Latest update

The Philippines has experienced many challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eight months into their lockdown restrictions, an estimated four million Filipinos became unemployed and a further eight million had their hours reduced. Extended lockdowns have dramatically disrupted children’s access to healthcare and education, as well as increasing their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.

Our local church partners have worked tirelessly to continue supporting vulnerable children. Most child development centres in the Philippines have not yet been able to resume their normal program activities. Local workers continue to conduct home visits to children and facilitate small group gatherings where possible. They have also delivered over 2,229,000 food packs and 974,000 hygiene kits to families in poverty.

Watch the latest update from local staff in the video below.

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Country update

Crisis Reports from the Philippines

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    Typhoon Rai in The Philippines (Crisis Update) 06 Jan, 2022

    The situation

    Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette, made landfall in the Philippines on December 16th and 17th, 2021. It has been declared a category five 'super typhoon' and the most impacted areas are Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Surigao del Sur. Winds of up to 300km/h were recorded and thousands of families were evacuated to government-provided evacuation centres.

    Compassion is present in the areas affected by the typhoon, though power and communication outages have delayed updates from our local church partners.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the typhoon, we will contact you directly when updates are available.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 86 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: over 9,500

    New information

    Three weeks after the typhoon hit there is still no power, communication or clean water in several municipalities and provinces. The heavy rain continues in some areas, making life very uncomfortable for thousands of Filipino families who are currently displaced from their homes.

    Our local church partners have opened their doors to serve as evacuation and relief centres for children and their communities. Many are delivering water filters to affected families. Local staff are working together with the government to distribute food, relief goods, materials for shelter, clothes and clean water. They will continue to assess the impact of the typhoon and will provide further updates when possible.

    Prayer

    Please keep praying for everyone affected by the recent typhoon in the Philippines. Pray for the provision of necessary relief items and medical supplies. Pray for the rain to ease and for safe shelter for families. Pray that children will experience the comfort and peace of God during this difficult time.

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    Typhoon Rai in The Philippines (Crisis Update) 30 Dec, 2021

    The situation

    Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette, made landfall in the Philippines on December 16th and 17th, 2021. It has been declared a category five 'super typhoon' and the most impacted areas are Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Surigao del Sur. Winds of up to 300km/h were recorded and thousands of families were evacuated to government-provided evacuation centres. Power and communication outages have delayed updates from our local church partners in the affected areas.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the typhoon, we will contact you directly when updates are available.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 86 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 3,256

    New information

    Electricity and internet connections are still not restored in many of the affected areas. The impact of Typhoon Rai is immense—the UN has reported that millions of Filipinos were affected and over 580,000 people remain displaced. Our local church partners are focused on meeting the immediate needs of the children, families and churches in their communities. Many homes and buildings are reported to be damaged or destroyed. They will continue to assess the impact of the typhoon and will provide further updates when possible.

    Prayer

    Please keep praying for everyone affected by the recent typhoon. Pray for wisdom and strength for local staff and volunteers as they assess the damage and support families. Pray for children and their caregivers who have been affected. Pray that they will experience God's great love and His peace that transcends understanding during this time.

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    Typhoon Rai in The Philippines (Crisis Update) 20 Dec, 2021

    The situation

    Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette, made landfall in the Philippines on December 16th and 17th, 2021. It has been declared a category five 'super typhoon' and the most impacted areas are Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Surigao del Sur. Winds of up to 300km/h were recorded and tens of thousands of families have been evacuated to government-provided evacuation centres. Power and communication outages have delayed updates from our local church partners in the affected areas.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the typhoon, we will contact you directly when updates are available.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 63 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 660

    New information

    Our local church partners are on the ground and ready to journey with affected families for both the short- and long-term response and recovery. The assessment of the impact of the typhoon is ongoing. We do know that a number of local homes have been damaged or destroyed. Pastor Jonas from one of our partners in Leyte shares that “we stayed at the compound where some sponsored children, their families and church members evacuated. We secured the place, gave food to the evacuees and provided shelter.”

    Prayer

    Please keep praying for children, families and local workers impacted by the recent typhoon. Pray for provision for those who have lost homes, belongings and livelihoods. Pray for God's comfort and peace during this challenging time, especially in the lead up to Christmas.

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    Typhoon Rai in The Philippines 16 Dec, 2021

    The situation

    Typhoon Rai, known locally as Odette, made landfall in the Philippines on December 16th and 17th, 2021. It has been declared a category five 'super typhoon' and the most impacted areas are Cebu, Bohol, Leyte and Surigao del Sur. Winds of up to 300km/h were recorded and tens of thousands of families have been evacuated. Power and communication outages have delayed updates from our local church partners in the affected areas.

    If your sponsored child has been affected by the typhoon, we will contact you directly when updates are available.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: not yet confirmed Number of Compassion assisted children affected: not yet confirmed

    New information

    Our church partners in the Philippines had warning from their local government of the typhoon approaching. Pre-emptive disaster operations began and evacuated families were taken to evacuation centres provided by the government. Our local workers will assess the damage and impacts to staff, children and families once the weather stabilises and floodwaters subside. Further updates will be provided once available.

    Prayer

    Please pray for our local church partners, children, staff and families in the Philippines following the recent typhoon. Pray for their safety and protection. Pray for wisdom for the staff, pastors and volunteers as they assess the damage and grapple with impacts to their own families and homes. Pray for peace for evacuated families and children.

How is Compassion currently operating in the Philippines?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Most child development centres in the Philippines are operating differently during the pandemic to follow local guidelines. Many centres continue to make home visits to check on children and their families, while some are able to meet together in small groups. Local staff continue to give relief supplies to families and children, and will work towards a phased reopening as soon as possible.

  • 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 encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in the Philippines. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in the Philippines who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would give Camille the strength she needs to recover from dengue fever.
  • Pray for comfort and peace for Mailyn as she grieves her father’s passing.
  • Pray that doctors would be able to treat Jessa’s injuries following a car accident.
  • Pray that Roger would come out of his coma soon.
  • Pray that God would heal all the children, families and staff ill with COVID-19.
  • Pray for strength and encouragement for Jessica as she prepares to receive chemotherapy for breast and lung cancer.
  • Pray that Wilfredo’s platelets would increase so doctors can perform the operation he needs.
  • Pray that God would allow doctors to provide the treatment and medical care Kristel needs to recover.
  • Pray for wisdom for the doctors as they work to diagnose the cause of Diane’s mother’s back pain.
  • Pray that God would continue to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
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

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, some child development centres in the Philippines are temporarily pausing group activities. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through 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.
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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

121

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

16.7%

of people live below the poverty line

11.8%

of people lack access to improved sanitation

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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