The Republic of the Philippines, located in the south Pacific, has over 8,000 islands but with only 2,000 inhabited. Three basic island groups are noted: Luzon (northern), Visayas (central), Mindanao (southern area).
Since 1993, EOTEM has trained and graduated over 180 pastors and missionaries from two 4-year resident Open Bible Colleges, along with three satellite Bible schools on the islands of Panay (Visayas central island) and Mindanao (southernmost area).
All EOTEM ministries in the Philippines operate under local Baptist churches pastored by locals: EOTEM Bible school graduates. EOTEM has also started, built, or helped to build local rural church buildings (210 as of 2019) in poor economic and tribal areas. The Philippines has over 60 minority peoples in jungle villages, each with their own language and culture.
In order to foster good relations in villages, EOTEM organizes USA dental and medical clinics for benefit of locals. These clinics are provided free of charge for treatment and medicines.
A good salary (in the cities 2019) is about $350 (USD) a month—but in the rural villages—a person is fortunate to make $30-$50 each month. Manila (Capitol of the PI) has as of 2019 a population of 14 million. 75% of the Manila populati0n makes less than $1,000 (USD) each month.
Major obstacles to effective rural mission work in the Philippines:
Catholicism: Over 88% of the population are professing Roman Catholics. The PI government caters to this large Catholic population. ALL major Roman Catholic religious holidays are official PI holidays. The great majority of elected officials are controlled by the Catholic church heierachy. A common sight is an ornate, richly furnished Roman Catholic cathedral surrounded by filthy, dilapidated, nipa huts built of bamboo and straw.
Healthcare Services: The rampant poverty, corrupt officials, and lack of sanitary conditions such as poor drinking water, proper sewage, adequate medical treatment, etc., all contribute or are part of the present poor state of the economy. The leading causes of morbidity as of 2002 were diarrhea, bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, hypertension, tuberculosis, heart disease, malaria, chicken pox, and measles. Cardiovascular diseases account for more than 25 percent of all deaths.
Inadequate and Corrupt Government: The separation island makeup of the Philippines hinders proper law enforcement. Inter-island travel is by ferry or air; there are no significant bridges. The majority Catholic Church influence for centuries has robbed the islands of its meaningful wealth, leaving the general population’s welfare in shambles.
Religious Superstition: Tribal superstitions fueled by Roman Catholicism rituals, Mariolatry, “Holy” days, feasts, candles, etc., hinder evangelism. Catholicism promotes tribal superstitions by adapting pagan beliefs to their quasi-bible doctrines rather than correcting superstitious beliefs by the Bible. Prime examples of such is a statue of Mary on the Panay island Iloilo City airport entrance and a 10 story commercial building painting in downtown Iloilo city of Mary proclaiming “One day through the rosary and scapular I will save the world.” This image of Mary is repeated hundreds of times throughout the city’s commercial and religious buildings.