BOOKS for the BARRIOS Joins Forces with the Philippine Military – Fighting Poverty and Promoting Peace through Education

BOOKS for the BARRIOS is an international non-government organization that specializes in conflict area rehabilitation. Its education development program, instituted nation-wide by the Philippine Department of Education, has executed civil-military humanitarian operations in the Philippines for 30 years. BOOKS for the BARRIOS has recently established a comprehensive humanitarian aid partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines Civil Relations Service Command (AFP-CRS), under the auspices of the Office of the President.

The program seeks to advance soft operation poverty fighting through education, by means of direct logistic assistance, as a primary, formal military strategy to promote peace in the most critical areas of the Mindanao Region. The pact establishes a seamless pipeline for the transfer of thousands of tons of high-quality education resources sourced by BOOKS for the BARRIOS from America, through the AFP-CRS, to deprived, depressed, underserved public schools throughout the Philippines.

When American Special Forces operators began to deploy to the theater in 2006, BOOKS for the BARRIOS, having conducted extensive educational aid programs continuously in the area for decades, immediately inaugurated a wide-ranging close combat support liaison with our soldiers downrange. Over the ensuing nine years, 200 tons of school supplies have been delivered directly to Philippine and American military units who have completed aggressive civic development projects in the villages they protect.

With BOOKS for the BARRIOS logistic and training support, troops have rebuilt schools destroyed by insurgents, formed soccer leagues, hosted local teacher training seminars, acted as emergency tutors, and created precious school libraries wherever communities suffer. These successful peace promoting missions have encouraged sustained local political support for public education while earning the trust and appreciation of the people.

Working to identify deployed military units with the provision of quality education opportunity for the children they serve advances their mission by promoting autonomous development and stimulating local democracy. Philippine combat commanders report that the children of the rebels now carry books instead of their father’s rifle; recipient mothers explain that poverty is no hindrance once their children get the books; and the population reports IED activity. Everyone contributes their share, everyone shares the peace.