- Population: Almost 101 million (July 2015 est.)
- Urbanization: 44.4 percent lives in cities (2015)
- Life expectancy: 69 years (2015 est.)
- Unemployment rate: 6.8 percent (2014 est.)
- Population living below poverty line: 25.2 percent (2012)
- Access to improved water sources: 91.8 percent (2015 est.)
- Access to improved sanitation facilities: 73.9 percent (2015 est.)
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in the Philippines
Since Habitat for Humanity Philippines started in 1988, it has served more than 135,000 families with decent housing. With significant scaling up of its activities, HFH Philippines is able to help an average of over 31,000 families annually since 2013. Habitat and its partners also provide families with improved access to clean water, sustainable energy, healthcare, education and livelihood. In responding to natural disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes, HFH Philippines aims to rebuild lives and increase resilience against future calamities.
Housing needs in the Philippines
In the Philippines, nearly four million families are living in unsafe, unsanitary and unsustainable conditions. This was revealed in a housing roadmap study by the Philippines’ Subdivision and Housing Developers Association in cooperation with the Center for Research and Communications – University of Asia & the Pacific. The Philippine government’s current housing policy and mechanisms for housing subsidy have been deemed inadequate to resolve the rising housing deficit. By 2030, the housing backlog will increase to about 6.5 million units. Partnership between the Philippine government, private land developers, corporations and other organizations is key to the formation of a comprehensive and sustainable housing program to address the issue.
How Habitat addresses the need in the Philippines
Habitat for Humanity works with government agencies, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and faith-based groups to build homes and hope. A year after devastating disasters such as the 7.2-magnitude Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda) both in 2013, the Philippines was struck by Typhoons Hagupit (Ruby) and Jangmi (Seniang). Amid helping survivors to rebuild homes and hope, HFH Philippines has set its sights on reducing the total housing deficit in the country by 20 percent in 2020. The official launch of the “WeBuild” campaign in January 2016 will enable HFH Philippines to reach out to even more donors, partners and volunteers across various sectors in achieving its organizational goals. HFH Philippines will further tap the power of social media in raising awareness of its work through the continuous support of its Online Champions. By working alongside families to build homes, international and local volunteers help to further Habitat’s mission to serve more families and create sustainable communities.
Urban renewal and development
Under the regular housing and community development programs, HFH Philippines brings together Filipinos of different creeds, faiths and backgrounds to join hands in developing sustainable communities. HFH Philippines aims to lift Filipino families out of overcrowded, unhealthy living conditions or displacement by providing them with decent shelter in healthy communities.
Youth leadership movement
Young people play an active leadership role in the shelter sector. Through the Habitat Youth Council and Habitat Young Leaders Build movement, they speak out on the need for a nation-wide shelter program, one city at a time.
HFH Philippines provides immediate and long-term solutions to families affected by disasters and living in disaster-prone areas through its disaster response and risk mitigation program. In addition to building disaster-resilient homes and repairing damaged homes, training is also conducted to help communities prepare for natural disasters and other calamities.
Awareness raising and advocacy
HFH Philippines believes that every Filipino has the right to decent shelter and promotes dialogue between civic organizations, government, lawmakers, private sector, media and the academe to make shelter a priority. Filipinos are also stakeholders in HFH Philippines’ effort to rally the nation to solve the housing deficit.
Meet a Habitat family
For a shack that she described as a “pigsty”, Rowena Donaire and her family had to pay 500 pesos (over US$10) a month in rent. “We had to live with the stench every single day.” She worked part-time by washing laundry while her husband had a job making hollow blocks at a construction supplies factory in Ormoc. Saving money was out of the question as their monthly earnings were barely enough to cover food, rent and their daughter’s education.
Then Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, hit Tacloban city where the Donaire family lives, in November 2013. Neighbors helped to house them after their shack was damaged. They relied on relief items from various organizations. “There were times when we couldn’t get any food and we had no choice but to go hungry,” said Rowena.
Rowena did not want to return to living in a shack so she applied for a new house with the Ormoc Community Cooperative, a local organization that was partnering with Habitat for Humanity Philippines to help disaster-affected families in the city.
Since the Donaire family moved into their new home in 2015, their lives started to change. “I feel like we’re living in a mansion. We’re safer now and more comfortable,” said Rowena.
“We used to get water from a deep well and boil it. Now, we have that,” she said, pointing to the hot-and-cold water dispenser. “Before, we only buy rice by the plastic bag. But now, we buy it by the sack.”
Rowena’s husband now has a construction job with higher wages and she resumed part-time work. They can afford to set aside money for the future. Frequent school transfers are a thing of the past for her daughter who does her homework comfortably at home.
“When I was younger, it was my dream to live in a nice house. Now, my dream has come true,” said Rowena.