Philippines
Republic of the Philippines
September 15-17
Asia


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GEOGRAPHY

Area 300,000 sq.km. 80 provinces; 7,250 islands, of which over 700 are inhabited. The largest are Luzon (116,000 sq.km.) in the north and Mindanao (102,000 sq.km.) in the south. Over 75% mountains; prone to devastating typhoons.

Population Ann.Gr. Density
2000 75,966,500 +2.13% 253 per sq. km.
2010 90,544,498 +1.65% 302 per sq. km.
2025 108,251,048 +1.12% 361 per sq. km.

Capital Manila 13,200,000. Other major cities: Davao 1.15m; Cebu 1.03m. Urbanites 58%.

PEOPLES

Malayo-Indonesian Filipinos 94.2%.

Major peoples Tagalog 22.3 mill.; Cebuano 17.7m; Ilocano 7.1m; Hiligaynon (Visaya) 6.9m), Bicol 4.3m; Waray (Samar/Leyte) 2.9m.

Tribal peoples 2.8%. In the more inaccessible mountain areas of: Luzon (46 peoples) 1.3m; Mindanao(43) 700,000; Mindoro(11) 280,000; Palawan(7) 90,000.

Muslim majority peoples 5%. 13 peoples, the largest (in Mindanao): Maranao 1.1m; Magindanao/Ilanun 1.4m; Subanon/Kalibugan 63,000. On the islands south-west of Mindanao: Tausug 600,000; Sama(3) 300,000; Yakan 82,000; Bajau(2) 77,000.

Mixed race 3.5%. Filipino, Spanish, American, Chinese, many speaking Tagalog.

Chinese 2.1%. Urban, extensive involvement in commerce and industry.

Other 0.2%. US citizens, Vietnamese, Arab, Japanese, Korean, South Asian, etc.

Literacy 95%. Official languages Filipino (based on Tagalog), English. All languages 169. Languages with Scriptures 8Bi 52NT 37por 44w.i.p.

ECONOMY

A mixed agricultural and industrial economy. High population growth, widespread corruption, protectionism, social and political unrest, two guerrilla wars and a series of natural disasters have played havoc with the economy, causing widespread poverty and unemployment. The uncontrolled crime wave and series of kidnappings along with the closing of US military bases in 1992 have cut aid and inhibited foreign investment. The Asian economic crisis of 1997 was a further setback. Between 32% and 50% live below the poverty line. HDI 0.740; 77th/174. Public debt 29% of GNP. Income/person $1,200 (4% of USA).

POLITICS

A Spanish colony from 1565 to 1898; hence the Catholic majority and many Spanish customs. Ruled by the USA until independence in 1946. Martial law imposed in 1971 to combat Communist subversion; the country became virtually a one-party republic. Political manipulation, mismanagement and abuse of civil liberties stimulated antipathy to the Marcos regime and led to its downfall in 1986. Democratic rule since then, but none have adequately addressed the need for land reform, for taming the excesses of the military, for limiting the power of the elite and ending the Muslim secessionist and Marxist guerrilla wars. The Philippines is a member of ASEAN. President Estrada's time in office ended in 2001 due to public indignation at corruption. A new government is now trying to consolidate power, gain democratic credibility and bring in reforms.

RELIGION

Freedom of religion. The Catholic Church wields enormous influence. The Muslim minority in Mindanao seeks to set up an independent Islamic state in the south. Persecution index 51st in the world (in Muslim areas only).

Religions Population % Adherents Ann.Gr.
Christian 93.19 70,793,181 +2.1%
Muslim 5.00 3,798,325 +3.0%
non-Religious/other 1.11 843,228 +2.3%
Traditional ethnic 0.60 455,799 +0.5%
Chinese 0.10 75,967 +2.1%

Christians Denom. Affil.% ,000 Ann.Gr.
Protestant 95 6.79 5,161 +5.6%
Independent 355 15.24 11,580 +9.1%
Anglican 1 0.16 118 +1.5%
Catholic 1 67.13 51,000 +0.4%
Marginal 45 8.71 6,618 +1.8%
Doubly affiliated   -4.88 -3,693 n.a.

