Philippines - Country Brief

Philippines : Country Brief


The population in the Philippines is estimated at 90 million people, of whom about half live in rural areas. Annual population growth rate is 2.0 per cent and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2007 is US$ 357. Economic growth has been reasonable in recent years. While the percentage of Filipinos living on less than $1 per day has fallen, over 40 percent of the population is still estimated to live on less than $2 per day. The national unemployment rate is 7.4 percent, more apparent among women and youth. Many more millions of people are underemployed (18.9%), or experience inadequate employment.

Typhoons are a frequent occurrence in the Philippines. The events trigger landslides, flash floods, mudslides, widespread flooding and together with the associated high winds cause destruction and damage to homes, community buildings, communications, infrastructure, roads, bridges, agricultural crops and fishing farms. The most severely affected regions are usually located in the central Philippines (Bicol and Samar/Leyte). ILO is currently assisting the country to develop a generic local resource-based strategy to support the development of a livelihood recovery strategy for typhoon affected areas.

Other recent activities in the field of “infrastructure and jobs” focused on the implementation of a number of pilot activities in urban areas in Iloilo City in late 2007. ILO supported several urban communities to improve their working and living environment through community-based infrastructure works. This included improved community access designed to take the load of tricycles, storm water drainage, concrete footpaths and the clearing of a creek to prevent flooding.

The experiences of the urban work in the Philippines have been incorporated in an Urban Community Infrastructure Guide. The urban projects demonstrated that good quality improvements to local infrastructure can be made when working in partnership with communities to improve their living and working environment. The projects demonstrated the effective involvement of communities operating as contractors. Overall, the experience of the communities, local authorities and support team was very positive. The results were presented to the Cities Alliance meeting in Manila in November 2007. ILO will do further work on community infrastructure during this biennium (2008-2009) to fine tune the tools developed and broaden its experience.

A local EIIP specialist is based in the ILO Office in Manila to meet with potential partners in Government and the donor community to promote the “Infrastructure and Jobs” component of the ILO programme, discuss and identify new opportunities for collaboration, assist the ILO Manila Office in introducing and explaining the “Infrastructure and Jobs” programme component in official an unofficial meetings and establish linkages with the UN work on Livelihoods to integrate the “Infrastructure and Jobs” component in this work.

A new area of work will be on “green EIIP jobs”. The ILO recently approved a project (RBSA) to further expand “infrastructure and jobs” activities to crisis affected areas and develop a Guide for local government units on enhancing disaster preparedness and risk reduction through the use of local-resource based work methods including employment-intensive works technology. Activities during 2008-2009 will include the identification and scoping of selected disaster preparedness interventions in cyclone prone areas in central Philippines, the implementation of demonstration projects in collaboration with local agencies, the development of a Guide on using local resource-based methods to create employment and reduce poverty in a crisis response context and the training of local government units in scoping and implementing disaster preparedness and risk reduction projects through employment intensive methods. The demonstration projects which will be implemented to enhance disaster risk preparedness and reduce disaster risk will also generate “green EIIP jobs”.

Further Reading on Philippines