The Philippines

Country Profile:

The Philippines


Primary Image
Photo Caption:

The participants of the Peace Education Workshop for Philippine Colleges of Education held in 2019. This annual workshop has been organized by the Center for Peace Education of Miriam College since 2010, as an important approach in promoting the knowledge base, skills and value orientations of peace education through the teacher educators.

“Major Branches” of Peace Education Observed in The Philippines

(click for details/explanation)

  • Conflict Resolution Education
  • Democracy Education
  • Disarmament Education
  • Gender
  • Human Rights Education
  • Interfaith Peacebuilding
  • Nonviolence

Significant Approaches and Themes of Peace Education in The Philippines

(click for details/explanation)

  • Conflict Prevention
  • Conflict Resolution Education (CRE)
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Democracy Education
  • Disarmament Education
  • Human Rights Education
  • Interfaith Peacebuilding

Historical Context

The Philippines comprises over 7,600 islands located in the western Pacific Ocean, divided into three geographical sections (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). The population of the Philippines is documented to be 104.9 million as of 2017. King Philip II of Spain is the eponym of the Philippines, as the Spanish occupation of the Philippines lasted from 1521 to 1898. This occupation led to the heavy influence of Christianity in the country. The Philippines is still a predominantly Catholic society- with 80% of the population identifying as Roman Catholic, 11% as other Christian denominations, and about 5.6% of citizens (mainly within the southwest Mindanao region) identifying as Muslim. It has been acknowledged that the armed conflict between the government forces and the Moro rebel groups was caused by historical injustices committed against the latter’s communities. These injustices were mainly political and economic in nature although exacerbated by religious differences.

The Philippines has a history marked with political revolt, first against Spain and briefly against the United States of America (USA) after the country was ceded by Spain to the USA in 1898. During the Second World War the Philippines was occupied by Japan and a guerrilla movement also arose. From 1945 to 1972 there was a two party system and government structure that was patterned after the USA until President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in September 1972. This martial law regime was characterized by human rights abuses, repression of democratic freedoms and corruption. However, on February 22-25, 1986 the country’s nonviolent resistance in opposition to the repressive government culminated in a People Power Revolt. The revolt successfully removed Marcos as president and led him and his family to exile in Hawaii. The latter part of the 1980’s ushered in spaces for peacebuilding and the restoration of democratic institutions (Facts and Details, 2019).

Current Issues/Conflicts

Although there is certainly an ample amount of peace and justice advocacy within the Philippines, the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte (2016- present) has presented many challenges. The current administration supports the return of the death penalty and has a policy called the “war on drugs” (reportedly causing thousands of extra judicial killings in the hands of the police). The political opposition and critical journalists have also expressed their distress over efforts to silence them (Human Rights Watch, 2019).

There is a rise in so-called violent extremism (VE) particularly in certain conflict-affected areas in Mindanao. It is said that this rise is mainly but not only motivated by an extremist ideology but also propelled by frustration due to neglect and lack of development. Hence, one of the suggestions that has been put forward is to tailor “responses that address local grievances.” It is still considered the best way to limit the influence of VE recruiters (Shea, 2019).

Although a peace agreement and a Bangsamoro Organic Law has been passed, effectively ending the violent conflict between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, there is still a longstanding armed conflict between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

The Philippines has the rank of 134 out of 163 ranked countries, according to the 2019 Global Peace Index. It is considered the “Least Peaceful in Southeast Asia” (Villaruel, 2019). In the 2021 Global Peace Index, the Philippines’ rank moved up to 127 (Vision of Humanity).

Additional Resources for More Context

Peace Education Efforts

Advocates for peace in the Philippines have made many strides in the implementation of peace education throughout the country. Many institutes and groups have engaged in these efforts, as there has been cooperation between faith centers, civil society networks and government groups to create a more peaceful and inclusive society. Peace centers in schools and communities as well as peace education efforts were initiated beginning the 1980s and in 1999 a Peace Education Network was established.

Furthermore there is a government office that cooperates with civil society; it is called OPAPP or the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.  There are also policy frameworks such as Executive Order 570 of 2006 aimed at promoting peace education in the basic education level and in teacher education. Other policy initiatives are mentioned in the next section. Peace education efforts in the Philippines try to address the various forms of violence in the country: direct/physical, structural, socio-cultural, and ecological

Three Decades of Peace Education in the Philippines, a book available on the webpage of the Miriam College Center for Peace Education provides more details.

Legislative & Policy Initiatives

In 1993, the Executive Order No. 125  established the  Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). This order was amended in 2001, entitled Executive Order No. 3, and contains six paths to peace in the Philippines- with the sixth path pertaining to peace advocacy and peace education programs.

In 2005, the Department of Education issued an Order No. 44 entitled “Declaration of Schools as Zones of Peace” and then followed in 2017 with a Memorandum No. 109 reiterating the earlier order. The thrust of these DepEd issuances is the protection of the children in situations of armed conflict. DM 109, s. 2017 – Public Manifestation of DepEd’s Declaration of Schools as Zones of Peace, As a Reiteration of DepEd Order No. 44, s. 2005 | Department of Education

The Executive Order No. 570 (2006) was signed by then Philippine President Gloria Arroyo with this intent: “Institutionalization of Peace Education in Basic Education and Teacher Education in the Philippines”.

At the beginning of 2019, two significant events happened. The first is the approval of the law called “Bangsamoro Organic Law” (BOL) which stipulates that peace education shall be integrated in all levels of education in the Bangsamoro territory. The BOL, officially entitled Republic Act No. 11054,  is the law that completed the peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation front. The second is the issuance of a memorandum from the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) that enjoins higher education institutions to offer Peace Studies/ Peace Education either as an elective or integrated in relevant higher education subjects.


(click for details)

  • Direct

Teacher Training

(click for details)

  • Mandated

SDG Indicator 4.7.1 Data / Analysis

(click for details)

No indicators currently reported. See Republic of the Philippines’ current reporting on SDG 4 here.

Peace Education Organizations, Models & Projects in The Philippines

News on Peace Education in The Philippines

Access the comprehensive archive of news articles related to the Philippines on the Global Campaign for Peace Education website
For a more customizable search, please visit the Global Campaign for Peace Education Clearinghouse

Research on Peace Education in The Philippines

Access the comprehensive archive of research articles related to the Philippines on the Global Campaign for Peace Education website
For a more customizable search, please visit the Global Campaign for Peace Education Clearinghouse

Where to Study Peace Education in The Philippines

Visit the Global Campaign for Peace Education Global Directory for where to study peace education in the Philippines and around the world

Last Updated

This country profile was last updates on: June 11, 2024

Cite this Article

Navarro-Castro, L. (2021*). Philippines.  In Jenkins, T., & Segal de la Garza, M. (Eds.), Mapping Peace Education. (*Year should match “last updated” date above) 

Country Expert #1

Loreta Castro

Loreta Navarro-Castro is the founding director of the Center for Peace Education of Miriam College, Philippines. She also teaches in the International Studies and Education departments of the College. She initiated a local Peace Education Network and is involved in the work of the Global Campaign for Peace Education, the GPPAC Peace Education Working Group, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons and the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative of Pax Christi International.

Scroll to Top