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The Philippines

The Philippines is positioned on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean, north of Malaysia, and is the second largest archipelago on the planet with over 7000 islands. It has been a Spanish and then American colony, gaining independence in 1946. The 93 million people in the Philippines predominantly speak Filipino and the main religion is Catholicism.

The global financial crisis, food and oil price rises and conflict occurring in some regions have contributed to poverty and inequality. Approximately 26% of the population live below the poverty line (totally around 24 million people). The growth of the economy has been typically characterized by boom and bust cycles and current episodes of moderate economic growth have had a limited impact on alleviating poverty.

The Philippines is also located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, meaning it is prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other natural disasters. The Philippines lost around 30% of its forests over the last century, and although the rate of deforestation has dramatically declined there were a number of contributing factors including excessive logging, natural disasters, changing land use, urbanization, fires and poor reforestation. Such significant loss of tree cover has arguably made the Philippines more susceptible to natural disasters.

Source: AusAID, Worldbank,,

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