Climate change is driving global inequality.

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Philippines

To help those in poverty, the Philippines must reduce inequality, improve the accountability of the government to its people, and help people adapt to the negative effects of climate change.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines’ economy was growing fast—but the resulting benefits were not enjoyed by the poorest people in the country. When the pandemic hit, unemployment soared past 17 percent and more than 20 percent of people in the country were going hungry. Women in particular suffered from increased domestic duties, risk of violence, and loss of jobs.

Inequality persists: A fifth of the people in the Philippines are living in poverty, and the poorest 20 percent of the people in the Philippines are earning less than eight percent of the country’s income.

The Philippines is also being affected by climate change. Unpredictable rainfall and hazardous weather events are a recurring challenge that again hits the poorest people the hardest. In October and November 2021, a succession of typhoons destroyed thousands of homes and caused billions in agricultural losses.

With your help, Oxfam Pilipinas works with more than 50 local partner organizations across the Philippines to fight inequality to end poverty and injustice through economic empowerment projects, disaster response and reducing community risks to emergencies, peace building and conflict reduction, and programs to help women gain more economic opportunities.

What is Oxfam doing to help people in poverty in the Philippines

The work of Oxfam Pilipinas is carried out in collaboration with partner organizations. In the short term, we offer lifesaving support to people in crisis as we work to respond more effectively to disasters. Our longer-term work is focused on fighting the inequality that leads to poverty by improving economic opportunities for women and other vulnerable people, decreasing risks, and helping women secure their basic rights.

HELPING PEOPLE IN THE PHILIPPINES SURVIVE IN THE SHORT TERM

HELPING PEOPLE IN THE PHILLIPPINES THRIVE OVER THE LONG TERM

Increasing resilience

To reduce the threat of climate change to the most vulnerable communities, Oxfam is working with local partners and the government to help people adapt and survive changing rainfall patterns and sudden storms and other disasters. This includes changes in agriculture: Oxfam provided a solar bubble dryer to help a 53-member rice-growing cooperative dry their harvest after a typhoon. Oxfam and our partners are also working with local government and others to devote more budget to reducing the risk of disasters, and finding more and better solutions to the needs of urban poor communities, such as access to and control over water, food, energy, transport, shelter, and waste management.

Oxfam also supports initiatives in the Philippines that will accelerate the country’s transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. On Hilabaan Island in Eastern Samar, Oxfam and SIKAT installed solar panels and batteries to power 120 households and street lights as part of their Just Energy Transition project.

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Women in Quezon City read flyers about COVID-19 as they line up to enter a market. They were provided by Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), with support from Oxfam. The flyers included relevant information about COVID-19 and essential tips on how to cope with the enhanced community quarantine. IDEALS

Working for gender justice

Oxfam works with a wide range of women’s rights organizations to promote gender justice in the Philippines. Oxfam funds work to address the numerous ways that the COVID-19 pandemic made women and girls vulnerable to violence, and to meet sexual and reproductive health needs. In Surigao del Sur, Oxfam and our partner SIKAT trained health workers to reach out to women and girls unable to come to community health centers during the pandemic lockdown. “We were able to provide uninterrupted family planning services to women of reproductive age,” says Christine Ampon, executive director of SIKAP.

We also support training for groups interested in how local government budgets reflect the ways communities can reduce violence against women and teen pregnancy, and improve access to sexual and reproductive health services.

To address the unequal burdens of women in the home, Oxfam Pilipinas funds public awareness campaigns to urge families to more equitably share unpaid domestic duties to help women have more time and space for additional income and leadership roles in the community.

Oxfam partners help local women leaders who raise awareness about violence against women and advocate to improve services for survivors among police officers, health workers, and other service providers.

We support groups that are helping women to create alternative ways to make a decent living, and encourage the government to adopt policies that will help keep women safe from sexual exploitation and violence. To help create a more positive future for women, Oxfam helps groups to reform education and promote public messages that deconstruct harmful images and negative stereotypes of women.

In the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, home to more than 3.5 million Filipinos, many of whom are living in extreme poverty, we work with young women and men to raise awareness of violence against women and girls. In 2020 and 2021, local youth groups campaigned to support legislation to end the practice of child/forced marriages. Oxfam Pilipinas and local partners have fought hard to lay the foundation for fostering a community where young girls are empowered and free from any forms of violence. This has included advocating for a law against child marriage. After a long and arduous fight, the Anti-Child Marriage Law was signed by the president on December 10, 2021. The new law, RA No.11596, declares child marriage as illegal and imposes penalties against violators.

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Ruth is a mother of seven in the Philippines. She is the first to wake up, feeding the kids and getting them ready for school, and the last to sleep after she cleans the house and washes everyone’s clothes. Her husband, who works full time, now does the laundry and fetches water. Oxfam and our partners in the Philippines are advocating for the government and society to do more to reduce the amount of care work women and girls bear. Jed Regala/Oxfam

Supporting local humanitarian leaders

Oxfam works closely with organizations, in collaboration with local government, to reduce the risk of disasters and help communities be better prepared for emergencies. The goal is for these organizations and the communities they represent to deliver timely and appropriate anticipatory action and humanitarian response consisting of water, sanitation and hygiene items (like soap), emergency food, help for people to re-establish their livelihoods, and cash.

We also work closely with women rights organizations to influence the government’s policies around women’s rights in humanitarian crises. We work to strengthen women leadership by supporting women’s rights and youth groups in their collaboration with local governmental bodies working to reduce the risk of, and respond to, disasters.

In Eastern Samar, Oxfam works with the Philippines Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) to help communities plant mangrove trees to reduce their vulnerability in storms. In the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, PRRM helped communities address the lack of water and soap they needed to wash their hands and reduce their chances of getting sick. “We provided the communities with a design for a simple hand-washing station, and money to buy water containers, sinks, faucets, material for the stand, and soap,” says PRRM Director Raymundo Agaton. “They did the construction themselves.”

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Cherry Ann Boleche, founder and president of the Cagaut Women’s Association, attaches a fresh branch of seaweed to the fishing line at their seaweed plantation. “The seaweed helps the fish,” she says, “and it provides a breeding ground for octopus and squid.” Oxfam supports local organizations with projects like this that help communities rebuild after severe storms, and reduce the risk of coastal communities to emergencies. Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam
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