Churches MegaBloc Cong. Members Affiliates
Catholic C 2,600 27,567,568 51,000,000
Phil. Indep (Aglipayan) I 10,204 3,571,429 5,500,000
Iglesia ni Cristo M 8,600 1,500,000 4,100,000
Jesus is Lord Church I 3,000 1,200,000 2,000,000
Jesus Miracle Crusade I 2,000 705,882 1,200,000
Seventh-day Adventist P 4,000 830,000 1,160,000
United Ch of Christ P 2,800 280,000 950,000
Assemblies of God P 3,100 122,000 500,000
United Methodist P 1,300 252,747 460,000
Latter-day Saints (Morm) M 1,307 300,699 430,000
Jehovah's Witnesses M 3,486 132,496 407,494
Chr and Miss Alliance P 2,300 140,383 290,000
Conv of Phil Bapt P 710 110,000 220,000
Phil Bapt Conv.(SBC) P 1,784 102,120 200,000
Phil Benevolent Miss M 1,000 100,000 180,000
Evang Methodist P 380 68,000 170,000
United Pentecostal P 2,700 115,000 152,000
Church of God (Clev) P 501 70,000 130,000
Foursquare Gospel P 1,180 56,000 120,000
Episcopal A 570 39,454 118,362
Chr Ch/Ch of Christ P 1,600 75,000 110,000
Good Shepherd I 315 50,000 80,000
Assoc of Fund Baptists P 1,250 49,000 78,000
Alliance of Bible Chr P 450 20,000 50,000
Cons Bap Assoc P 300 25,000 48,000
Baptist Bible Fell. P 1,400 28,000 47,600
Tribal Chs (NTM) P 170 16,000 40,000
Wesleyan P 310 19,000 35,000
Baptist General Conf P 230 15,500 31,000
Other denoms [470]   21,700 2,565,000 4,672,000
Doubly affiliated     -2,500,000 -3,693,000
Total Christians [499]   81,227 37,627,600 70,786,000

Trans-bloc Groupings

pop. %

,000 Ann.Gr.
Evangelical

16.7

12,663 +9.4%
Charismatic

14.1

10,749 +9.7%
  Pentecostal

2.9

2,211 +11.4%

Missionaries from Philippines
P,I,A 2,829 in 122 agencies to 77 countries: Philippines 1,968; Thailand 138.

Missionaries to Philippines
P,I,A 2,734 in 192 agencies from 35 countries: USA 1,574; Korea 516, Canada 152, UK 108, Papua New Guinea 36.



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Answers to Prayer

1 The dramatic growth in the number of evangelical churches. At the time of the launch of the 1974 DAWN vision of 50,000 churches by 2000, there were only 5,000 evangelical churches. By 1998 this had become 30,000, and by 2000 possibly approaching 40,000. Yet the rapid growth of the 1980s was not maintained in the 1990s. Evangelicals among Protestants and Independents have increased to about 10% of the population.

2 The effective expansion of nearly all evangelical denominations – most marked among the Full Gospel groups and indigenous Pentecostal denominations.

3 Increased spiritual unity. The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) has established warm fellowship and cooperated in developing common goals for ministry – a change from a decade ago. Many local and regional Ministerial Fellowships have been established – enhancing the rate of church growth, but this needs to be extended to all areas. Pray that this unity continues and is strengthened, and that it extends to mainline Protestant denominations.

4 Over 300,000 Filipino intercessors have been raised up through Intercessors for the Philippines. Each have committed themselves to pray one hour a day for the nation. Stand with these intercessors, asking God to sustain them and to give much fruit.

Challenges for Prayer

1 The great potential of the Philippines has not yet been realized despite being rich in natural resources and having a well-educated population. Failures by successive governments to deal with the serious economic and social issues (see above) have held back development, and kept half the population in poverty. Pray specifically for:

a) A government that actively pursues justice and righteousness. There are key Christians in major posts of leadership – may they decisively influence the nation for good. Pray for the Fellowship of Christians in Government which exists to fight corruption and promote biblical standards.

b) A change in the political culture that deals with the endemic greed and corruption, ends cronyism, and also initiates long-delayed land reform (70% of farmers are landless) and improves the health and prospects of the poor by investment in the basic infrastructure of the country.

c) Peace in Mindanao between the marginalized, resentful Muslim population and the government and local 'Christian' majority. Extreme Islamist factions are unwilling to compromise and claim four provinces, two with Muslim minorities, for an Islamic state. Pray for a fair, workable solution that will end the cycle of violence, kidnappings and suffering. Pray also that the centuries of perceived 'Christian' oppression may end with a freedom and respect for the gospel.

