Philippines - Religions
Most of the population (about 85%) belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Other Christian churches represent about 9%. Among Christian and Protestant groups, there are numerous denominations. In addition, there are three churches established by Filipino religious leaders, the Independent Church of the Philippines or Aglipayan, and the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), and the Ang Dating Daan (an offshoot of the Church of Christ). Muslims (representing about 5%), commonly called Moros by non-Muslims, are concentrated in Mindanao and the Sulus. Most Muslims are Sunni. Buddhists, Baha'is, Chinese folk religionists, and tribal religionists, mainly in the more inaccessible mountainous areas of Luzon and Mindanao, constitute the remaining 3%. There are also small communities of Hindus and Jews. It is believed that a majority of the indigenous population includes elements of native religions within their practice of other faiths.
Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution. In an effort to reduce tensions between Christians and Muslims in the southern islands and to answer Muslim autonomist demands, the government established an Office of Muslim Affairs in 1981 and allocated funds for Islamic legal training and for Muslim schools and cultural centers. Part of its role as of 1999 involved coordinating the travel of pilgrims to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and coordinating diplomatic ties with countries that have contributed to Mindanao's economic development and to the "peace process" with insurgent groups.