What do I need to know?
- What agencies are likely to play key roles in the response and follow-up recovery planning?
- What are the laws that govern disaster management in the Philippines?
- What is the relationship between national and local level government on disaster management?
- What have been the primary obstacles to further progress on preparedness and risk reduction?
Building back better
- What funding sources do local governments have available for disaster preparedness?
- What are the classifications of municipalities that are often mentioned in Filipino reports and documents?
- What is the role of local government?
- What is the Red Cross partner history on disaster preparedness in the Philippines?
- Who are other potential partners?
- Who are potential champions for disaster preparedness in the Philippines?
- Evacuation worked well where it took place – Evacuation away from low-lying coastal areas saved lives (e.g. as documented in http://www.unisdr.org/archive/35524), but Typhoon Hiayan/Yolanda also showed the need for strong, fortified community shelters to which people could evacuate.
- Not enough public understanding of storm surge – need to improve risk communication to promote better understanding of this threat.
- Communications are a weak link – need to invest in alternative failsafe systems (e.g. radio, with links to local authorities in primary cities and towns) and backup power systems.
- Public not planning for worst case scenarios – more attention need on scenario planning for extreme scenarios
- Worst case scenarios will overwhelm local capacities – need mutual aid plans to guide external assistance through twinning relationships and other partnerships
- Weak housing stock contributed to debris and damage – need safer designs that feature a fortified core (i.e. safe room) for housing and shelters. Designs need to be fit-for-purpose in terms of providing and protecting shelter.
- There are still other worse case scenarios out there – Typhoon Haiyan / Yolanda will likely serve as a new benchmark for planning, but we need to do a better job of risk identification and scenario planning.
- Not all risks can be eliminated – need to strengthen planning for how to handle residual risk (e.g. through evacuation, insurance, etc.)
- Cannot rely on external help in the first days after a catastrophic disaster – families and communities need to do own preparedness planning for this initial period, including maintaining supplies for 5-7 days in waterproof bags.
Many of these points were taken from an interview with Marqueza Reyes on ABS-CBN news in the Philippines.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is the part of the Philippine government responsible for ensuring the protection and welfare of the people during disasters or emergencies and for leading assessment and planning for disaster recovery. The NDRRMC itself is a council made up of the Secretaries from the different departments of the government and various outside organizations, including representatives from city associations and NGOs. The NDRRMC is supported by a staff who are part of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) which is situated under the Department of National Defense.
- Task force in charge of recovery and reconstruction
This task force is established by the President and is co-chaired by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) which oversees planning and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), which oversees implementation.
NEDA is an independent cabinet-level agency of the Philippine government responsible for national economic development and planning. NEDA also play an important role in guiding oversee regional and local development councils. In disaster events, NEDA typically serves as the vice-chair of the task force in charge of recovery and reconstruction.
NEDA also coordinates the creation and maintenance of the Philippines Development Plan (PDP) which is the primary national planning guidance document. Over the past 5 years several efforts have been made to more effectively integrate disaster risk management into the PDP. With the success of decentralization in the Philippines, the most significant opportunities for this integration may actually be at local level in cities and barangay. One of the primary lenses for the PDP is increasing competitiveness, so efforts to link recovery and development planning will do well to highlight how resilience benefits competitiveness.
- Social welfare
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is the co-chair of the Response component under the NDRRMC and through its Risk Reduction and Management Program Division leads the planning, coordination and monitoring of all disaster response efforts.
- Accountability -- FAiTH website
The government has established website -- Foreign Aid Transparency Hub (FAiTH) – to provide transparency on how local and international aid for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda is being used. So far the tracking has focused primarily on the flow of funds and resources in, not necessarily what is being allocated/distributed, where and how.
Multi-donor trust fund?
The World Bank established a multi-donor trust fund in Aceh in response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 to coordinate the actions of bi-lateral government donors. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) appears to be considering to establish such a trust fund.
- Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNetPhils)
DRRNetPhils brings together a wide range of civil society organizations working in the Philippines and played a key role in lobbying for RA 10121 – the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010.
