Society is dominated by a small wealthy
elite, while many Filipinos live in poverty. The most
vulnerable are the rural population, but in the cities
more and more poor people are gathering in shanty towns.
The regional differences are also large. At the
beginning of the 2010s, 26 percent of residents were
estimated to live below the national poverty line (ie
less than $ 1.35 a day). According to the World Bank's
definition, 40 percent of the population was considered
poor at the same time (less than $ 2 a day).
The severe storms that have risen across the islands
have made the fight against poverty more difficult. For
example, many of those who lost their homes in
connection with the typhoon Haiyan in November 2013
still lived in tents or other temporary housing in
August of the following year. Large groups had also lost
their livelihood when stores, agricultural crops,
fishing boats and other things had been destroyed in the
storm. In the reconstruction initiated, efforts are
being made to build better houses in the hope that they
will be able to withstand new storms in the future and
at the same time raise poor families' living standards.
Countryaah Official Site:
Official statistics for population in Philippines, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
There is both public and private care. In recent
years, the government has increased funding for
healthcare. The then Aquino government was especially
focused on reaching the poor population, but they still
have limited access to care and lack money to pay for
private alternatives. Infant mortality has nevertheless
fallen from 72 per thousand born in 1965 to 24 in 2012.
Maternal mortality is significantly higher in the
Philippines than in other large South Asian countries.
According to the UN agency Unaids, in 2014, there
were estimated to be about 36,000 HIV-infected people in
the Philippines, of whom as many as 85 percent of them
had been infected since 2010. Although less than one
percent of the population is infected, the number of new
cases is increasing rapidly, especially among men who
have sex with other men, a large proportion of whom are
relatively young (25 to 34 years). About 12,000 people
participated in various treatment programs in 2015. But
darkness is believed to be high, when someone dies of
AIDS, it is common for pneumonia, meningitis or
tuberculosis to be the cause of death.
Unaids reported in 2017 that the Philippines has the
fastest rate of HIV infection across Asia. The number of
new cases was estimated to have increased by 140 percent
between 2010 and 2016.
The retirement age is 65, but many employees quit
working at the age of 60. For some groups, for example,
miners working underground, 60 years apply.
In recent years, the position of women in society has
been strengthened. In 1992, women got as much rights as
men for inheritance. In terms of level of education and
access to care, the gaps between men and women have
decreased significantly. In the cities there are many
women in prominent position. According to a report on
world equality from the World Economic Forum2017, the
Philippines ended up in 10th place, largely because
women and men have roughly the same level of education
(including higher education), with the exception of some
Muslim areas. When it comes to political influence,
there is a bigger gap, but the Philippines still ended
up in 13th place in the world.
In 2016, just over one in four congressmen were
women, 86 of the 292 members of the House of
Representatives were women and 6 of 24 senators. 12
women were elected governors that year. More women than
men registered to vote and turnout was somewhat higher
among women than among men.
Divorce is prohibited by law. It is common for men to
have multiple families and it gives status to men to
have many children. The courts usually approve divorces
that have taken place in other countries if one of the
spouses comes from another country. In a separation, the
mother usually receives custody of children for seven
years, unless a court decides otherwise. It is also
possible to separate legal and claim divorce (civil
annulment), but those who do so are not entitled to
remarry and it is a lengthy process that costs a lot of
In Mindanao in the south, women have fewer rights
than elsewhere in the country. It allows polygamy and
arranged marriages. Boys can get married at age 15,
while girls can be even younger. In the rest of the
country, 18 years apply, but anyone under 21 must have
parental permission. However, Muslim couples may differ,
in accordance with Muslim family law.
Abortions are prohibited, but hundreds of thousands
of illegal abortions are performed each year. Tens of
thousands of women seek medical help each year because
they suffer from complications after the procedure. On
average, a Filipino woman gives birth to three children.
Several legislative proposals to make contraception
more accessible have fallen against opposition from the
Catholic Church. In 2014, however, a new law allowing
contraceptives could take effect. According to it,
state-subsidized contraceptives should be distributed to
poor couples, sex education will be compulsory in
schools and health care personnel should be trained on
family planning issues. Women who suffer from
complications after illegal abortions are entitled to
care. The hope is that the new law will help to reduce
the high maternal mortality. According to WHO
statistics, about 120 Filipino women die out of 100,000
in connection with pregnancies.
