Charities Operating in the Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelagic country located in Southeast Asia with a population of 111 million people. Among the 111 million people, 21.6% of the population live in poverty and 75% of people in the south live in poverty. Despite the economic growth that the country has seen over the last few years, many people living in poverty are unable to experience economic growth. One can attribute poverty in the Philippines to natural disasters and violence throughout the country. With the dangers of sharing the world’s highest frequency of tropical storms, people living in poverty suffer since they cannot garner the agricultural and industrial resources necessary to help them. Charities operating in the Philippines work hard to help people living in poverty find ways to access the necessities required to live prosperous lives.

5 Charities Operating in the Philippines

  1. Cross Catholic: Cross Catholic Outreach is one of the five charities operating in the Philippines. It began its journey in 2001 and expanded into Southeast Asia in 2003. In the Philippines, the Cross Catholic Outreach works through its ministries to help people in poverty, and they do so by “sending financial support, shipping material and providing professional consultation for relief projects.” Cross Catholic has collaborated with partners like Answering the Cry of the Poor (ANCOP) and the Daughters of Wisdom to help extend its reach throughout the country. ANCOP is an extension of the Couples of Christ (CFC). Cross Catholic has helped ANCOP build hundreds of homes for the poor and helped fund social development programs since 2006. Cross Catholic work with Daughters of Wisdom in Manila and Cebu city has helped give children in poverty an opportunity to access education, health care and sanitation products for those who are unable to access or afford the services.
  2. CARE Philippines: CARE has been working in the Philippines since 1949. Since then, it has worked to alleviate poverty and combat social injustice through three leading roles: “Humanitarian Action, Promoting Lasting Change and Innovative Solutions and Multiplying Impact.” Human Action consists of saving lives, especially women and children, and the most marginalized in times of emergency. CARE Philippines’ humanitarian action also consists of “preparedness and early action, emergency response and recovery and encourages future resilience and equitable development.” Promoting Lasting Change and Innovative Solutions consists of streamlining and providing innovative solutions for sustainable development along with providing services and empowerment of women, all of which rely on understanding the drivers of poverty and social injustice.
  3. PAC Canada: PAC Canada is another charity operating in the Philippines. It began working in August 2016 alongside 600 residents of Barangays (villages) 128, 143, 144 and 145 through fostering relationships from trust and respect. PAC Canada focuses its operations on Tondo, Manila. It established its headquarters there on July 20, 2019, the same day Canada Revenue Agency listed it as a charitable organization. PAC Canada’s work focuses mainly on improving the lives of impoverished children and families after its founder, Phillippe Blanchard, sought to find ways to support them. Some of PAC’s programs include Watch Baby Grow (WBG) and Watch Toddler Blossom (WTB) Sponsorship (nutritional supplements) Programs along with Play and Catch-Up After School Programs, all of which focus on helping children.
  4. Save the Children Philippines: Save the Children Philippines started operating in the Philippines in 1981 and focused its work alongside “local communities to design sponsorship programs for kids.” In addition, the programs Save the Children created seek to develop programs that ensure that children can grow and learn in a safe environment to adulthood, which means ensuring that children get an education and mother and babies are healthy through accessible health care. Save the Children Philippines managed “to protect 16,082 children from harm, support 17,032 children in times of crisis, provide 393,164 children with a healthy start in life and support 11,492 parents to provide for their children’s basic needs.” Save the Children Philippines is one of the five charities operating in the Philippines helping to alleviate poverty.
  5. Project PEARLS: Project PEARLS started operating in 2010 and focuses on helping children and alleviating poverty. Project PEARLS’ programs revolve around education, health care, nutrition and empowerment through skills development. As part of the education initiative, its scholarship program helps more than 700 students in four communities: Tondo, Manila, Bocaue, Bulacan; Naic, Cavite and Zamboanga Sibugay. The charity also “provides breakfast to hundreds of children in Tondo, Manila. In partnership with organizations and individuals, we also bring critical medical and dental services to the communities.”

Looking Ahead

All five charities operating in the Philippines work effortlessly alongside their partners and communities by establishing programs geared towards helping those living in poverty, especially children who find access to essential services and need to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives and eventually escape poverty.

– Arijit Joshi
Photo: Flickr

10 Facts About Slums in Manila
Since as early as the mid-1900s, impoverished citizens of Manila, Philippines have resided in informal settlements known as slums. The metro Manila area has several of these slums which houses much of the poor population of the city. Below are 10 facts about slums in Manila.

10 Facts about slums in Manila

  1. An estimated 35 percent of the metro Manila population live in unstable, poorly constructed shelters in slums. Eleven percent of slum residents live near unsafe areas like railroads and garbage dumps. According to the World Bank, living conditions in slums are worse than in the poorest rural areas. The Mega-Cities Project’s research found that tuberculosis rates were nine times higher than in non-slum areas and that rates of diarrheal disease were two times higher.

