In response to the Tropical Storm Washi, which struck the southern Philippines in December 2011, budget revision 5 (see below) to the Philippines protracted relief and recovery operation (PRRO) 200131 aims to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to 250,000 of the most vulnerable flood-affected people for three months.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is one of the poorest regions in the Philippines, with Maguindanao province reporting the highest number of poor households. Central Mindanao’s high poverty levels are due in large part to over four decades of recurrent armed conflict that has uprooted communities and caused extensive damage to infrastructure. In 2008 and 2009, a major upsurge in armed conflict led to the displacement of some 700,000 persons and the death of approximately 500 people (soldiers and civilians), devastating productive assets, livelihoods, houses and schools.
According to the January 2010 Emergency Food Security Assessment (EFSA), 70 percent of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnee population are currently experiencing food insecurity. Moreover, a nutrition and food security assessment in 2009 showed extremely high levels of Global Acute Malnutrition among children between 6-24 months (22 percent) as well as among children under 5 years (9.6 percent).
Since mid-2009, although a state of fragile ceasefire has allowed significant numbers of IDPs to return and resettle, approximately 100,000 people remain displaced while sporadic conflict and political and religious tensions persist in the region. The situation is exacerbated by disputes over land ownership, the unpredictability of climatic conditions and high indebtedness. In addition, the global food crisis affected the Philippines severely and deepened food insecurity in Central Mindanao, particularly among 400,000 of the most vulnerable people who have yet to recover from the crisis.
WFP and partners have been supporting the return and resettlement of IDPs to their places of origin through EMOP 10489.1, which ends in June 2010. Meanwhile, Emergency Food Security Assessments of 2009 and 2010, as well as a decentralized evaluation of EMOP 10489.1 conducted in August 2009, have confirmed the need for continued assistance to conflict-affected and other food insecure households in Central Mindanao in line with the growing shift of support from relief to recovery assistance.
This Protracted Relief and Recovery Operation (PRRO) is proposed to follow on from the current EMOP 10489.1, with the overarching goal of supporting peace building and early recovery of IDP, returnee and other food insecure households and strengthening their coping mechanisms to deal with shocks.
The specific objectives/activities of the PRRO include: (1) Assistance to the most vulnerable IDPs and returnees (WFP Strategic Objective 11) by (i) improving food consumption through provision of food assistance to the most vulnerable; and (ii) reducing malnutrition amongst children 6-24 months of age and pregnant and lactating women through supplementary feeding; and (2) Restoring and rebuilding the lives and livelihoods of IDP, returnee and other food insecure communities (WFP Strategic Objective 3) by (i) supporting the process of retaining and getting children back to school in targeted remote areas through emergency school feeding; (ii) creating/rehabilitating productive assets through food for work; and (iii) supporting skills training and diversified livelihoods schemes in targeted communities through food for training.
The PRRO’s objectives contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger (MDG 1), reducing child mortality (MDG 4) and improving maternal health (MDG 5). The planned operation is aligned with the Government’s food security and nutrition priorities of the Medium-Term Philippines Development Plan. As part of its hand-over strategy, WFP will work closely with the Government and other partners to support WFP-assisted IDP, returnee and other food insecure populations in Central Mindanao improve their access to government services and safety-net programmes. Future WFP engagement in the Philippines beyond this 18-month PRRO will be strongly influenced by a strategic programme review planned for 2011 and by the 2012-2016 United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) scheduled to start in January 2012.