Replicating and Upscaling Village-Based and Managed Disaster-Preparedness Hubs in Selected Communities of Benguet and Mountain Province
Problem Statement Define problem statement, the disaster context in which your program is situated and hazards being addressed Benguet and Mountain Province which are both located in the Cordillera Region of Northern Philippines are within the so-called typhoon belt and earthquake fault lines. Thus, they are exposed to environmental catastrophes such as natural disasters of large-scale and relative frequency of occurrence. Weather-related hazards have been more frequent and more volatile while vulnerability of upland, indigenous communities has been growing. During the devastating typhoon Lando in 2015, a total of 821, 559 helpless family victims composed of 3,547,991 persons in the Cordillera Region were gravely affected due to massive destruction of properties, major sources of livelihood like agriculture due to eroded mountains, landslides and sinkholes. The property losses were enormous exceeding the economic capacity in the Region which resulted to economic and social instability with higher intensity.
Such yearly phenomenon is aggravated further by observed weak coping mechanisms of indigenous communities due to lack of tools and institutionalized system to prepare and mitigate disaster-related risks, observed capacity gaps between local government units or LGUs (the so-called duty-bearers) and communities (claimholders) in terms of providing the necessary support and enabling environment from the LGUs. Competencies on disaster-preparedness are weak. Enabling policies and participatory mechanisms are inadequate. Same with institutional systems and procedures on the preparation prior to the occurrence of disaster due to lack of information or database on the ground and absence of information-sharing.
Beneficiary group, how they were selected and their key vulnerabilities The choice of project beneficiaries were based on their exposure to environmental hazards and risks within the Kankana-ey and Ibaloi IP dominated selected project sites given their geographical location, as well as their conditions. The beneficiaries are farmers of Cayapes, Kapangan, Lubo, Kibungan, Bobok-Bisal, Bokod in Benguet Province and Oriente Barangay of Bauko, Mt. Province of whom are also women and youth. Others are also senior citizens who are still strong to work in their farms. The location of their houses and farms are risky because of massive soil erosion that could cover their houses and farms everytime there are typhoons or continous monsoon rains.They do not have alternative areas for them to be relocated because they were born here and claim that they have to reside and die here. This situation make them highly vulnerable. They are also highly vulnerable to disasters because they lack skills and tools to mitigate disaster as well as capacity gaps between their local government officials and the community. They are not also provided with timely, accurate information due to inadequate, effective communication channel as most of them reside in far-flung villages. They are susceptible to hazards due to degraded natural resources as they reside in mountain slopes with high landslides susceptibility. Poor infrastructures, poor land use planning, poor governance and poverty all contribute to their vulnerability.
Program Design Activities, over-all program, goal, impact and outcomes The phase 1 project implemented which is to be replicated and upscaled is a model of village-managed DRRM Hub that was piloted in selected upland, IP communities of the Cordillera Region. The over-all goal of this model adequately prepared and functional disaster prepared indigenous communities capable of mitigating disaster risks and hazards highlight the inclusivity with the participation of vulnerable sectors like women, senior citizens, youth and persons with disabilities. As a village-managed DRRM Hub, the villagers are at the heart of decision-making and implementation of disaster preparedness. In the past, the local government units were solely responsible in DRRM not so much on disaster preparedness but focused on post-disaster activities. The model introduced and piloted shifted power relations from the government to ordinary villagers. There were also innovative tools used to analyse risks, vulnerabilities and capacities such as multi-hazard risks mapping capacity and resource mapping. The results were consolidated into hazards, vulnerability, capacity analysis (HVCA) matrix. Other activities undertaken were the development of multistakeholder partnership which adopts multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach. These are crucial activities that were very effective in Phase 1 which will be replicated and upscaled in Phase 2.
Similarly, the proposed Phase 2 project envisioned to have adequately disaster prepared indigenous, upland communities where stakeholders are able to cope with and reduce the impacts of disaster through functional local systems and organizations in place. This would result to safer, adaptive, resilient communities leading towards sustained quality of life within protected and conserved environment. This, however, necessitates the presence of a well-organized, coordinated and committed local government officials, communities and civil society organizations working together (with the community at the center) to assess jointly available options and develop collective measures, prepare risks avoidance and mitigation strategies.
In short-term, the project intends to achieve reduced loss of lives and properties, livelihood and infrastructures. While in the long-term, it hopes to contribute to reduction in poverty, social inequity and environmental degradation. The over-all outcome is reduced vulnerable conditions and accompanying risk as well as minimize the root causes of vulnerabilities/ risks as a result of proactive involvement of villagers whose confidence, capacities, resources and coping strategies have been enhanced.
