Latest update

Our Filipino neighbours face high rates of natural disasters throughout the year as well as extreme poverty and malnutrition. Alarmingly, the nation has also become a global hotspot for the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) and children living in poverty are extremely vulnerable to this nefarious crime. Compassion’s holistic child development programs are designed to be adapted to suit the local context and needs. In the Philippines, the current primary areas of focus for our church partners are:

  • Protecting children from abuse and online exploitation
  • Disaster preparation and resilience for local families
  • Helping caregivers, particularly new mothers, to give their children the best start to life

Watch the latest update from our local church partners in the Philippines below.

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in the Philippines?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most Compassion centres in the Philippines have reopened and are operating as usual, but some remain meeting in small groups to limit the spread of COVID-19. Staff members have created online lessons, radio programs and devotionals to support children and their families during this time.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Some letters are still delayed in the Philippines, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed as normal in the Philippines. Local workers will meet with the child and family to determine the best use of the gift and ensure it meets their greatest need.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for the children, families and local church partners we serve in the Philippines.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray for Jojin's studies to become a teacher.
  • Pray for Solen's family as they try to increase their income through raising cattle.
  • Pray for further education opportunities for local youth, especially those on Higatangan Island.
  • Pray that God will bless the local child development centres with new staff where needed, and protect the existing workers.
  • Pray for God's protection over children who may be vulnerable to exploitation, abuse or unsafe work.
  • Pray for safety for families and staff during typhoons, heavy rain and extreme weather events.
  • Pray for wisdom and unity among national leaders and government.
Offering new support in the Philippines

Offering new support in the Philippines

Compassion’s local church partners in the Philippines are finding creative ways to support children and families during the pandemic—taking to social media and other online tools to help those in need.   Read more open_in_new


Please note: Due to the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, some child development centres in the Philippines are temporarily unable to host large group activities. Our local church partners continue to meet the holistic needs of registered children through smaller group activities or home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in the Philippines

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for eight hours on Saturdays, or for four hours a day, two days a week.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 attend for six hours every Saturday.
  • Students aged 12 to 18 attend for four hours on the weekend, while those over 19 attend for six hours.

Compassion Program Activities in the Philippines

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Compassion assisted children in the Philippines typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in the Philippines.

8:00am - A time of prayer and devotion.

9:00am - Spiritual lessons where children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

10:30am - Break time where children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. A nutritious snack is provided often in the form of bread or soup.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and a godly character.

12:00pm - Lunch time where the meal usually consists of fish or meat, vegetables and rice. Many children don’t receive regular meals at home due to food scarcity.

1:00pm - Health lessons where children are taught practical health and hygiene tips. An example topic is how to prevent malaria.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children also often have opportunities to join in extracurricular activities such as camps, sporting events and talent shows. Parents can attend general assemblies and orientation, and there are some churches that have initiated activities like Bible studies and care groups. Mothers are also involved in letter writing.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in the Philippines


mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births


of people live in poverty


of children are vulnerable to online sexual exploitation and abuse

Made up of more than 7,000 individual islands, the Philippines is home to a population of over 108 million people. The nation has made strong progress in poverty reduction over the past two decades, due in part to the momentum of its tourism, finance and insurance industries. However, this advancement has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and relentless typhoons and flooding, which have the greatest physical and economic impact on the most vulnerable people in society—children living in poverty.

More than 18 million Filipinos live below the national poverty line. More than 30 per cent of children live in poverty. For these children and their families, challenges abound—including meeting their most basic needs. Many children don’t get enough nutritious food, to the extent that one in three has experienced stunting because of malnutrition. Others lack a safe place to grow and develop. More than 80 per cent of children have experienced some sort of violence, including physical, psychological, sexual or online abuse.

The threat of online exploitation is growing, with cheap internet access making more children vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse that is livestreamed to an online audience. Some children are promised a respectable job but tricked into the cybersex business; others are threatened or coerced, often by neighbours, friends or even a family member. The Philippines has been identified as a global ‘hotspot’ for online exploitation due to poverty, cheap technology, high rates of English and established money-wiring services.

More than 2.8 million children of school age lack access to education, with indigenous children and children with a disability disproportionately affected. Only 78 per cent of children complete their basic education.

These challenges are made even more difficult by perennial destruction caused by tropical storms and typhoons which have become more frequent and more destructive over the past two decades. Sadly, the Philippines experiences more natural disasters than any other country. Moreover, it is usually the poorest households who are the most vulnerable and the least able to rebuild and recover from the devastation. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded, smashed the Philippines and other parts of southeast Asia, affecting 11 million Filipinos and killing more than 6300. October and November 2020 saw a string of typhoons, including Goni and Vamco, that caused catastrophic flooding and subsequent damage to homes and livelihoods.

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