«by: MA. ALETHA A. NOGRA Civil Def fense Offic III cer Office of Civil D e Defense-Departmen of Natio Defen nt onal nse R Republic o the Philippines ...»
The OCD has nine powers and functions under the law. These powers and functions play a critical role in creating an enabling environment for the institutionalization of disaster risk reduction and management in the Philippines down to the community-level. Among these nine powers and functions, I would like to highlight the establishment of a Disaster Risk reduction and Management Training Institutes in suitable locations for the Philippines, in order to train public and private individuals in DRRM. Presently, the OCD is taking concrete steps for the establishment of the Training Institute, particularly in Luzon first, in collaboration and support with concerned stakeholders. The Institute shall consolidate and prepare training materials and publications, books and manuals to assist DRRM workers in the planning and implementation of DRRM programs and projects. Part of the functions of the Institute are to conduct research programs to upgrade knowledge and skills and document best practices on DRRM and a periodic awareness and education programs to accommodate new elective officials and members of LDRRMCs. The latter is to particularly address the constant change in political leadership brought about by regular elections in the Philippines and to continuously educate the new leaders about DRRM.
The next function which I would like to highlight is for OCD to create an enabling environment for substantial and sustainable participation of CSOs, private groups, volunteers and communities, and recognize their contributions in the government’s DRR efforts. This paper will discuss the institutionalization of Gawad KALASAG, and other recognitions which have evolved such as the Seal of Disaster Preparedness, and Bakas Parangal.
Section 10 of RA 10121 provides for the organization of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) at the Regional Level which shall coordinate, integrate, supervise, and evaluate the activities of the LDRRMCs. The RDRRMC is the responsible body to ensure disaster sensitive regional development plans, and in case of emergencies shall convene the different regional line agencies and concerned institutions and authorities.
The Chairperson of the RDRRMC is the designated Civil Defense Officer and in the case of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Chairperson is the ARMM Governor. A Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center shall be established by RDRRMC as an operating facility on a 24-hour basis.
One of the breakthroughs of this law is the organization of Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the establishment of a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office at the local levels. The previous local Disaster Coordinating Councils (DCCs) are now known as local DRRMCs and the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management functions shall be assumed by the Barangay Development Council (BDC). A local DRRM Office is mandated to be established permanently in every Province, City, Municipality and a BDRRM Committee in every Barangay to address the constant change in political leadership of the local government unit after every elections. The permanent DRRM Office with permanent staff dedicated to DRRM programs and projects will pave the way for the institutionalization of risk reduction and management programs in all local governments in the Philippines even if there are changes in political leadership after every election. The LDRRM Offices will have permanent staff dedicated for administration and training, research and planning and operations and warning. The LDRRMOs and the BDRRMCs shall organize, train and directly supervise the local emergency response teams and the Accredited Community Defense Volunteers (ACDVs). Aside from these, the LDRRMCs have 25 overpowering tasks of delivering their respective communities to resilience.
B. The NDRRM Framework
On June 16, 2011, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework (NDRRMF) was approved by the executive committee of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The framework is in conformity with and captures the essence and priorities of Republic Act 10121.
The Framework envisions a country which has a “safer, adaptive and disaster-resilient Filipino communities toward sustainable development.” The goal is to have a paradigm shift from reactive to proactive DRRM wherein men and women have increased their awareness, understanding on DRRM with the end in view of increasing people’s resilience and decreasing their vulnerabilities. Our aim is to empower leaders and communities and to develop the “right” mindset and positive behavioral changes towards reducing and managing risks and lessening the effects of disasters. This term is about building back better or building on from our learnings, good practices, research and experiences, helping us address the underlying causes of our vulnerability and increasing our ability to adjust to the situation before us. By being adaptive, we learn to innovate and go to the next level.
Disaster-resilient communities are achieved when the risk reduction efforts have been successful and have made the people stronger (in a positive way and not just in terms of their coping mechanism), increasing their ability to bounce back after a disaster. It is important to instill the culture of safety by increasing people’s capacity to bounce back and decrease disaster losses and impact. In the end, DRRM is all about addressing the underlying causes of people’s vulnerability; building their individual, collective and institutional capacities and building back better within people’s live become sustainably better.
The country is challenged by increasing disaster and climate risks caused by dynamic combinations of natural and human-induced hazards, exposure, and people’s vulnerabilities and capacities. There is an urgent need for the country to work together through multi-stakeholder partnerships and robust institutional mechanisms and processes so that Filipinos will be able to live in safer, adaptive and disaster resilient communities on the path to developing sustainably.
