AUSTIN — The Philippines is among the nations in Asia that are struggling with a wave of religious-cultural violence.
The number of religious attacks and kidnappings of Muslims has soared in recent years.
The Philippines, with a Muslim population of about 8 million, has also experienced the biggest rise in attacks on Christians.
But a new religious-culture program, launched in 2017, is hoping to reduce the damage.
It’s called the Philippines Religious and Cultural Needs Program (PHRSP), which is a mix of state-funded religious-education and private religious-community groups.
The program is aimed at helping the Filipino community in areas of conflict, including those that have been at war with each other.
“We have a huge cultural diversity and a lot of cultural richness, so it’s really a challenge for us to help our people with this,” said Dr. Jose Manuel Alvarado, the PHRSP director.
He said the Philippines has a long history of peacebuilding and peacebuilding with the Christian community.
The first program was launched in the 1960s in the southern province of Yogyakarta.
Since then, the Philippine government has provided millions of dollars for education and cultural events in the country.
In 2018, the Philippines launched the PHRFSS, which aims to train the Filipino government, civil society and the private sector in the development of a culturally sensitive national strategy for peace.
The PHRFSP also seeks to educate the public about religion.
According to the PHRI, the program is already operating in about 70 Philippine provinces.
Alvarado said PHRPS is aimed primarily at protecting the rights of the country’s 1.3 million Christians, who are the largest minority in the Philippines.
The group also aims to provide an avenue for Christians to be involved in local government.
The Philippine government, in a statement, said the PHRRSP has a goal to educate Filipino people on Christianity and religion.
“Our goal is to ensure that the Catholic Church remains a safe and dignified institution in the Filipino nation,” it said.
The PHRIS aims to bring together the public, churches, religious organizations, government officials and the Catholic community to create a “new Philippine national spirit,” the statement said.
It also aims for the PHS to develop a new national strategy on peace and security.
It said PHRFPS aims to have “a tangible, tangible impact on the lives of Filipinos.”
The program was officially launched in March, but Alvarados has said he hopes it will be rolled out by next year.
Alvan Esparza, a Filipina political analyst, said there is a lot at stake in the Philippine elections, which are due next year and are expected to be a big battle between the ruling Democratic Party of the Philippines and a new populist coalition led by former President Benigno Aquino III.
“This is a really big election, and it’s a big opportunity for the Duterte administration to demonstrate its commitment to the Philippines, to its Christians, to the Philippine Muslim community,” Esparzasaid.