2 The Roman Catholic Church has changed much as the Philippines becomes more multi-denominational. There are very large charismatic movements within the Church – El Shaddai embracing anything from 4 to 8 million people and Couples for Christ with groups in almost every parish. Yet critical issues remain:

a) Coming to terms with the loss of its privileged monopoly status of a century ago. Some seek to preserve the unsatisfactory inequalities of society, some show hostility to Evangelicals because of their success. Pray for new life to course through the Church, its leadership, institutions and parishes. Over 2,000 Filipino Catholic missionaries serve in other lands.

b) Large numbers of Catholics are more influenced by animism and witchcraft than by Christianity. They need exposure to the biblical gospel.

c) The charismatic networks have large numbers but many are more influenced by superstitions than by the Scriptures, and salvation by works rather than by grace. Yet among them are an increasing number of committed evangelical believers.

3 Filipino Evangelicals have multiplied – but so too have the challenges. Pray for the spiritual health of the Church and a facing up to dangers:

a) Rapid growth with inadequate discipling. Damaging splits in denominations, erroneous teachings, syncretistic worldview and superficiality are the result.

b) Complacency and second-generation nominalism. The successes of the 1980s were not fully repeated in the 1990s. The hype about growth should be counterbalanced by recognizing spiritual shallowness at the grass roots. Pray for new vision, new direction from God for setting biblical priorities and goals, and renewed momentum for growth in the new millennium.

c) Poverty in many congregations. The availability of foreign funds and an expectation that foreigners take charge can lead to passivism and a dependence on man rather than on God. Pray that these believers may be spiritually enriched by a greater dependence on God. Pray for a spirit of generosity for those whose economic situation has improved. Pray also for a loving sensitivity to this on the part of foreign workers and donors who seek to help them.

4 The training and discipling of new leaders is a priority. Praise God for many Filipino leaders with national and international influence. Yet even the 100+ seminaries and Bible colleges and numerous TEE courses have not kept pace with the need. Frequent denominational splits and the proliferation of new groups – often led by those with minimal training and little accountability – have led to doctrinal distortions and moral failures. Many do not see formal training as an asset. Many of those who graduate are reluctant to serve in rural areas where the need and poverty is greater. Hundreds of rural congregations languish without adequate leadership. Many of the better qualified emigrate to the USA. Pray for such institutions as the Alliance Bible Seminary (CMA), Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary (IMB-SBC), ATS, FEBIAS (SEND), APTS in Baguio (AoG), ISOT Asia (CCCI). Pray that God may continue to raise up godly, committed leaders.

5 The Filipino Church is becoming a significant missionary-sending Church. With over 35,000 evangelical churches and with the Filipino cultural flexibility, use of English and simple life-style, the potential is great. The DAWN goal in 1978 for 2,000 missionaries by 2000 has been exceeded. Of the estimated 2,700 cross-cultural missionaries nearly 900 are serving in other countries. Pray for:

a) Growth of this vision, that it be embraced by local churches – with all the supportive implications.

b) Major Filipino agencies: CMA (309 workers), Free Believers in Christ (197), Philippines Missionary Fellowship (160), Tribes and Nations Outreach (108), RCMH (103), Hosanna (78), Christ to the Orient (76), AoG (70), Asian Center for Mission (65), FIFCOP (49), Church of God (42), Philippine Frontline Ministries (38), Victory World Mission (31), Church of the Foursquare Gospel (24). There are also significant numbers of Filipinos serving with international missions: CCCI (149), SdA (117), YWAM (51), OM (48), AsEF (24), CBI (23), IT (23), OMF (17).

c) The Philippine Missions Association. The PMA is a coordinating body for most of the 118 mission agencies based in the country. Pray for effective national and international networking to maximize the impact of the Filipino missions trust.

d) The PMA goal – an additional 5,000 missionaries by 2020.

e) Missionary training. Praise God for such as Asian Center for Missions (ACTM), Great Commission Missionary Training Center, School of Frontier Missions and Cross-Train, where many Filipinos are prepared for missionary service. The ACTM has trained over 300 in 9 centres and is expanding this training to other Asian countries. Pray for the further development of such programmes.

