The Republic of the Philippines is a group of more than 7,100 islands that are part of the Malay Archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. The Philippines has a population of over 112 million people. The country has one of the highest birth rates in Asia, and the population is growing fast.The Philippines is in the region which sees the most cyclonic activity in the world. The country is also prone to earthquakes and there are around 20 active volcanoes on the islands. In December 2021, Typhoon Rai caused devastation on several major islands in the Philippines.
SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in the Philippines since 1967.
The people of the Philippines have experienced many social, political and economic changes in recent decades. Armed conflicts have also marked the lives of many; decades of fighting, much of which was against separatist groups and guerrillas, have claimed thousands of lives, displaced many more and curtailed opportunities for development. Due to the conflict in the Marawi region located on the second largest island, Mindanao, 85,000 people were displaced, and many still live in transitory sites.
In spite of positive economic developments, the changes have not reduced poverty, and over 23% of the population continues to live under the national poverty line. In addition, the wealth created has been unequally distributed. The lack of opportunities means that many people are forced to move overseas: around two million Filipinos work abroad. The money they send home makes an important contribution to the national economy.
The migration of parents in search of work has greatly affected children's lives. Children who move with their parents to the cities often end up living in informal settlements where they lack decent housing, food, and sanitation facilities. An estimated 35% of inhabitants in metro Manila live in unstable, poorly constructed shelters in slums. The current hardships and limited prospects make people vulnerable to the false promises of human traffickers. Children living in these situations are particularly at risk.