Extreme weather, earthqualkes, deforestation and ongoing conflicts combine to hamper development in the Philippines. Caritas Australia is working on building peace, preparing communities for natural disasters, improving water and sanitation facilities, and providing education and skills training in vulnerable Filipino communities.

Dinia and her family
Key facts:
  • Programs


  • Partners


  • Population


  • Extreme poverty

    Poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day:

  • Data sources 

Why do we work in the Philippines?

The Filipino population – estimated at around 100 million people – lives across an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands.

Like many countries in the region, the Philippines economy has been growing strongly in recent years. However, GDP per capita in the Philippines is around one tenth that of Australia’s, and life expectancy in the Philippines is 14 years less than in Australia.

Relative poverty makes Filipino communities vulnerable to extreme weather events such as typhoons and cyclones, which regularly cause widespread flooding and landslides across the country. Deforestation and agriculture amplify the effects of extreme weather and, along with industrial pollution, create challenges for water quality in rural, coastal and poorer communities.

Volcanic activity and earthquakes also impact heavily on poorer Filipino communities, especially those in remote and low-lying areas.

The country has also experienced a number of long-term insurgencies and internal conflicts, many of them based out of the island of Mindanao. Recent peace treaties have provided hope for an end to the internal conflicts that have killed so many people and hampered the development of many Filipino communities.

Our work in the Philippines

Caritas Australia supports our Philippines partners on long-term programs tackling issues such as indigenous rights, preparing for disasters, community empowerment, and peacebuilding and reconciliation.

Caritas Australia has also implemented a number of emergency responses to typhoons and flooding in the Philippines. For example:

  • In response to the devastation left behind by typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, we launched our Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Appeal.
  • In 2011 we opened a flood appeal in response to Typhoon Washi, which hit the eastern province of Agusan del Sur and northern Mindanao.
  • In 2012 we initiated a range of emergency responses to Typhoon Bopha, which wreaked havoc as it ripped through central Mindanao. Read more on our Philippines Typhoon Response page.

Examples of our work

  1. Caritas Australia’s Indigenous Peoples Empowerment and Development program in Camarines Norte has improved the political, social, economic and cultural wellbeing of 1,880 Kabihugs. Relationships between Indigenous men and women have also improved, with men becoming more aware of the role women can play in society.
  2. 75 percent of families in 10 communities in Masbate have experienced a decrease in waterborne diseases as a result of new sanitary toilets. 
  3. The role of women has improved in many communities participating in Caritas programs. Women are increasingly involved in income generating activities such as dressmaking and small scale business, as well as being involved in decisions that affect their villages and families.

Featured projects and stories:

  • Psyche Mae from Project Compassion 2018

    Psyche Mae's Story

    Psyche Mae is a young social worker, achieving her dream of helping others struggling to leave poverty behind them – with plans to study a Master’s degree.

  • Dinia (right) from Project Compassion 2017 with a SPACFI staff member

    Integrated Community Development Program

    Aiming to empower and improve the quality of life for families in marginalised communities.

  • Kabihug man and baby

    Indigenous peoples empowerment

    A rights-based program, this focuses on developing and empowering the Indigenous people in the province of Camarines Norte.