MANILA -- More than 20 million poor Filipinos have no protection against emergencies, a senator pushing micro-insurance said Wednesday.

Senator Loren Legarda said the government must include micro-insurance coverage in its policies, citing data from the finance department that only 2.9 million Filipinos living in poverty have insurance.

Micro-insurance, a type of insurance with low premiums and limited coverage, can help provide a buffer for poor Filipinos at risk from disasters.

"Disasters drive the poor deeper into poverty. It is the poor that languish in evacuation centers that pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after every disaster," she explained.

She said the government should consider tax breaks on micro-insurance products to keep insurance companies from passing the cost on to policyholders.

She said poor clients will also benefit from better regulation of the micro-insurance sector. (Jonathan de Santos/Sunnex)