The Philippines is a country with a population of over 83 Million people with greater than 30% living below their poverty standards (less than US$4.80 per week). Problems such as corruption, ineffective infrastructure, poor education, poor (or absent) social services and poverty are rife.
Taguig City lies on the western shore of Laguna de Bay and is bordered by Muntinlupa City to the south and Pasig City to the north. It is politically subdivided into 18 barangays (local government districts) with a population approaching nearly 700,000 people covering a geographical area of less than 48sqkm (an area equivalent of less than 7 x 7 km). The socio-economic status ranges from lower middle class to poverty with a high population density of those living in poverty.
JCI’s work is with the poor in the Bagumbuyan region of Taguig particularly focusing on displaced people and people living in and around the Bagumbuyan Cemetery. People here have been outcast and have made their homes amongst the tombs. This area is home to thousands of people with the majority of them children.
Living conditions are tough with survival taking the highest priority. Unemployment amongst the poor is rife and for adults over 35 years old it is almost impossible to get a job. Parents therefore depend on their children for income to support the family.
Homes have no running water, no electricity and cooking is done on open fires or on a gas burner which is very unsafe. People sleep on flat wooden beds or in the actual tombs. Often a family of 4-5 people will sleep in one bed with their ‘home’ being about the size as our bathrooms.
Lifespan is short because of poor nutrition and the absence of basic medical aid. Many people die in their 40′s of treatable conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, such things that we wouldn’t see commonly in our country.
The Philippines has no welfare system and because of the enormity of the problem few even care about their plight. If you can’t afford to live and don’t receive help from others you simply die.
In all of this education and a positive vision for the future takes a dim priority and yet is essential if the children are to rise above these circumstances.
Our vision is to positively effect young peoples lives so that in 10-15 years when they emerge as young adults they can reach their full potential so that they make better lives for themselves, their families and their nation.