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EiE Crisis Spotlight: Philippines

Location of Crisis


Timing of Crisis

An ongoing conflict and a series of natural disasters have caused problems throughout the Philippines, particularly in the central and southern parts of the country.

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) formed in the 1970s, and their conflict with the government has been largely ongoing. 

On 15 October 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol Island.

On 8 November 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) made landfall in the Philippines.  At the time, it was the strongest recorded typhoon or hurricane on record worldwide. 

The Philippines is very prone to both earthquakes and tropical storms, including typhoons (hurricanes). 

Affected Populations

Fighting between the MNLF and government forces in late 2013 in Zamboanga City on Mindanao left 200 people dead.  By early 2014, about 59,000 people from Zamboanga City were displaced, living in 10 evacuation centers.  The fighting has affected 128,000 people in both Mindanao and on the nearby island of Basilian. 

The October 2013 earthquake in Bohol resulted in the deaths of 195 people and about 651 injuries.  It also caused the displacement of 344,300 people and major damage or destruction to 53,300 houses. 

Typhoon Haiyan passed through about 41 provinces, an area of about 11.2 million people.  It resulted in at least 6,000 confirmed dead, 4.1 million displaced, and 14 million affected.  Five million children have been affected.

Brief Description of the Situation

ICRC 2013 ©
People seek refugee from the fighting in Zamboanga.
The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) formed in the 1970s with the intent of forming a separate Muslim state in the southern islands of Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago.  This followed many years of fighting between Christians and Muslims and the Philippine government’s encouragement of Christians to move into the majority Muslim and largely poor south of the country.  This rebel group over time has numbered in the tens of thousands and managed to take control of large parts of Mindanao and Sulu.  The organization has fractured into smaller factions.  In 1996, the original founder Nur Misuari, the acknowledged leader of all of the factions, signed a peace deal with the government that including some autonomy instead of independence.  However, violence continued.  In September 2013, in response to more peace talks, the MNLF under Misuari attacked the busy port city of Zamboanga City on Mindanao, instigating a new round of conflict between the MNLF and the government.  The conflict has been overshadowed by recent large-scale natural disasters, such as Typhoon Haiyan, and thus is often considered a “forgotten conflict.”  In late January 2014, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a splinter group of the MNLF, signed a peace deal that would great a Muslim autonomous zone on Mindanao, but the deal left out several other violent groups in the region.  Violence in Mindanao resumed a couple of days after the peace agreement was signed  

On 15 October 2013, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol Island in central Philippines.

Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines on 8 November 2013.  With winds of up to 315km/h or 195mph, it was one of the largest storms ever recorded.  It first made landfall in Eastern Samar Province, and it hit the islands of Samar, Leyte, and Boracay, all south of Manila, particularly hard.  Tacloban City, the largest city on Leyte, was hard-hit. 

Impact on Education

UNICEF 2013 ©
Destruction after Typhoon Haiyan
Schools have frequently been indirectly and directly damaged or destroyed in conflict between government forces and insurgents.  The Philippine army has been known to use schools for military purposes, despite legislation prohibiting such actions from the Philippine Parliament.  Insurgent groups have on occasion directly attacked schools, including through bombing.  Additionally, children have been both indirect and direct targets of violence by insurgent groups.

Haiyan caused a huge amount of damage and destruction to thousands of schools, including to latrines and water supplies.  Damage to other infrastructure, including roads and telecommunications, may be a further constraint on education.  Additionally, children may suffer from trauma and will be in need of psychosocial support. 

Education Actors Responding to the Crisis

  • ChildFund
  • DFID
  • Global Education Cluster
  • Handicap International
  • Plan International
  • Save the Children
  • United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • World Vision

Needs and Challenges

UNICEF 2013 ©
A tent school set up after Haiyan.
Particularly in response to Typhoon Haiyan, UNICEF has identified the following educational needs:

  • Learning materials and supplies for about 675,900 children ages 3 to 17.
  • Temporary learning spaces for 300,000 children.
  • Training on emergency topics for 10,000 educational provides.

The Education Cluster, in response to Haiyan, identifies the following needs:

  • “Debris clearing in schools is required to allow the establishment of temporary learning spaces
  • Repair or reconstruct damaged or destroyed schools
  • Support the Government in tracking the affected children and education service providers
  • Support the Government in restoring and improving the learning environment for affected children. Safe and secure temporary learning spaces will be established where psycho-social support and thematic learning sessions will be conducted by trained teachers and/or volunteer educators prior to the resumption of regular school activities
  • Replace damaged or missing school supplies as well as teaching and learning materials
  • Strengthen the local school community disaster risk reduction and management system
  • Provide technical and coordination support  to ensure enhanced regional and/or local capacity in managing disasters”

Tools and Resources

The following key INEE resource in English can be used to support EiE efforts in the Philippines.

  • INEE Minimum Standards Handbook (English 2010 edition)
  • Guidance Note on Conflict Sensitive Education (English)
  • Guidance Notes on Teaching and Learning (English)
  • Guidance Notes on Teacher Compensation (English)
  • Guidance Notes on Safer School Construction (English)
  • Pocket Guide to Gender (English)
  • Pocket Guide to Inclusive Education (English)
  • Pocket Guide to Supporting Learners with Disabilities (English)
  • Guidance on HIV in Education in Emergencies (English)
  • Reference Guide on External Education Financing (English)
  • To access other EiE tools and resources in over 20 languages, please visit the INEE Toolkit.

Key Information Sources

Key websites:

Articles and Reports:

Key Words

Conflict, Typhoon, 


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