  2. It is extremely difficult to collect adequate demographic data on slum populations, as most constituents lack a proper address. Even if surveyors reach slum occupants, most are timid to answer questions due to the fear that surveyors will use the information to demolish their shelters or resettle them. Most slum residents have very little or no tenant security. However, in 2000 the Asian Development Bank estimated a total slum population of around 3.4 million in Manila.

  3. The rate of childhood malnutrition is three times higher in the slums than in non-slum areas. According to USAID, children sometimes have to sort through garbage for scraps of food. A study of the Smoky Mountain slum found that 80 percent of children aged eight months to 15 years who scavenged for food had at least two species of intestinal parasites. An Asian Development Bank study found that 50 percent of children were anemic. This is despite the fact that many of these children have access to medical facilities.

  4. Residents in Manila slums lack access to proper sanitation and a clean environment. USAID states that 66 percent of slum residents lack an adequate way to dispose of human waste and often resort to open pits or rivers. A UNICEF study found that only 16 percent of children in the slums have access to clean drinking water. As a result, residents often turn to vendors or contaminated groundwater. The child mortality rate in slums is three times higher than in non-slum areas according to the Philippines Health Department.

  5. Project PEARLS is providing children in Manila slums with food and health care. The organization has three different food programs for the children of Manila slums. PEARLS launched The Soup Kitchen program in July 2015, which feeds at least 300  children per day on a budget of $160. The organization also provides free medicine to children for illnesses like dehydration, flu, pneumonia and infections, as well as various wounds.

  6. Slum settlements in Manila are extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. The Philippines ranks fourth in the global climate risk index and is often prone to typhoons, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters. The instability of the often homemade shelters provides little to no protection from these calamities. The Asian Development Bank states that this and the fact that most slums are in dangerous locations make slum settlements vulnerable to natural hazards. Heavy rains in July 2000 caused a landslide of garbage that killed 218 people in a slum settled on top of a garbage dump.

  7. Habitat for Humanity is building stable shelters for slum residents in Manila. With the help of volunteers, the organization builds around 5,000 homes every year. The team works with the local government to rebuild homes and also construct new homes that can withstand the natural elements. From digging the foundation to pouring the concrete and laying the roof, the organization and volunteers create sustainable homes from the ground up for thousands of impoverished slum residents.

  8. The moderate economic growth in recent years did not help to mitigate poverty or slums. The Asian Development Bank reported an average 5.3 percent increase in GDP from 2003 to 2006. Poverty rates increased from 24 percent to 27 percent during that time and continued to increase in 2007 when the GDP growth was 7.1 percent. Chronic poverty, driven by factors like severe inequality and corruption, hinders the reduction of slum residents and settlements. The Philippines ranked 141 out of 180 countries in the 2008 Transparency International corruption perceptions index. According to the Asian Development Bank, local political dynasties manipulate markets to deter the poor from accessing private goods and capital. In 2006, the richest 20 percent owned 53 percent of the wealth in the country.

  9. Poverty is fuelling online child sex abuse in the slums. The live streaming of child pornography in these locations has led UNICEF to name the Philippines the global epicenter of the online child sex abuse trade. Despite the new cybercrime unit at the Philippines National Police Headquarters and the passage of an Anti-Child Pornography Law, convictions remain low and case reports high. This is partially due to the fact that the age of consent in the Philippines is only 12 years old. UNICEF reports that parents have even brought their children to these shows to earn money.

  10. Police and government corruption have engendered the unlawful killings of thousands of slum citizens at the hands of officers since the start of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. These corrupt and violent raids target slum residents the most. A Human Rights Watch report found that these raids have unlawfully killed over 7,000 people. The report states that police often falsify evidence and falsely claim self-defense to get away with these extra-judicial killings. Although Duterte has not called for extra-judicial killings, his repeated calls for the killing of drug offenders and an absence of any investigations into the killings prompted the Human Rights Watch to label this campaign as a possible progenitor of crimes against humanity.

The Manila government has struggled to find ways to reduce poverty and the population of slum residents, but poverty is a drain on Manila’s economy. According to the Asian Development Bank, for every one percent increase in poverty, there is a 0.7 percent decrease in overall per capita income. Along with this economic algorithm, a lack of investment, access to capital and financial markets throughout slum communities hinders economic growth. Different non-governmental organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Project PEARLS are providing basic essentials and helpful assistance for the different struggles of slum life. However, the Philippines requires more research and both domestic and international assistance to mitigate and eventually solve the aforementioned 10 facts about slums in Manila.

– Zach Brown
Photo: Flickr