6 Expatriate missionaries are decreasing in numbers (except for the Koreans) as the Philippines Church matures. Praise God for all achieved! Much remains to be done and outside assistance is welcome. Pray for wisdom for expatriates in finding the most appropriate roles for this time, and for discerning input from Filipino leadership regarding this. Pray for harmonious working relationships. The largest mission agencies: WBT (284), NTM (218), CCCI (197), IMB-SBC (144), OMF (137), Action International Ministries (96), AoG (95), YWAM (75), CC/CC (75), CMA (72), CBI (69), SEND (59), BBF (47), FEBC (42), Christian Brethren (41), CoN (36), EFC (36), Christar (32), OCI (28).

7 Metro Manila is a mega-city of enormous challenge, but also where God is working. Much prayer since 1985 has brought about positive change. Over 15% of the population is linked to an evangelical church but a big proportion comes from outside Metro Manila. Pray specifically for:

a) The poor. Over 5,000 migrate to Manila daily. Most start life in the city in one of the 1,000 or more squalid slums – some built on the city's rubbish dumps. These newcomers are more receptive for the gospel, yet most of the churches are in more affluent areas.

b) Those who minister to the poor. Many cooperative efforts linking national and international agencies and churches have sprung up, such as the National Coalition for Urban Transformation (NCUT) which links denominations to facilitate urban improvement. The Alliance of Christian Transformational Agencies and Mission Ministries Philippines are inter-agency networks aiming at innovative ministries for the poor. Special mention must be made of the ministries of Action International Ministries, Servants to Asia's Urban Poor and IT. Pray for discernment for effective ministry, eternal fruit and viable churches that impact the city to result.

8 Special ministry challenges:

a) Students. Over 2 million are studying in 1,360 tertiary colleges and universities. Many agencies are involved – CCCI with vision for Christian movements in 118 key campuses nation-wide, IVCF(IFES) with 35 staff in ministry on 81 campuses, Navigators, AoG and others. Pray for effective Evangelical cooperation, multiplication of conversions and the development of a nation-wide student missions movement.

b) Children – over a third of the population is under 15. CEF has 70 workers with ministry in 25 areas for school children. IVCF(IFES) has ministry in 52 high schools. However, 30% of school age children are unable to attend school, the majority of them working. There are at least 40 Christian groups ministering to them, but the needs are great.

c) Sex 'trade' workers. Over 60,000 children and 500,000 women are involved. Many more are victims of trafficking to other countries. Pray for all involved (YWAM and others) in rescuing, rehabilitating and discipling these tragic victims of sin.

9 The major export of the Philippines is people. Filipinos are rich in skills but work opportunities are few. There are estimated to be over 6.5 million in Asian, Middle Eastern and Western countries as nurses, engineers, seamen, domestic servants, nannies and menial workers. Many have gone to difficult and 'closed' countries to be witnesses for Christ, and some have suffered much for the gospel. Pray for all Christians that they may shine for Him. Pray for the unconverted that they may hear the gospel – especially pray for the 244,000 Filipino seamen scattered around the world (the largest number for any nation).

10 Less-reached peoples and areas. Great progress has been made in reaching out to isolated tribal peoples all over the islands. By 1995 the Unreached People Task Force of the PMA identified 13 remaining unreached peoples; 12 are Muslim. There are also a number of unreached animistic peoples which perhaps should have been included but were not researched at that time. Pray for the Church to be stirred up in loving concern for Muslims and led in wise ways of reaching them.

a) Mindanao now has a high proportion of Evangelicals but growth has slowed recently and revival is needed. The major challenge is that of Islam. The ongoing war and deep resentment of the Magindanao and Maranao are major obstacles to witness. Yet Christian concern for them has increased. In 1987 there were just a few foreign missionaries. Now there are over 200, mainly Filipinos, seeking to minister to them – sometimes at risk of their lives. There is a steady trickle of conversions and a few churches planted. Pray for these believers who face great pressures. OMF, SEND, TEAM, SIM and others have ministry to them.

b) The Sulu Islands between Mindanao and Borneo are the home of the Muslim Tausug, Samal, and Yakan peoples. Among the Sama Bajau Sea Gypsies there has been a significant breakthrough with numbers coming to Christ in Davao City, Batangan and Metro Manila.

