More on the Philippines

A lower-middle-income country, the Philippines has a food deficit that is exacerbated by the combined effects of man-made and natural disasters that include earthquakes, typhoons and armed conflict. As one of the world's most disaster-prone countries, it ranks third out of 171 countries on the 2015 World Risk Index and fourth out of 188 countries on the 2016 Global Climate Risk Index. The Mindanao region has suffered from over four decades of armed conflict, resulting in internal displacements and overall deterioration of living standards. The people of the Central Mindanao region are the country’s poorest.

The World Food Programme (WFP) works closely with the Government of the Philippines, other United Nations agencies, non-governmental organizations and communities to support poor and vulnerable people in the Philippines, particularly those affected by the conflict in the Mindanao region. WFP focuses on increasing long-term food and nutrition security while assisting people and communities to build resilience to be better prepared for the consequences of disasters.

What are the current issues in the Philippines?

  • Armed conflict

    Armed conflict in the Mindanao region between the Philippine Government and the separatist groups known as the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) continued for more than 40 years before a 2010 peace deal. The long-running violence has harmed living standards and contributed to the country’s high rates of poverty. Between 2000 and 2010, over 40 percent of families were displaced at least once because of the conflict.

  • Natural disasters

    The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, experiencing around 20 typhoons a year - five of which are expected to cause major damage and trigger floods and landslides. In addition, the country is also vulnerable to the occurrences of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and climate-related issues such as drought.

  • Poverty

    Although national levels of poverty have been decreasing since 2006, decades of armed conflict have left the Mindanao region with some of the country’s poorest people. This is seen in significantly lower rates of primary-school completion and stunted growth (caused by chronic malnutrition) among children aged under five in this region, compared with the rest of the Philippines.

    According to the 2015 Global Hunger Index, the food and nutrition situation in the Philippines is rated as “serious” - despite steady improvements since the 1990s, positioning the country at 53 out of 104 countries. Prevalence of undernutrition remains an issue of public concern.

What is the World Food Programme doing in the Philippines?

Although WFP’s work in the Philippines dates from1968, WFP re-established our presence in 2006 at the request of the Government to support the ongoing peace process in the Mindanao region.

  • Rebuilding lives

    WFP helps communities affected by conflict and natural disasters to rebuild their lives by encouraging self-sufficiency through food and cash assistance programmes. People are given food or cash and vouchers in exchange for their participation in asset-creation activities and vocational skills training aimed at strengthening their livelihoods and building resilience to shocks.

  • School meals and nutritional support

    WFP provides school-age children in conflict-affected areas of Central Mindanao with hot, nutritious meals, giving them one-third of their daily micronutrient needs. Every school year, over 65,000 children in Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, and Lanao del Sur are supported with school meals. Teachers and parents prepare the meals that let children concentrate on their studies rather than their stomachs.

    WFP also provides nutritious, ready-to-eat food to children aged 6 months to 59 months, and to pregnant and nursing women in areas affected by conflict and natural disasters, giving infants the chance to achieve their full growth and development potential. Based on the 2015 National Nutrition Survey, wasting (acute malnutrition) and stunting (chronic malnutrition) among children in WFP's operational areas in Mindanao remained a problem at 7.1 percent and 33.4 percent respectively in 2015, which are higher than the national prevalence and above the acceptable range as defined by the World Health Organization.

    To support our nutrition intervention in the Philippines, WFP has pioneered innovations to improve children’s health, such as a special micronutrient powder for children aged 6 months to 23 months. WFP also developed a locally-produced fortified food for children aged 6 month to 36 months, in partnership with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute.

  • Preparing for disasters and emergency response

    WFP works with the Government and other organizations to help the Philippines strengthen its resilience to natural disasters and climate change. WFP’s work helps vulnerable and disaster-prone communities prepare for and respond to shocks through local community projects, innovative scientific technology, and capacity enhancement of logistics and supply chain management through the establishment of disaster response centers in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

    As one of the leading humanitarian actors worldwide, WFP stands ready to help the Philippine Government respond to emergencies such as earthquakes, typhoons and volcanic eruptions. WFP provides support such as rice and high-energy biscuits to affected people to help them begin recovery. WFP also provides logistics and telecommunications support to the humanitarian community during emergencies.

Featured Philippines publications

  • Philippines: WFP Country Brief (PDF, 359 KB)

    A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.

Looking for more publications on Philippines? Visit the Philippines publications archive.