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. When larger group gatherings aren't possible, local workers continue to conduct home visits to children and facilitate small group activities. They have also delivered over 3,070,000 food packs and 1,151,000 hygiene kits to families in poverty.

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

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Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in the Philippines?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Many child development centres in the Philippines are operating differently during the COVID-19 pandemic to follow local guidelines. Some centres continue to make home visits to check on children and their families, while some are able to meet together in small groups.

  • 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, though they may be delayed. 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:

  • Praise God for allowing a student from one of our local church partners to recently graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology.
  • Pray that God would allow Jolliee to make a full recovery from her brain operation.
  • Pray for two local staff members and their families who recently lost everything in a fire.
  • Pray for comfort for Joel’s family as they grieve his passing.
  • Praise God for healing Minda from her knee pain.
  • Pray that God would comfort Aldo as he grieves the passing of his wife and daughter.
  • Praise God for allowing a project director’s daughter to receive a successful operation to remove a tumour.
  • Pray for the continued health and safety of local workers as they deliver Compassion's programs and activities.
  • Pray for God's protection over children who may be vulnerable to exploitation or abuse.
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 in poverty

18%

of people lack access to basic 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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14 Mar, 2018

Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

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