stronghold of Abu Sayyaf group which US says has links to Osama Bin Laden. [1]

Even president Arroyo says there is no link between Abu Sayyaf and Osama Bin Laden. But it is used as an excuse for vastly increased military cooperation with the US. Thus the US is able to reestablish a huge military presence in the region denied it by the base closures in 1991-2. [12] [13]

October - Series of deadly bomb blasts - on a Manila bus and at three locations in Zamboanga city - blamed on Islamic militants. [1]


February - Ceasefire between MILF and government breaks down. Planned talks are called off in May after a rebel attack on Mindanao kills 30. [1]

It is alleged that the CIA may be linked to the Davao bombing. [14]

July - Government signs ceasefire with MILF ahead of planned talks in Malaysia. [1]

Army mutiny in Manila; some 300 soldiers seize control of a shopping centre but surrender peacefully following negotiations. President Arroyo declares a state of rebellion. [1]


February - Peace talks between government and communist rebel New People's Army start in Norway. [1]

June - With counting completed, Gloria Arroyo wins May's presidential elections. [1]

July - Philippines withdraws its peacekeeping troops from Iraq, bowing to the demands of the kidnappers of a Filipino lorry driver. The driver is subsequently freed. [1]

November-December - Hundreds of people are killed in floods and mudslides as powerful storms and a typhoon hit the country. [1]