The city of Calbayog is located on the western coast of the island of Samar. It is one of the bigger cities in the region, with over 186,000 inhabitants. Traditionally, people have lived off agriculture and fishing, but there is also some industry.
Samar is one of the regions in the Philippines that needs assistance. Many people live in informal settlements. Very often, there is no safe drinking water or proper sanitation facilities. The mortality rate in the region is high, in part due to malnutrition but also due to the lack of health care.
Since 1972, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Calbayog.
Children in the Philippines experience various forms of violence. Around 2 in 3 children and young people are reported to have experienced physical violence and 2 in 5 experience psychological abuse. Rates of sexual violence and peer violence are also high in the region. Children are often exposed to violence at school.
The Philippines continues to be a source, transit and destination country for commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is also one of the top countries globally producing sexual digital content using children. This makes children and young people particularly vulnerable to sexual violence here.
Many adults suffer from major diseases in the Philippines. Nearly a quarter of those who are currently 30 years old are likely to die before their 70th birthday from the following: cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or chronic respiratory disease.
Families affected by these major diseases are at risk. When parents fall ill or die, children are left especially vulnerable. Their schooling might be interrupted and they may lack family support in general, sometimes leading to neglect. Rates of violence and abuse are very high in the Philippines, and children and young people without support systems are particularly unprotected.