The Philippines is a country of extreme divergence polarized by its meteoric economic growth, natural – and human – wealth, colonial history, and entrenched poverty. Children and youth (ages one to 18) make up over 40 per cent of the nation’s population and remain a highly marginalized and maltreated cohort in Philippine society whose daily lives unfold within the precarious context of paradoxical encounters between the archipelago’s traditional forces of culture, religion, patrimonialism, and the indelible vigor of neoliberal capitalism with its dogma of modernizing the under-developed. This thesis aims to investigate the complex nature of precarious childhoods in the Philippines and elaborate upon the varying factors which have contributed to the precarious state of affairs in the nation. Besides understanding the different forces which have exacerbated societal precarity (e.g. contemporary political-economy, socio-cultural practices, and Catholicism), this project intends to assess how children’s rights discourse and rights-based practices to development have unfolded in the country. Through multidisciplinary analytic lenses, an interdisciplinary literature review, and in-depth interviews with key informants, the present thesis will highlight why precarity has become a ‘life condition’ for a vast number of Filipino youth and children, and how rights-based approaches to development and children’s empowerment are directly at odds with normative Filipino socio-cultural practices. By utilizing up-to-date academic and journalistic sources, the precarious plight of Filipino children and youth will also be located within the wider context of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, and in doing so I will showcase how the initiative has constituted as a step towards the criminalization of poverty.