Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

The enactment of Republic Act 10121 otherwise known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 has laid the basis for a paradigm shift from just disaster preparedness and response to disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). The National DRRM Plan serves as the national guide on how sustainable development can be achieved through inclusive growth while building the adaptive capacities of communities; increasing the resilience of vulnerable sectors, and optimizing disaster mitigation opportunities with the end in view of promoting people’s welfare and security towards gender-responsive and rights-based sustainable development.

Over the past several years, the country has gained a lot of attention and momentum in the area of disaster risk reduction. Numerous projects and activities have been undertaken by various Philippine stakeholders and agencies in DRRM. However, sustaining the positive results and scaling them up to effect rippling positive changes in the lives of the people have been constant challenges. Threats remain. Disasters and people’s risk to disasters are still present.

This is because the underlying causes of people;’s vulnerability has yet to be fully recognized and addressed. For years, DRR has focused more on efforts around disaster preparedness and response and not so much in identifying the hazard-prone areas and other factors which contribute to people;’s exposure to disasters; incorporating risk analysis to development plans; building people;’s capacities towards sustainable livelihood options; and the like. Although DRR has been gaining attention among peoples and institutions, a complete paradigm shift from “disasters as an immediate product of hazards” to “disasters as a function of people’s vulnerability” has not yet fully happened. Also, converging DRR and CCA remains to be a challenge, both in understanding, mainstreaming into plans and policies, including institutional mechanisms. Lastly, gaps in terms of increased knowledge, understanding, and capacities remain and cause a big challenge for the country in terms of DRRM.

The NDRRMP outlines the activities aimed at strengthening the capacity of the national government and the local government units (LGUs) together with partner stakeholders, to build the disaster resilience of communities and to institutionalize arrangements and measures for reducing disaster risks, including projected climate risks and enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities at all levels. It highlights, among others, the importance of mainstream DRRM and CCA in the development processes such as policy formulation, socio-economic development planning, budgeting, and governance particularly in the area of environment, agriculture, water, energy, health, education, poverty reduction, land use and urban planning and public infrastructure and housing among others. Mainstreaming also puts forth the need to develop common tools to analyze the various hazards and vulnerability factors that put our communities and people in harm’s way.

The NDRRMP also highlights the need for institutionalizing DRRM policies, structures, coordination mechanisms, and programs with continuing budget appropriation on DRR from national down to local levels. Through permanent mechanisms, competency and science-based capacity-building activities can be done, alongside the nurturing of continuous learning through knowledge development and management of good DRRM practices on the ground.

Last but not least, the NDRRMP adheres to the principles of good governance within the context of poverty alleviation and environmental protection. It is about partnerships and working together – engaging the participation of CSOs, the private sector, and volunteers in the government’s DRRM programs towards complementation of resources and effective delivery of services to the citizenry.

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