- Links to climate change
The Philippines government has been active proponent of climate change adaptation (CCA) and has established a Climate Change Commission to guide CCA efforts within the Philippines. The Philippine Congress has also been active on CCA and has successfully lobbied the government to allot P500 million for a People's Survival Fund (PSF) to help make local government units more resilient to climate change and prepared for calamities (although the funds for the PSF remain unbudgeted). The government has also been a strong proponent of tying carbon footprints to adaptation funding so that those countries that are not carbon emitters would subsidize the adaptation costs sustained by countries who are not net emitters (like the Philippines). While public commitments to CCA have been strong in the Philippines, implementation of adaptation measures has been hindered by the lack of the same type of cascading government structure that exists from national level to local level on the disaster risk management side.
- RA 10121 – National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act was passed by the Philippine government in 2010. Notable features of the law include:
- Integrated approach that includes Prevention & Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Rehabilitation & Recovery
- Expansion of responsibilities of national, regional and local disaster coordinating councils to include more explicit roles in risk reduction and disaster management
- Integration of disaster risk reduction education into the school curricula
- The Philippines has a unique cascading of government structures for disaster management that establishes parallel councils from the national level down to the barangay (town/village) level. These include:
- 1 National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC)
- 17 Regional DRRMCs
- 79 Provincial DRRMCs
- 122 City DRRMCs
- 1, 512 Municipal DRRMCs
- 42,026 Barangay DRRMCs
- RA 10121 and other laws passed by the government have provided solid plans, but there have been significant question marks around implementation, both in terms of the funding made available to support implementation and the consistency in approach throughout all levels of government. While individual provinces and cities have stood out in their efforts, the commitment of provincial and local governments across the board has not been consistent.
- Focus has been largely on role of government not community-based approaches.
Building back better
Multi-hazard approach to preparedness
The area affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda (like most of the rest of the Philippines) is prone to multiple hazards. In this situation multi-hazard approaches to building back better are essential to ensure that preparedness is not being built just for the most recent disaster event.
There have been significant efforts in the Philippines supported by UNDP and others to strengthen risk identification and PHILVOCS and PAGASA in particular are agencies with strong experience in risk identification. In Leyte and Samar, GIZ has supported several projects in the last 5 years which have integrated significant risk analysis into preparedness programs, which would make them a strong candidate for partnering.
For an overview of hazard exposure in the affected area and elsewhere in the Philippines, the Manila Observatory has published a series of risk maps for different provinces in the Philippines.
- Safe housing and settlements
Traditional Filipino houses incorporate a variety of disaster resilience features including the use of:
- stilts to raise houses off the ground (to prevent flood damage)
- lightweight materials (to reduce wind damage)
- local materials (to enable easy repair)
Building on this type of approach to resilient housing, an Italian developer has outlined a series of tips on building structures for extreme weather conditions to match some of the approaches above using modern building materials.
Effective settlement planning has been another challenge to building resilience in the Philippines. Given the existing built environment, solutions are needed for public private partnerships to redevelop existing settlements in safer ways – providing buffer zones to protect against flooding, better routes for evacuation, and improved infrastructure for community sheltering and essential services. AusAid has led a program on reconstruction/resettlement in the Taguig municipality in Metro Manila that has been exploring options for designing and implementing such community reconstruction programs.
Recent recovery experience in Haiti and elsewhere has highlighted the importance of integrated approaches that link livelihoods with preparedness and resilience measures. In the Philippines UNEP has been pursuing a drain cleaning / livelihoods initiative in Metro Manila to strengthen community-level approaches to flood resilience. The American Red Cross has been involved in creating a similar program in Jakarta with PMI; so this might be good opportunity to partner with PMI using the Jakarta program as a model. While drain cleaning may not be the priority to protect against the storm surge and wind damage experience with Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, debris removal will be an important strategy for both recovery and ongoing disaster preparedness (since debris materials contributed significantly to the wind and storm surge damage).
