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BRIEF November 26, 2020

Monitoring COVID-19 Impacts on Families and Firms in the Philippines


The first case of COVID-19 infection in the country was reported in January 2020, and by March, the country was placed under strict community quarantine that restricted mobility and business activities. While these measures have slowed the community spread of COVID-19, they resulted in significant adverse impacts on family incomes, jobs, education of children, food security, and businesses.

The World Bank is conducting a series of surveys to provide the data and evidence that can inform the design of policies and programs that meet the needs of families, communities, and businesses in the Philippines. These surveys are conducted in collaboration with the Department of Finance and the National Economic and Development Authority, and supported by the Australian Government.

All papers, presentations, data files, and methodological technical notes will be made available on this website for public use as each round of surveys is completed. Please subscribe to our newsletter and alerts to receive updates when new files are made available.

Firm Surveys

Following an initial survey by the Department of Finance in April 2020, the World Bank conducted a follow-up survey in July 2020 to assess the various channels of impact of COVID-19 on firms, their adjustment strategies, and public policy responses. Three additional rounds of firm surveys are planned to gather information about operational status, impacts on sales, adjustments in workforce and working conditions, changes in demand and supply, competition, and access to finance, government support received and desired, and adaptation to the new normal.

The survey findings from April and July 2020 have been reflected in the government's strategy to reopen the economy and deliver support to firms in need. Succeeding rounds of surveys will further inform the government on how firms have adapted to the gradual reopening of the economy and what support they need to recover and grow again.

Household Surveys

The real impacts on the economy can be seen at the level of families or households. Impacts on businesses are felt in the households as job losses, dramatic declines in incomes, restrictions in movements, which lead to reduced consumption of basic goods and services such as food and health care.

To monitor socio-economic impact over time, a series of four household surveys is planned to monitor welfare changes, including questions that will allow better understanding of family access to basic services, employment, education, health, social support, and government support. One survey round has been completed, and the other rounds are planned for the succeeding quarters of 2021

The quarterly surveys consist of self-administered online surveys sent to household and firm respondents through text blasts and social media ads, and phone surveys of targeted lower income households taken from the partner survey firm’s database. Guided by the World Bank’s COVID-19 survey methodology and measurement task force, the surveys are designed and analyzed using complex weight calculations and procedures that meet global best practices. Results are thus representative of the Philippine population and firms.

Community Surveys

The community-level qualitative surveys aim to better understand the local context and identify the poorest and most vulnerable rural communities affected by COVID-19. Among the information gathered in the survey are access to information and services, community practices and behaviors, community’s priorities for government support, coping mechanisms and economic impacts, and social conflict and cohesion.

In collaboration with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the World Bank identified respondents from the network of barangay officials and community volunteers organized under the DSWD-implemented National Community Driven Development Project (NCDDP).

The first round of the survey gathered baseline data. It was conducted through phone interviews with 180 NCDDP respondents and representing 101 barangays all over the country. The results complement the firms and household surveys, and they reflect the key informants’ general observations, rather than the situation in their own households. Future rounds of the surveys, scheduled through April 2021, will interview the same set of respondents but include new questions to capture changes over time.

Photo by Ezra Acayan/World Bank

Design by Pol Villanueva/World Bank