CAFOD started working in the Philippines in 1969, when a typhoon struck the country. Afterwards we began defending human rights at the height of martial law in the 1970s. Much of our recent work has been on the southern island of Mindanao, where fighting between Islamic separatists and Philippine forces is common.
Why CAFOD works in the Philippines
On 8 November 2013 Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines, tearing apart the lives of more than 14 million people. The typhoon was one of the most powerful storms ever to make landfall, and it left more than five million people homeless. CAFOD responded to the disaster within hours, providing food, shelter, water and sanitation and emergency supplies.
These systems were vital in saving lives when Typhoon Hagupit struck the Philippines in December 2014. Our partners worked with churches, community organisations and local governments to help people evacuate, and distributed water and emergency shelter kits.
In response to coronavirus, a strict lockdown was imposed in the Philippines, with the use of force permitted if people did not comply with the rules. Fears are growing about the human rights violations that may occur within this strict lockdown.
Our work in the Philippines
- In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, we helped rebuild houses and we worked with parishes, community organisations and local governments to ensure that people were better prepared for typhoons.
- We also helped communities to develop early warning systems and to create plans for what to do when disaster strikes.
- In addition to working on disasters, our recent work in the Philippines has included defending human rights, peace building amongst divided communities and training for farmers.