The specific outcomes include: (1) positive behavioural change of marginalized, voiceless indigenous villagers to be pro-active and fully involved in identification, analysis, treatment, monitoring and evaluation of disaster risks, thereby, prepared to reduce damage and address potential threats of disasters; (2) improved state of readiness of villagers to disasters as a result of organized, developed and engaged team of duty bearers (government), claimholders (community) and local anchors (CSOs) effectively working together on sound preparedness planning in the village level; (3) established and effectively operating model of village-managed DRRM Hub equipped with effective communication and information strategies and supported by strategic partnerships or linkages with strategic networks.
The major activities to be undertaken to facilitate the achievement of outcomes are:
Confidence and capability-building activities to address adequately potential threats and strengthen preparedness to respond in case of emergency
Organize and develop effective and functional team of local government units, community, CSOs, academe working together on sound preparedness planning that would lead to improve state of readiness to disaster.
Institutionalize exchange of information between LGUs and communities for planning, mapping and operation.
Craft Disaster Preparedness Plans customized to local condition and culture as a result of risks and vulnerability assessments and capability-building activities.
Development of Communication Plans and installation of Information System crafted by a core group of MDRRMO, BDRRMO, CSOs organized to facilitate the formation of village-based DRRM Team equipped and capable of undertaking, hazard and capacities analysis.
Crisis Management Planning with vertical and horizontal Communication Plan to be adopted by the newly organized village-based DRRM Hub.
Sustainability to ensure impact is maintained beyond program village-managed The community plays crucial role in sustaining the project beyond the implementation period. As a village-managed DRRM Hub, the villagers play crucial role in sustaining the project beyond the implementation period due to the sense of ownership that motivates and ensures commitments to sustain what has been started. They need to develop their confidence as well as capabilities to engage their respective local government units and mandated government line agencies like the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to adopt measures for risk avoidance, mitigation or reduction strategies that are integrated the LGUs Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan. Thus, the community’s technical sustainability is ensured.
An enabling environment should also be advocated by the community that is ready to address the continuing challenge of disaster risks. This could be undertaken through policies and participatory mechanisms and installation of institutionalized systems and procedures of LGUs. The availability and presence of faster and effective communication system ensures also sustainability like mobile, internet and radio system that could reach even the remotest upland communities of the province. These are basic facilities that support DRRM Hub which is the principal group to provide information updates, warnings before and even the on-set of disaster.
Potential program risks and how these will be managed The potential risks that could impede the effective implementation of activities and non-realization of goals set could be weakened commitment of stakeholders. Community leaders play crucial role in sustaining interests and active participation of members in the project. Abrupt change or deaths of recognized leaders could hamper the smooth implementation of planned, scheduled activities. To prevent this, second liners of community leaders be identified who are ready to take over if the first set of leaders encounter problems at the height of implementation.
Change of local government officials during election could weaken also the agreed partnership regarding their committed roles, functions and responsibilities in disaster-preparedness. Elected government officials come and go every after election. Such eventuality is usually expected in a volatile governance landscape. Thus, if there will be changes of government officials after every election, the presence of official legal documents adopted by local officials during project implementation like Memorandum of Agreement, ordinance passed by the Municipal Council on Disaster-Preparedness ensure project sustainability as well as the involvement of Council of Elders who are highly respected and have to be obeyed by members of their tribe.
Stakeholders engagement plans The major project stakeholder are the villagers/ community members because they are considered both disaster victims and agents of change. They cannot be passive in this project being recipients of services but they need to be active and demonstrate substantive participation of project activities since they are most familiar with their situation/ existing condition.
As front liners in every disaster event, they are expected to be the “first responders” but, most importantly, is for the LGUs to take the lead in preparing for, responding to and recovering from the efforts of any disaster. The Local DRRM Council oversees the implementation of local DRRM Plans while the Local DRRM Office sets the direction, development, implementation and coordination of DRRM programs and activities. The civil society organizations, the private sector and volunteers play key formal and informal roles in DRRM activities. They complement and enhance the government’s resources and efforts in implementing effective DRRM. Their participation and involvement in all aspects of DRRM from planning to implementation is ensured through their membership at all levels of governance and through an accreditation process.
A Project Management Team was proposed composed of community leader representatives, CSO and DRRMO. Their functions are: To conduct regular monitoring visits in the various project site. To conduct regular area visits and activity updates. To participate in capability-building activities/trainings.
Innovations incorporated in the program design Among the innovations to be introduced in the program are the use of innovative tools to analyse risks, vulnerabilities and capacities such as multihazard risks mapping, capacity and resource mapping (gender and livelihood), institutional and social network analysis. The result of these will be consolidated into hazards, vulnerability, capacity analysis (HVCA) matrix. Another innovation is the development of multistakeholder partnership along with multisectoral and multidisciplinary approach. And, the integration of DRRM Plan crafted by the villagers into the Barangay and Municipal development processes such as the LGU Annual Investment Planning and Budgeting. To sustain the project, the project partners on the village level have established DRRM Fund readily available for emergency as well as household/ community savings from a percentage allocated from sale or income of village social enterprise.