Where We Work

Snapshot of Philippines

30%

of children experience growth stunting as a result of malnutrition

13%

of people live below the poverty line

26%

of people lack access to proper sanitation

The Philippines has made strong progress in the past two decades, and more Filipinos have climbed out of poverty. Yet, more than 22 million Filipinos—slightly more than one in five—still struggle to meet their basic daily needs. 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 online threat in particular is growing, with cheap internet access opening children up to different risks, including 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 living with disability disproportionately affected. Only 78 per cent of children complete their basic education.

These challenges are made even more difficult by regular destruction caused by tropical storms and typhoons which have become more frequent and more destructive over the past two decades. Usually the poorest households 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.

President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in 2016, promising to shake up the establishment and take a hard line against crime, particularly drug crime. In the intervening years, thousands of people have been killed in a state-ordered “war on drugs”—most of them people living in urban poverty, most of them by law-enforcement agencies or vigilantes acting with impunity. Several human rights organisations and international watchdogs have called for the President to be investigated for encouraging vigilantism and failing to prosecute law-enforcement agents accused of extrajudicial killings, but, so far, without result.

Noel Pabiona

Letter from Compassion Philippines Director, Noel Pabiona

Dear Sponsor, I am Noel Pabiona, and I have been the Compassion Philippines Country Director for 13 years now. I am a proud father of two boys, Nathan and TJ. Just like me, both my sons love sports, having fun and ministering to little children and the poor. My boys constantly remind me to be a patient and responsible father, which in turn, reminds me of my heavenly Father’s love and amazing patience for me.

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April’s Brand New Day

April Joy Aquino set out on a lifelong journey to serve the poor ever since her mother told her to be helpful. Despite losing their livelihood when a fire destroyed the public market in 1996, April’s mother (Nanay) did not stop telling her to give to people who were in worse living conditions.

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Prayer requests for Philippines

  • Pray for children and families in the northern areas of Davao province and Mindanao, especially farming families and those that rely on crops. Many regions have declared a ‘State of Calamity’ due to low rainfall and subsequent crop failures. This is already a poor region and people are vulnerable to food shortages.
  • Pray for Careen, a young woman who recently graduated the program. Her eyesight has deteriorated because of type 1 diabetes; she has received medical treatment and even undergone laser eye-surgery but she can no longer see well enough to work. She asks for your prayers for complete healing.
  • Pray for Chenly, a five-year-old girl who needs monthly blood transfusions to stay alive. The supply of blood is coming from another island and has to be delivered by boat and bus. Please pray for her health and a long-term solution to her illness. Pray for strength and courage for her family as they love and support her.
  • Praise God for a successful surgery for Lawrence, an eight-year-old registered boy. He had open-heart surgery in May and is undergoing physical therapy to exercise his lungs. Pray for strength and for his continued recovery.
  • Give thanks to God for a successful national pastors’ retreat, which saw more than 350 church leaders gather together. They say they are grateful for an encouraging time of learning, rest and friendship. Pray for strong relationships to benefit all local churches across the country.
  • Please pray for safety and protection on church partners, children and families in the Canlaon Province. Government agencies and the military are on active operations against the New People’s Army (a separatist Communist militia) in the region and some of the fighting has occurred in urban areas, putting the children at extreme risk.