This DRRM framework emphasizes that through time, resources invested in disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness and climate change adaptation will be more effective towards attaining the goal of adaptive, disaster resilient communities and sustainable development. The Framework shows that mitigating the potential impacts of existing disaster and climate risks, preventing hazards and small emergencies from becoming disasters, and being prepared for disasters, will substantially reduce loss of life and damage to social, economic and environmental assets. It also highlights the need for effective and coordinated humanitarian assistance and disaster response to save lives and protect the more vulnerable groups during and immediately after a disaster. Further, building back better and building better lives after a disaster will lead to sustainable development after the recovery and reconstruction process.
This NDRRM Framework which serves as the principal guide to disaster risk reduction and management efforts in the Philippines shall be reviewed on a five-year interval or as may be deemed necessary in order to ensure its relevance to the times.
C. The NDRRM Plan According to the NDRRMC, 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 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 to forth the need to develop common tools to analyze the various hazards and vulnerability factors which put our communities and people into 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.
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.
In accordance with the NDRRMF, through the NDRRMP, the country will have a “Safer, adaptive and disaster resilient Filipino communities towards sustainable development.” This will be achieved through the four distinct yet mutually reinforcing priority areas, namely, (a) Disaster Prevention and Mitigation; (b) Disaster Preparedness; (c) Disaster Response; and (d) Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation. Each priority area has its own long term goal, which when put together will lead to the attainment of our country’s over goal/vision in DRRM.
These priority areas are not autonomous from the other nor do they have clear start and end points. The 4 priority areas are NOT seen as a mere cycle which starts in prevention and mitigation and ends in rehabilitation and recovery. They... (a) Mutually reinforce each other and are interoperable; (b) DO NOT, SHOULD NOT and CANNOT stand alone; (c) Have no clear starting nor ending points between each of the aspects and overlaps are to be expected; (d) Are problem-needs and asset-strengths centered; and (e) All point to one direction reduce people’s vulnerabilities and increasing their capacities.
In summary, the NDRRMP has 4 priority areas with 4 long term goals; 14 objectives; 24 outcomes; 56 outputs; and 93 activities.
The priority area on Disaster Prevention and Mitigation provides key strategic actions that give importance to activities revolving around hazards evaluation and mitigation, vulnerability analyses, identification of hazard-prone areas and mainstreaming DRRM into development plans. It is based on sound and scientific analysis of the different underlying factors which contribute to the vulnerability of the people and eventually, their risks and exposure to hazards and disasters.
Disaster Preparedness provides for the key strategic actions that give importance to activities revolving around community awareness and understanding; contingency planning;
conduct of local drills and the development of a national disaster response plan. Risk-related information coming from the prevention and mitigation aspect is necessary in order for the preparedness activities to be responsive to the needs of the people and situation on the ground. Also, the policies, budget and institutional mechanisms established under the prevention and mitigation priority area will be further enhanced through capacity building activities, development of coordination mechanisms. Through these, coordination, complementation and interoperability of work in DRRM operations and essential services will be ensured. Behavioral change created by the preparedness aspect is eventually measured by how well people responded to the disasters. At the frontlines of preparedness are the local government units, local chief executives and communities.
Disaster Response gives importance to activities during the actual disaster response operations from needs assessment to search and rescue to relief operations to early recovery activities are emphasized. The success and realization of this priority area rely heavily on the completion of the activities under both the prevention and mitigation and preparedness aspects, including among others the coordination and communication mechanisms to be developed. On-the-ground partnerships and the vertical and horizontal coordination work between and among key stakeholders will contribute to successful disaster response operations and its smooth transition towards early and long term recovery work.
The Rehabilitation and Recovery priority area covers employment and livelihoods, infrastructure and lifeline facilities, housing and resettlement, among others. These are recovery efforts done when people are already outside of the evacuation centers.
The NDRRMP recognizes that certain concerns cut across the 4 DRRM priority areas.
These include health, human-induced disasters, gender mainstreaming, environmental protection, cultural sensitivity or indigenous practices, and the rights based approach. They are a combination of issues and approaches that should be taken into consideration in each of the priority areas.
However, specifically for the priority areas on Response and Rehabilitation and Recovery, Operational Timelines were used primarily to give an overall guidance on “rapid” time element in providing humanitarian activities and recovering from the disasters. Likewise, the operational timelines will guide the plan’s implementation and monitoring activities for the two priority areas.
In each of the activities under the NDRRMP, agency leads and implementing partner agencies and/or groups were identified. Following RA 10121, the overall lead or focal agency for each of the four priority areas are the vice-chairpersons of the National DRRM Council.