The government has been running a program since 2007,
Pantawid Pamilya - inspired by similar projects in
Brazil and Mexico - where poor families receive
financial support if they let their children go to
school, take them on regular health checks and make sure
they are vaccinated.
In 2013, more than 1,600 rapes or rape attempts were
reported. The number of abuses is believed to be
considerably greater than that and few perpetrators are
convicted of rape. It appears that women arrested by
police are subject to rape or other sexual abuse.
Prostitution in connection with tourism is a major
problem. In 2003, prostitution legislation was
introduced that is similar to the Swedish one, that is,
customers are criminalized. But the punishment is often
mild, and few are sentenced except in cases where
someone has exploited a minor. Since a new law was
passed in 1996, the authorities have been actively
working to combat child sex trafficking.
Human trafficking is another major problem. Many
women are exploited in the sex industry in Asia, as well
as the Middle East, North America and Western Europe.
Other forms of forced labor also occur, abroad and
within the country. The victims are usually poor
Filipinos from the countryside who moved to the cities,
especially those who fled the violence in the south.
The authorities are trying to fight human
trafficking, including measures to help vulnerable
people even before they leave the country. In 2009,
several people, including a police officer, were
sentenced to long prison sentences for human smuggling.
In 2011, two Swedish men were sentenced to life
imprisonment for human trafficking. They had run a
brothel over the internet. Three Filipinos were
sentenced to 20 years in prison at the same time.
In 2012, a criminal investigation was initiated
against a pedophile network where the perpetrators, many
of whom were in the western world, including Sweden,
paid to see children being exploited sexually streamed
over the internet. In 2012, a new law was introduced
that forbids cybersex. About 60,000-75,000 children are
believed to be exploited in the sex industry.
The crime rate is high. In many parts of the country,
but especially in Mindanao, there are so-called death
squads who carry out their own law enforcement and
murder criminals, and often people from poorer
conditions, thieves, drug addicts and gang members. The
war on drugs started by Duterte at the time of his
takeover in 2016 meant a stronger grip on these groups
in other parts of the country as well. According to
Human Rights Watch, up to 12,000 people had been killed
by the end of 2017. Several thousand of them had been
killed in connection with police operations, but the
vast majority had fallen victim to death squads (see
Current Politics and Political System).
LGBT rights organizations were started relatively
early in the Philippines, and the first gay parade in
Asia was held in the Philippines in 1994. However, there
is some discrimination against LGBT people (homosexuals
and transgender people). Ahead of the 2010 election, a
political party, Ang Ladlad (Out of the
closet) for LGBT people had to register after being
twice rejected by the Election Commission, partly
because of objections from the Catholic Church. The
Supreme Court had then ruled that the Election
Commission's decision was contrary to international
agreements on political rights. However, the party has
failed to win any place in Congress.
FACTS - SOCIAL CONDITIONS
23 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean
90.5 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to
76.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a
percentage of GDP
4.4 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person
US $ 129 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament
30 percent (2018)
The road network has major shortcomings. The
country's main road is the Pan Philippine Highway which
extends from Laoag in the north to Zamboanga in the
south. An upgrading of the roads is ongoing. Most of the
passenger and freight traffic takes place by road.
Despite the lively traffic, there is a great lack of
transport in Manila and the surrounding area.
The commuter train system in the capital has
been greatly expanded since the 1990s and several new
routes are underway. Construction of a metro system in
the metropolitan area began in 2019 with the help of
A special feature of public transport is the
so-called jeepneys, which from the beginning were
rebuilt military jeeps adorned with colorful patterns.
However, older vehicles will be taken out of traffic
from 2020, due to emissions and shortcomings in safety.
In the hinterland most people travel by bus. Train
traffic is available at Luzon and Panay. The formerly
worn railway on Luzon began renovating in 2006 and new
sections are being built, partly with the help of
Maritime traffic is important. The largest ports are
in Manila, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and
Davao. The local ferries are often worn. In 2008, 800
people were killed when a passenger ferry crashed into a
storm after ignoring a typhoon warning. The merchant
fleet is worn out and many vessels are not seaworthy. In
2013, almost a thousand Filipino ships were registered.
International airports are located at Manila (Ninoy
Aquino International Airport, named after the current
president's father who was shot dead there in 1986),
Cebu, General Santos and Davao. The national airline
Philippine Airlines flies both nationally and
internationally. The airline market has been deregulated
and new companies have started operating in recent
Former US military bases Subic Bay and Clark have
established themselves as transhipment stations for
freight traffic via ships and aircraft respectively.