Thursday, March 26, 2009

About the Philippines and Opportunity International

I thought I'd take a moment to share some facts about the Philippines and poverty as provided by Opportunity International.
  • For over 30 years, the Opportunity International Network has been working with people living in poverty in the Philippines, where 40% of the population lives below the poverty line.
  • In the Philippines, the majority of Trust Banks (group microfinance projects) are located in urban and semiurban areas and to a lesser degree, rural areas.
  • Over 78% of the Filipino Trust Bank loans are made to women.
  • Poverty in the Philippines has been a predominantly rural phenomenon, with the gap between urban and rural poverty increasing in recent years. While the incidence of urban poverty remained the same over a period of three years, rural poverty increased and is approximately twice the level of urban poverty. The rural poor constitute approximately 44% of the population. Furthermore, most of the rural poor are engaged in agriculture, where poverty reduction has been painstakingly slow and poverty is most severe and widespread. In general, illiteracy, unemployment and the incidence of poverty are higher among indigenous peoples and people in the upland areas of the Philippines.
  • Overall, more than one out of three people in the Philippines live in poverty. The poorest of the poor are indigenous peoples, small-scale farmers who cultivate land received through agrarian reform, landless workers, fishers, people in upland areas, and women in all categories.
  • Many households in the Philippines rate themselves as poor and report that their families had experienced hunger, without having anything to eat, at least once in the last three months. Of the five leading causes of morbidity, four are communicable diseases (diarrhoea, bronchitis, pneumonias and influenza), and the fifth is hypertension. The prevalence of communicable diseases is still very high, while that of non-communicable
    diseases is increasing and will continue to do so. This extra burden of disease places a great toll on the health and economy of the people, and on the nation as a whole.
  • There are reportedly 1.2 medical physicians per 1,000 people and around 20% of the population is undernourished.
  • For more information about the Philippines:
    Local news:
    Country profile:
    Country statistics: