Medical Mission and Community-Based Learning

July 29 – August 09, 2019

Tondo is a historic working-class district in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. But despite its proximity to the country’s seat of power, it remained a marginalized cluster of urban poor communities. It covers a big part of the city bordered by the port area in Manila Bay, the fishing port in Navotas, the Divisoria and Binondo commercial centers, and an old manufacturing hub in south Caloocan.

The Tondo communities near the port area are home to the poorest sections of the Manila population. Many residents are minimum wage earners in the harbor and nearby factories while the rest are part of the informal sector working as vendors, pedicab drivers, and even scavengers. Poverty and malnutrition rates among children are highest in this part of the city.

Tondo is the face of Philippine poverty. It was once the site of the infamous ‘Smokey Mountain’, a Manila dumpsite. The garbage has been removed from Tondo but not poverty and its notoriety as a slum area.

Basic services are sorely inadequate and even non-existent in many barangays (villages). Residents are threatened with eviction to pave way for so-called disaster preparation, environment protection, and business promotion. The government has recently embarked on a campaign to ‘rehabilitate’ Manila Bay. But many suspect the real intent is to enable the reclamation of Manila coastal areas  which would mean the displacement of Baseco, Parola, Hapilan, and other Tondo communities. Both the local and national governments have already signed contracts with real estate developers and big business ventures to transform a big part of Tondo into a casino and shopping destination.

Since 2016, Tondo has become the center of Tokhang drug-related extrajudicial killings in the country. Police operations have orphaned many children aside from inflicting trauma to many survivors. Tokhang has hampered the delivery of vital services such as health and education.  

It is in this light that the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) invite concerned members of the community in the US to a medical mission in Metro Manila from July 29-August 4, 2019

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