During the subregional workshop on social protection, the research findings in the Philippines, involving 1000 respondents from six information-rich communities with PATAMABA’s organizational presence, were presented by Dr. Rosalinda Pineda Ofreneo (National Research Coordinator for the Ford project ) and the PATAMABA homeworker community leaders themselves who had actual social protection experiences.
Insights from the following case study sites were discussed: PATAMABA Damayan (mutual aid) in San Francisco, Bulacan; community-based health- micro insurance scheme (AHMI) with a housing component, in Angono, Rizal; SSS-Automatic debit Account (ADA) scheme in Balingasa, Quezon City; the indigenous social protection scheme in Apugan; microfinance program in PATAMABA Region 6 (Iloilo and Antique provinces) and the ORT- Health Plus Scheme (OHPS), a non-profit community health insurance program in La Union. (For more information on these schemes, see Homenet Southeast Asia News Magazine, Vol 3, No1 April 2005 and the www.homenetseasia.org website).
The findings revealed that the current situations present a challenge to traditional notions of economic and social security tied to formal government run systems where women informal sector workers are barely covered; and if ever they are granted access, cannot even sustain their contributions due to income insecurity. Study findings also surfaced other forms of security that are gaining importance in homebased workers’ lives, such as food, reproductive health, etc.
The overriding concern is to enable women workers in the informal economy to have a secure income, to increase their capacity to meet basic needs and to deal with risks and vulnerabilities, which should inform the national government’s overall agenda in combating poverty.