In the Philippines, Handicap International delivers aid and services to the most vulnerable victims of natural disasters and runs ongoing disaster-risk reduction programs to help people with disabilities prepare for future disasters. Building the capacities of local providers so they can offer improved cardiovascular care is another goal. The organization currently employs 40 Filipino and four expatriate staff members. 


Handicap International has been working in the Philippines since 1985. The Philippines is one of the world's most disaster-prone countries. The typhoons and their side-effects, including landslides, storm surges and flash floods, are the most frequent and devastating natural disasters. In the past 20 years, natural disasters have killed more than 31,000 and affected more than 98 million people in the Philippines. They strike populations with violent force: Typhoon Haiyan hit the country in November 2013, and left 8,000 people dead, created four million displaced people, and adversely affected more than 15 million people. Since development in the Philippines is highly unequal, Handicap International's strategy focuses on the country's poorest areas, where the population is most exposed to disasters and conflicts, and where public services are lacking. As in many developing countries, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are growing problems. 

The Philippines has ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Legislative measures have been in place since 1982, and a major law to protect people with disabilities was promulgated in 1992. It emphasizes their right to participate fully in society and to access training and employment, education, health and social services and public transport on an egalitarian basis.


Disaster Response

Following natural disasters, Handicap International has set up fixed and mobile units to provide mobility aids, adaptive devices, protection items, and shelter kits to those most in need and ensure that they have access to food, water, and health services. The response targets people with disabilities or severe medical conditions, children, expectant mothers, mothers with young children, female heads of households, and the elderly. After Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the most violent typhoon ever recorded, Handicap International launched an emergency response intervention in the provinces of Leyte and Capiz. The organization’s teams deployed a logistics platform to help ensure humanitarian aid could reach the most isolated areas. They also distributed 1,390 tents to people whose homes had been destroyed, and supported the process to rebuild shelters for 900 households. Today, the organization is still helping 700 highly vulnerable households affected by the typhoon, by providing them with financial and technical assistance, so that they can rebuild homes that are safer and better able to withstand natural disasters.

Disaster Risk Reduction

Handicap International helps vulnerable people prepare for natural disasters by sharing and disseminating disaster risk management training tools with government offices and local organizations. Nearly 57,000 stakeholders in 13 provinces have benefited. Handicap International also encourages the authorities to draw up contingency and evacuation plans, which specifically take people with disabilities into account. 

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

Handicap International helps service providers in Davao City to implement an integrated approach to the management and prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension. The project comprises several activities designed to raise awareness about the prevention of diabetes and build the capacity of service providers. The organization also provides training and supplies essential equipment for healthcare professionals. Handicap International is taking steps to raise the awareness of diabetes sufferers regarding the existing care options.

Inclusive Development and Livelihoods

To help people with disabilities and vulnerable families in the municipality of Baras recover economically from past typhoons, Handicap International sponsors livelihood programs and empowers local disabled persons organizations to advocate for their rights. The organization also ensures that people with disabilities have access to social welfare services.