c) Palawan. A long, isolated island that is rapidly developing with many new Tagalog and Muslim immigrants. Among the indigenous Palawan (3 distinct peoples, each of 10,000 and a further 2,000 Muslims), Tagbanwa (40,000) and plains Cuyunon there has been response through the ministry of NTM. Much Bible translation work has been done and churches planted. The remaining challenges are to see spiritual fruit among the superficially Muslim Molbog (5,000) on Balabac and surrounding islands and Jama Mapun (15,000) on Cagayan Island.

d) Luzon. Praise God for church growth in the north-central mountainous area, where many of its peoples, the Ifugao, Bontok, Kankanay, Kalinga and Isnag have been turning from animism to Christ. Mountain Province is 16.5% Evangelical, Ifugao 24%, Benguet 29%, but the Bicol region remains the neediest – Albay Province 1.7% Evangelical, Camarines Norte 1%, Catanduanes 0.7%. Many small, semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer Dumagat Negrito peoples live on the typhoon-lashed, rugged north and north-east coastal mountains of Luzon. Few have become Christian, and the task of church planting is complex. NTM has made a large investment of personnel among these peoples.

e) Visayas – the most needy region of the country. The islands of Samar, Cebu and Leyte are all only about 2% Evangelical – far below the national average of 8%. Response is now good but poverty, despair and a spirit of defeat are widespread. Pray for more church planters and vigorous church growth. The original DAWN vision of 1974 was a church for each of the 42,000 barangays (neighbourhoods). There are still 26,000 without a church. Pray that this vision might be realized.

11 Ethnic minorities:

a) The Chinese number 850,000. Most are wealthy and have been targets of much crime and kidnapping. Many are Catholic but only 3% are evangelical Christians. There are 78 predominantly Chinese evangelical congregations with 18,000 members. Their goals: 500 full-time workers, 30,000 worshipers. Pray that many more may find their true security in Jesus.

b) Panjabis – many are Sikh (30,000), others are Muslim and Hindu. Pray for spiritual breakthroughs among them and that the few believers may multiply. Pray for the few Christian workers among them. (IMI).

c) Sri Lankans – the Tamil and Sinhala number 12,000. There are 10 known believers among them.

12 Christian support ministries for prayer:

a) The Philippine Bible Society. The PBS(UBS) is extensively involved in translation, production, distribution and promotion of the Bible. A 'centennial of biblical Christianity' edition of the Bible (200,000 copies) was distributed at low cost in Tagalog, Cebuano and English. Pray for the Bible to make deep and lasting impact on lives.

b) Bible translation has been, and continues as, a major ministry involvement of a number of agencies – of special mention is SIL and its daughter indigenous offshoot, The Translators Association of the Philippines. By 2000 there were 60 NTs or Bibles completed with work in progress in 44 languages. Out of 51 languages without the Scriptures, 3 have a definite need for translation teams.

c) Literature is extensively used by Christians. There are over 44 denominational and non-denominational literature agencies for printing, publishing and distribution. Pray for the work started by OMF (publishing house and network of bookstores), CMA, CLC and others. There are more than 100 Christian bookstores in the country. The use of Bible comic books is proving effective in reaching youth.

d) The ministries of EHC and the Bible League have had significant impact. EHC is in the midst of its third nation-wide coverage with evangelistic literature. The Bible League's follow-up Bible Correspondence Courses (1,000 a day completed) and provision of Bibles for discipling have all led to many conversions and hundreds of new churches.

e) Christian television. Extensive use of radio and TV is made by Christians. Few countries are better served. A Christian TV Channel, ZoŽ Broadcasting, is now operating.

f) Christian radio. FEBC Philippines has 20 stations from which over 2,000 hours of programmes a week are broadcast in 40 languages in other lands and 14 Philippines languages. Pray for:

i) The 200 (mainly Filipino) staff, that they may know the blessing of the Lord in ministries that are often behind the scenes.

ii) The programming studios and programme producers, smooth running of broadcasting equipment, printing presses, and follow-up ministries.

iii) The spiritual impact on Filipino audiences. Many local stations are used for smaller language groups.

iv) The fruitfulness of international ministries to Asian countries and regions more difficult to access – especially China, Siberia, Indo-China and Myanmar.

g) The JESUS film has had an immense impact, 75% of the population having seen it. Of the 79 targeted languages, 25 are completed and 41 in production. Pray for long-term fruit with churches gathered and growing through its use.

h) GRN have prepared messages in 132 of the languages of the nation.

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