Disasters in the Philippines in 2006 affected 8.61 million families (approximately 10.4 per cent of the country's population) and caused the deaths of approximately 3,000 people (3.59 per 100,000 inhabitants). Poverty among 27.6 million Filipinos (more than 32 per cent of the population) increases impact of disasters. Communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, dengue, and HIV continue to pose significant challenges.
In line with the International Federation's Global Agenda, the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) is committed to scaling up the overall impact of its work in the core areas of health and care in the community; disaster preparedness, disaster response, and promotion of the Fundamental Principles and humanitarian
values, in order to reduce vulnerabilities. It will do this by ensuring the right choice of activity, implementing this at sufficient scale and of appropriate quality to make a difference. Within the Red Cross Red Crescent family, sister societies such as Japanese Red Cross, German Red Cross, and Spanish Red Cross; the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provide support to PNRC. Other partners include the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies, International Social Services, and Agencies for International Development. Local partners are led by the National Department of Health, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the National Disaster Coordinating Council, the armed forces of the Philippines, and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration.
This 2009-2010 Plan focuses on organizational development with the primary purpose of increasing the PNRC and local community ("barangay") capacity to address the most urgent situations of vulnerability by maximizing the highly potential resources that PNRC has - the volunteers. The plan consists of three components: organizational management of volunteers; training of volunteers; and enhanced supervision capacity including monitoring and evaluation. It seeks support in managing the 1.8 million or so volunteers who will be recruited, in training and retaining trained volunteers so that they remain committed to the PNRC and to the community. A new training approach utilizing toolkits will be adopted for improved efficiency.
Beneficiaries are the 1.8 million-plus Red Cross 143 trained and motivated volunteers from the 42,000 barangays of the country, and the members of the barangays whom the volunteers will serve.
The total budget for 2009 is CHF 619,917 (USD 566,652 or EUR 394,851) and for 2010 is CHF 619,917 (USD 566,652 or EUR 394,851). This budget is grouped within one organizational development/capacity building programme budget (in support of the Global Agenda Goal 3) and is an integrated approach that cuts across the four Global Agenda core areas of the work of the International Federation in support of PNRC.
The Philippines often ranks among the half-dozen countries in the world most impacted by natural disaster. Data on Human Impact of Disasters from the Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) shows that, in 2006, the Philippines suffered the second highest number of people affected (8.61 million) in 2006, the equivalent to 10.4 per cent of the country's population. In 2006, almost 3,000 people died from disasters (3.59 per 100,000 inhabitants).
Located along the typhoon belt in the Pacific, the Philippines has an average of 20 typhoons yearly (roughly a third of which are destructive), and of all disasters in the Philippines, typhoons claim the most lives.
In 2006, the last four months of the year saw four typhoons, two of which were super typhoons. These events triggered landslides, flashfloods, mudslides, widespread flooding and together with high winds, caused destruction and damage to homes, community buildings, communications facilities, roads, bridges, agricultural crops and fishing farms. The cumulative effects of the typhoons in 2006 caused more than three million persons to be displaced, more than a thousand dead, three thousand more injured, and more than 800 missing. Close to a million houses were damaged. Assessment of damage to agriculture and infrastructure was placed at almost PHP20 billion (CHF 455.7 million).
The Philippines has 22 active volcanoes located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, between two tectonic plates (Eurasian and Pacific) which are volcanic and earthquake generators. Eruptions from the Mayon and Bulusan volcanoes in 2006 affected 37 barangays from three cities and eight municipalities, and displaced about 10,000 families.
In 2005, the national government identified 27 high-risk provinces that are the foci of disaster management-related projects designed to empower people at the community level.
It is important to realize that disasters are not the sole cause of vulnerability. Poverty statistics in 2006 showed that 11 out of 100 Filipino families could not meet the basic food needs. The same statistics showed that 27 out of 100 (from 24 out of 100 in 2003) could not meet the basic food and non-food requirements. This is equivalent to 27.6 million Filipinos, whose limited access to stable income will lead to increasing domestic and international migration, lack of access to health services and lack of access to safe land, hence contributing significantly to the impact of disasters. The proportion of poor people rose to 32.9 per cent in 2006 from 30 per cent in 2003. As the population increases at an annual rate of 2.04 per cent, the effects of poverty are not likely to be reduced.
Communicable diseases continue to pose significant challenges to the Philippines. This country has the ninth highest burden of tuberculosis in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Tuberculosis Report 2006. Tuberculosis is the sixth greatest cause of morbidity and mortality in the country. Approximately 78 Filipinos die from the disease every day. "While the national performance levels are already high, many locales are still below target levels, given the difficulty of breaking down the stigma of tuberculosis that keeps many of those infected from seeking care"(1)
The effects of climate change are felt not only in the magnitude and frequency of disasters but also in the spread of malaria and dengue fever in the country.
The Philippines is a low prevalence HIV country with cumulative registered cases of 3,061 from 1984 to the end of December 2007. Of this cumulative number, 2,754 are still living.
HIV affects Filipino adults during their peak economically productive years (58 per cent of the registered cases were aged 25-39 years old). Current data indicate that young adults, men who have sex with men, people in prostitution, injecting drug users, overseas Filipino workers, and the partners of all these groups are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection.
Compared to the monthly average of 20 in the last five years (2003-2007), the AIDS Registry showed an average of 29 new HIV cases per month for 2007. National adult HIV prevalence remains under 0.1 per cent.
HIV prevalence among the most-at-risk populations remains at 0.08 per cent. But the low prevalence is no reason to be complacent; behaviour change among the most-at-risk-populations and vulnerable populations, continues to be a challenge. All modes of transmission have already been reported but sexual means remain the most common (88 per cent). Condom use among the most-at-risk-populations (for example female sex workers: 65 per cent; men who have sex with men: 45 per cent) is below universal access target and lower among the general population.(2)
PNRC has developed a plan in an effort to scale up their HIV programmes to reduce vulnerability to HIV and their impact through three programmatic outputs: preventing further infection; expanding care, treatment, and support; and reducing stigma and discrimination; bolstered by a fourth enabling output: strengthening the PNRC capacities to deliver and sustain scaled-up programmes. This will be done through the Red Cross Red Crescent Global Alliance on HIV (of which PNRC is a member), and will target returned overseas Filipino workers, youth and people living with HIV.