In 1917, there were troops organized by American Army and Navy families in various parts of the Philippines. These were registered directly with the Girl Scouts of America. The organization of these troops led to more lone troops such as the Rose Troop in Davao in 1918, in Capiz in 1926, and the Mt. Province in 1928. Several of these troops were organized by missionaries.
The Movement was formally founded by Josefa Llanes Escoda, wartime heroine, through the initiative of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines who sent her to the United States of America in 1939 to take up Girl Scouting courses. She also observed Guiding in Europe and visited the World Bureau in England.
On May 26, 1940, the GSP was chartered under Commonwealth Act No. 542 during the administration of President Manuel L. Quezon.
The GSP was not even two years old when World War II broke out. It had to stop its formal operations, but vowed to continue its service to a nation in travail.
Helena Z Benitez, Chairman of the first GSP Central Committee, recalled the war years: “As Chairman of the emergency Volunteers Social Aid Committee (VSAC), together with some GSP Central Committee members, the Chaplains/Aides and Junior League Presidents, we worked closely with Tony and Josefa in the grim and critical mission of bringing succor and relief to Death March prisoners in San Fernando and Capas. This brief episode in the life of the GSP Founder must not be overlooked nor left untold”. The wartime services rendered by women leaders and volunteers under Mrs. Escoda included the following: conveying the messages of families to the war prisoners; compilation of names and addresses of Filipino prisoners-of-war who were confined at Camp O’Donnel in Capas, Tarlac; collection of foodstuffs, medicines, used clothing, old leather shoes and even coconut shells for plates; housing and feeding the stranded students in Manila, and later, when the situation got worse in the city, Josefa and her formidable teams of volunteers came up with community kitchens in different districts, serving rice and mongo and other cooked foods to the poor, hungry and jobless residents of Manila.
Eventually, the heroic underground work of Mrs. Escoda angered the Japanese Kempetai Military Police. She was arrested together with her husband and both of them were thrown into the dreaded dungeons of Fort Santiago, the infamous prison during the Japanese occupation.
In 1946 the GSP was admitted as a tenderfoot member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). It was given the status of full membership in 1948.
The GSP has the distinction and privilege of hosting various international gatherings among which were the Regional Centenary World Camp in 1957, the Asian Trainers Conference in 1961, the International Heritage Camp in 1966, the WAGGGS–sponsored Public Relations – Finance Seminar in 1971 which was participated in by 13 nations, and the 31st World Conference of WAGGGS in 2002. In turn, the GSP has also been represented at all World Conferences of the World Association, various world training conferences, international camps and girl-level gatherings, among others.
In 1965, to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Movement in the country, special events and service projects were calendared year round. The World Chief Guide, Lady Olave Baden Powell, took the salute of more than five thousand Girl Scouts at the “Pasasalamat” held at the Luneta Park, a fitting close to the year-long celebration. The GSP was presented the Walter Donald Ross Trophy Award in 1965 for the outstanding service project rendered to the children of evacuees who were victims of the eruption of Taal Volcano.
After several years of study, evaluation and research, the program of the Girl Scouts of the Philippines was revised in 1968. The revision was approved at the 11th National Convention. Full implementation of the revised program ensued. It was called the Nine Program Emphases (9E).
On June 2, 1975, Presidential Decree 720 was signed, authorizing the restructuring of the GSP. On March 17, 1976, the new GSP Constitution and By-Laws were ratified and confirmed.
In 1990, GSP celebrated its 50th year. Girl Scouts all over the country centered their activities, services, and projects on the Golden Opportunities along six concerns, namely: Environment, Economic Self-Sufficiency, Family Life, Our Heritage, Preparedness and International Understanding.
In the same year, Mrs. Teresita Bermudez Choa was elected member of the WAGGGS World Committee – a “first” for a Filipino. Another “first” in July 1993 was the appointment of Dr. Amelita Dayrit-Go as Chairman of the Asia Pacific Committee of the WAGGGS.
In 1990, a Task Force, composed of experienced Girl Scouts, trainers, leaders, professional staff and consultants started to work on a new program called the 8-POINT CHALLENGE (8-PC) which will help the Filipino girls and young women cope with the fast changes that surround her in this age of technology.
While the basic cherished values contained in her Promise and Law make the foundation of this 8-Point Challenge, activities in the new program will equip her with the knowledge and skills she needs to make her truly the person that makes the difference in her home, country and the world community.
In 1991, the 16th National Council Convention approved the concept of the revised program. After the approval of the concept, Task Forces fleshed out the concept and their output was pilot-tested in 1992. The new program was launched for full implementation on September 1993 at the Concepcion R. Gonzalez National Program and Training Center in Novaliches, Quezon City.
In 1996 during the 29th World Conference of the WAGGGS in Nova Scotia, Canada, Mrs. Choa was elected as Vice-Chair of the World Board (formerly World Committee) and Dr. Go was re-appointed Chair of the Asia Pacific Committee of the WAGGGS.
Dr. Go was elected to the World Board in 1999 and in 2002 was elected 2nd Vice-Chairman of the World Board, during the 31st World Conference held in Manila.
In 2001, Dr. Cristina Lim Yuson was elected member of the Asia Pacific Committee and was subsequently elected Chairman in 2004.
At the Asia Pacific Committee meeting in Hongkong in May 2004 two members of the GSP Central Board received recognition. Dr. Kathryn Uy Roa, received the Young Woman of the Region Award and Dr. Estefania Aldaba Lim, the Woman of Outstanding Achievement Award.
Through the years, the GSP continues to pursue vigorously its character building and youth development programs and is actively contributing to the economic thrust of the country as part of the Movement’s commitment to nation-building.