Corruption, poverty and human rights are the major social issues in the Philippines. Corruption in the Philippines deters trade and economic development in the region, according to a senior U.S. diplomat.
Philippines corruption is considered the most serious among East Asian nations. This widespread corruption includes embezzlement, bribery and benefits bestowed unfairly by government officials on certain individuals. All levels of Filipino government experience corruption. High-level government employees are the worst offenders. Businesses distrust the legal system due to the widespread belief that court personnel are incompetent and corrupt.
Poverty is also a major social problem in the Philippines. As of 2012, more than one-fourth of the Filipino population earns income below the poverty line of 16,841 pesos. The decline in poverty in the Philippines has happened more slowly than in other nations in the region. The poverty rate in the Philippines is about the same as in Haiti, as of 2012.
Human rights abuses in the Philippines include violations of civil liberties by various security forces. The forces are known to be responsible for disappearances, torture, unlawful detentions and killings. Prison conditions are poor, and the corrupt judicial system makes the legal process inefficient. Improper police actions target political activists, atheists and Muslims. Abuse and forced prostitution of women and children are also major concerns.