Making sure that school facilities are safe (to protect students and offer places for community sheltering) and that youth are promoted as leaders for preparedness and resilience initiatives provides a solid anchoring point for preparedness measures in community services and institutions. UN-ISDR has recently launched a new crowdsourcing-based initiative in the Philippines called “How Safe Is Your School?” to encourage community members to evaluate and rate the safety of schools in their communities. This school campaign could be a potential starting point for a wider set of Red Cross activities with schools. Save the Children and Plan International are also active both active in the Philippines and would be potential partners for school-based youth activities on preparedness and resilience.
- Distinguishing preparedness and risk reduction
One factor which seems to be of concern in Asia in particular is balancing institutional readiness to respond and community resilience in preparedness activities promoted by the Red Cross. These two aspects are in fact strongly linked through the role of local RC/RC branches. However depending on the strength of branches and the extent to which they currently reflect and represent local communities, these aspects can seem separate and competitive with one another. However ultimately a balanced approach with both inward- and outward-focusing capacity development is needed.
Recent recovery experience has shown that flexibility to adapt programming approaches is often an essential factor for success in strengthening long-term community preparedness and resilience. When you interact with a complex system (such as a local market or economy), you cannot precisely predict the results. You have to be willing to watch closely after interventions, look for appropriate patterns of change and adapt intervention strategies as needed.
LDRRMF – The Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) is a unique program in the Philippines that encourages local government investment in disaster risk reduction. The LDRRMF builds on a long-standing directive from the national government to local governments to set aside 5% of their budgets as a local calamity fund. Starting in 2012, the government introduced new legislation to authorize local governments to use up to 70% of these funds to support pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures.
The LDRRMF features the following key provisions:
- Section 21 of RA 10121 states that not less than five percent (5%) of the estimated revenue from regular sources shall be set aside as the LDRRMF to support disaster risk management activities such as, but not limited to, pre-disaster preparedness programs including training, purchasing life-saving rescue equipment, supplies and medicines, for post-disaster activities, and for the payment of premiums on calamity insurance.
- Of the amount appropriated for LDRRMF, thirty percent (30%) shall be allocated as Quick Response Fund (QRF) or stand-by fund for relief and recovery programs in order that situation and living conditions of people In communities or areas stricken by disasters, calamities, epidemics, or complex emergencies, may be normalized as quickly as possible.
- Unexpended LDRRMF shall accrue to a special trust fund solely for the purpose of supporting disaster risk reduction and management activities of the LDRRMCs within the next five (5) years.
The LDRRMF is a triumph for decentralization in the Philippines. In many examples elsewhere, roles and responsibilities for disaster management have been decentralized without attention to whether adequate funding is available to fulfill this mandate. By i) requiring that local governments set aside a portion of their operating budgets for disaster management and ii) encouraging local governments to use a significant portion of that funding for pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures, the Philippines has developed a set of initial components for a comprehensive local government risk financing mechanism system that scales easily through existing budgeting structures.
Beyond the existing provisions, two further improvements have also been discussed. The first is to encourage risk pooling among local governments (to address imbalances between budget levels and risk exposure). The second is to encourage use of insurance to provide short- and medium- term fiscal protection against catastrophic risks during the time required to bring online necessary preparedness and risk reduction measures which may take 10-20 years to fully implement.
- Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2013-1: Allocation and Utilization of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund
- RA 10121 – National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act in 2010
Municipalities in the Philippines are classified according to their average annual income during the previous four calendar years:
|Class||Average annual income (₱ million)|
|First||55 or more|
|Second||45 – 55|
|Third||35 – 45|
|Fourth||25 – 35|
|Fifth||15 – 25|
|Sixth||less than 15|
- Local planning and regulation
- Delivering goods and services
- Infrastructure and service delivery
- Environmental management
- Disaster management
- Managing local fiscal revenues
- Taxes, fees, and charges, but can serve as incentives and disincentives
- The Danish RC has a history in the Philippines going back 10 years or so, although they may not have had any active programs in the Philippines immediately before Typhoon Haiyan. Knud Falk (now with the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre) would know more about these programs. An overview of the approach from this program is available here.
- Partners for Resilience, a consortium of the Netherlands Red Cross, Climate Centre, and a set of Netherlands NGOs (including CARE-Netherlands and CORDAID) have been working on resilience projects with the Philippines Red Cross over the last 2-3 years. Raimond Duijsens and Bruno Haghebaert would be good contacts to learn more about their activities and partnership with the Philippines Red Cross. Additional information about the Partners for Resilience initiative is also available here.
