Philippines - People smiling - Photo: VOMC


The Philippines is Asia’s most Christianized country, yet it faces threats from Marxist insurgents and Muslim separatists. Though the Filipino people predominantly profess Christianity, Christians living in areas with significant influence from Muslim and Marxist guerrilla organizations have faced threats, kidnapping and death.

Militant Muslim groups in the southern part of the country are intent on forming an Islamic state, and persecution of Christians is increasingly common. In January 2008, a Catholic missionary was murdered by a suspected al-Qaida related group of Islamic militants. In April 2008, assailants stormed into the home of Pastor Vic Vicera in Mindanao and opened fire on him, his wife and another pastor. Pastor Vicera was killed. Local Christians suspected the attackers to be Muslim militants, as some of the Muslims Pastor Vicera lived and worked among had reportedly tried to convince him to convert to Islam.

Marxist insurgents have also been responsible for the persecution of Christians. In May 2008, Communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels in the Philippines kidnapped a Christian pastor whom they accused of aiding soldiers in an anti-insurgency campaign in Mindanao. Months later, his body was found, and there was evidence that he had been subjected to torture during his captivity. On July 29, 2008, armed militants stopped a mini-bus in Mindanao and murdered four Christian male passengers. On Christmas Day 2010, a bomb exploded in the Chapel of the Sacred Heart in Mindanao during Mass, wounding 11 people. Authorities suspect it is the work of the Islamist group Abu Sayyaf.

The government has yet to adequately address the need for implementing land reform, for taming military excesses, for limiting the elite’s power and for ending the Muslim secessionist and Marxist guerrilla wars.

Country Information

110,818,325 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Tagalog (24.4), Bisaya/Binisaya (11.4), Cebuano (9.9), Ilocano (8.8), Hiligaynon/Ilonggo (8.4), Bikol/Bicol (6.8), Waray (4), other (26.2)

Religion (%)
Christianity (85.6), Islam (6), Other (7.4)

President Rodrigo Duterte (2016)

Government type
Presidential republic

Legal system
Mixed legal system of civil, common, Islamic, and customary law

Statistics provided by CIA World Factbook.

Pray for the Philippines

Pray for those in the various villages of Mindanao who have been victimized by rebel groups. May they not pursue any form of retaliation, acknowledging that vengeance belongs to God alone – the Righteous Judge. Instead, may these believers be granted His grace and strength to not only forgive the perpetrators but to also earnestly intercede for them. Let's join our Christian brothers and sisters by praying for a mighty outpouring of God's love and power to take place, compelling many more to seek repentance and salvation, for only then can His righteousness and justice truly prevail.


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Philippines News

  • Bomb Blasts Kill At Least Twenty
    Damage inside the Jolo Cathedral

    Coordinated bombs at a cathedral in Jolo, southern Philippines, killed at least 20 people and injured over 80 on January 27th. The first bomb went off during the church service; the second exploded outside the door, as people fled and troops responded to the disaster. Those killed included five soldi

  • Hostages Escape Militant Captivity

    A beach in the Philippines

    After a full three months of fighting, the Armed Forces of the Philippines are now in control of all but a half-kilometre grid square of Marawi city. To date, the battle has claimed the lives of 573 militants, 128 soldiers and police, and at least 45 civilians. The progress has been slowed and compli

  • Young Girl's Unwavering Faith

    A group of Filipino girls
    Photo: Open Doors USA

    In the Philippines, one girl has stood firm for her Christian faith despite her young age. Not too long after accepting Christ, Jen-Jen began to experience pressure from adult authority figures, one of whom was a schoolteacher with militant views. One day, the teacher announced

  • Persecution Incidents on the Rise

    Philippines map and flagNine Christian civilians were reportedly shot dead at a militant-run checkpoint in the besieged city of Marawi in the southern Philippines on May 23rd. Sources report that local residents identified the nine who were slain as Christians, explaining that the victims had been pulled from a truck and t