Despite being one of the fastest growing economies in southeast Asia, in recent years declines in poverty have been modest, leaving marginalized groups such as women, children and the elderly, vulnerable to hunger and poverty. Although recent government data for the first quarter of 2016 showed that the country’s GDP expanded by 6.9 percent, up from the 5.8 percent in 2015 annual GDP, poverty incidence remains high at 25.8 percent from the end of 2015.
According to the 2015 Global Hunger Index, the food and nutrition situation in the Philippines is “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. Based on the 2015 National Nutrition Survey, wasting and stunting among children in WFP’s operational areas in Mindanao remained problematic at 7.1 percent and 33.4 percent respectively in 2015, higher than the national prevalence and above the acceptable range as defined by the World Health Organization.
WFP assistance is tailored to reach the most vulnerable in areas where poverty, nutrition and basic education indicators remain well below the national average. WFP supports internally displaced people and returnees through market sensitive food assistance-for-assets options, school meals, and stunting prevention programs for children under two years of age and pregnant and nursing women. WFP provides general food and nutrition assistance through an asset creation program as well as a stunting prevention program.
WFP re-established its presence in the Philippines in 2006 to support the ongoing Mindanao peace process and to help build community resilience to armed conflict, which undermines food security.
Disaster preparedness – WFP supports local government units, academic institutions, civil society and NGOs in strengthening disaster preparedness and risk reduction mechanisms through initiatives such as capacity development trainings, installation of early warning systems, and community-based risk mitigation activities. Many of these efforts draw upon key learnings from the 2013-2014 Typhoon Haiyan emergency to ultimately mitigate potential operational bottlenecks and challenges identified during the large-scale humanitarian response.