- The Philippines Red Cross has invested in the development of a volunteer engagement program called ‘143’. The goal of the program is to have 44 Red Cross volunteers in each village consisting of 1 leader and 43 members.
- GIZ (formerly GTZ, the German development agency) was doing a fair amount of work in Leyte and Samar over the last 5 years that involved climate and flood modelling. They have also done a range of other work in the Philippines that has include governance and micro-insurance. Contact: GIZ Office Philippines, e-mail: email@example.com, tel: +63 2 6515100)
- overview of GIZ programs in the Philippines
- overview of relatively recent GIZ DRM program in Leyte and Samar
- The Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) is a civil society organization in the Philippines that has long supported training and capacity development for community-based disaster risk management.
- The Earthquake and Megacities Initiative (EMI) is a hybrid organization that is part network, part consulting firm. It is but headquartered in Manila. EMI has been very active in looking at supporting local governments to pursue disaster risk management and has been key advisor on various UN-ISDR and World Bank GFDRR initiatives.
- The Asian Disaster Preparedness Center has supported the Philippines government in rolling out the Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE) and Hospital Preparedness for Emergencies (HOPE) program in the Philippine and has held training courses as recently as July 2013 in the Iloilo City for the Western Visayas. These programs could provide a potential springboard for further disaster preparedness programs.
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has committed $23 million in grant funding and $500 million in loans to the Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda response and recovery. In the past the ADB has made grants of up to $3 million available to the Philippine government for response efforts and the suggestion has been made to encourage the government to transfer those funds to the Philippines Red Cross (because of difficulties for the government to effectively spend the funds and provide related invoices). So depending on the assistance planned between the ADB and the government, the Red Cross may again be a useful conduit or channeling mechanism. The ADB has also been very interested to increase its support and engagement with civil society organizations over the last 3-5 years and may see this as a good opportunity to strengthen those ties. Similar opportunities likely exist with the World Bank.
- City associations are strong networks in the Philippines and run a variety of training programs for local officials. They include the League of Cities and League of Municipalities.
- Diaspora communities are a strong feature of the Filipino community worldwide and within the Philippines. Filipinos living outside the Philippines may be a source of continued recovery funding if that see that the Red Cross programs are strong and helping those in need. Local diaspora communities also exist within the Philippines, especially in Manila and Cebu, and may be a strong source of volunteers or skilled technical assistance, especially for short periods of time. It may be feasible to mobilize large numbers of volunteers with ties to Leyte and Samar to return to those areas for focused recovery and preparedness activities.
- Co-operatives have a strong history in the Philippines, especially in rural areas. With their established networks, co-operatives can be a strong partner for micro-finance or micro-insurance initiatives.
- Gawad Kalinga is one of the strongest civil society organizations in the Philippines. It is a spin-off of a group called Couples for Christ and has developed an impressive scale of housing and community development programs across the Philippines.
- The Peace Corps has a relatively large program in the Philippines and a number of volunteers already focused on disaster preparedness work.
- The Mormon Church has a strong presence in the Philippines and its volunteers are renowned for their language skills and knowledge of local communities.
- Senator Loren Legarda has been a champion of disaster risk management and climate change adaptation in the Philippines, sponsoring a variety of discussions and pieces of legislation on relevant issues. She has worked closely with UN-ISDR on a variety of activities.
- Governor Joey Salceda is the current governor of the province of Albay and has been recognized internationally for promoting disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Ligao and other parts of the Albay province.
- Importance of women and children as resources, not just victims or beneficiaries.
- Need to align preparedness activities with work of the Education Cluster.
Philippines Red Cross and Danish Red Cross, 2005, “Preparing for Disasters: A Community-based Approach”, http://preparecenter.org/resources/preparing-disaster-community-based-approach
ProVention Consortium, 2009, “Mainstreaming disaster risk reduction into development: challenges and experience in the Philippines”, http://www.preventionweb.net/files/8700_8700mainstreamingphilippines1.pdf
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