Groups call for greater voice for people’s organizations and other changes in DRRM Law
Quezon City, Philippines — Various civil society organizations (CSOs) comprising of non-government organizations (NGO) and people’s organizations (PO) convened recently to gather local voices and consolidate their recommendations for the sunset review of RA10121, also known as the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 or the DRRM Law.
Exactly 5 years ago today, the Philippine Congress enacted the DRRM Law, which mandates the national government to develop a comprehensive DRR plan and local government units to develop localized DRRM plans, establish DRRM offices, and tap DRRM funds to strengthen Philippine disaster risk reduction management. However, a more inclusive and bottom-up approach to the implementation of the law remains to be one of the concerns of the CSOs, as they call for more participation of the CSOs and communities in disaster preparedness.
Gathered at a Forum last May 19-20, 2015 at the Institute of Social Order inside the Ateneo de Manila University campus were the Partnership of Philippine Support Service Agencies (PHILSSA), Aksyon sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima (AKKMA), and the Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO) explored the many issues of RA 10121 and its implementation. Christian Aid through the Scaling Up Resilience in Governance (SURGE) supported the Forum.
SURGE is a consortium of four (4) international NGOs aims to build and increase the resilience of high-risk communities by promoting inclusive community-based disaster risk reduction practices and taking the learning to other communities in the Philippines.
Participants from different parts of the country reflected and discussed on the results of their regional consultations, inputs from national organizations working on DRR, and the initial feedback from the Office of the Civil Defense on their own consultations on how the law can be improved. They more specifically focused on DRR financing, lessons on rehabilitation efforts from recent major disasters, CSO participation, particularly how People’s Organizations (PO) can have a voice in the DRRM Councils, and, how to ensure the country’s DRR policy after the sunset review would be inclusive and strong in its community-based framework while reflecting the recently negotiated Sendai Framework.
According to Mifael Lauderes of Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNET), “We are treated as data sources and not as development partners. Rehabilitation plans were mainly top to bottom and there was no consultation in the communities.”
“Why is there no PO representation in the NDRRMC and local councils? We want our voices to be heard, too, especially because we belong to the more vulnerable sector and because it is us who experience these disasters and who know what our communities need,” said Jose Morales, National Convenor of Aksyon Para sa Kahandaan sa Kalamidad at Klima (AKKMA), a network of urban poor people’s organizations in 7 regions of the country.
Inclusive DRR was also brought up in the recommendations taking into consideration children, women, elderly and persons with disabilities (PWD), who have different needs and increased vulnerabilities.
Another issue that was brought up was the DRRM Fund which, according to the group, is not enough to fund all DRRM needs especially for more vulnerable communities such as 4th and 5th class LGUs. “Local government units need to be creative on how they can best tap sources of funding for DRR activities such as preparedness, mitigation and adaptation rather than be fixated on investment on response,” said Sixto Donato Macasaet, Executive Director of CODE-NGO. “They only need to have an honest to goodness DRR plan that is done by the communities themselves in order to take into account the needs of everyone,” Macasaet added.
In June 2015, the groups will officially publish their recommendations to contribute to the preparatory phase of the process as Congress opens its final session for the term in July 2015. The recommendations of the group will be handed to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, Congress, and Senate in time for the sunset review of the DRRM Law. The Office of Civil Defense, the Secretariat of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), are doing a similar undertaking.
ABOUT SCALING UP RESILIENCE IN GOVERNANCE (SURGE)
SURGE is a consortium composed of Christian Aid, Handicap International, Oxfam and Plan International. It aims to build and increase the resilience of high-risk communities by promoting inclusive community-based disaster risk reduction practices and taking the learning to other communities in the Philippines. SURGE also lobbies for improvements in disaster risk management policies and practices by using evidence from experience. SURGE is supported by the European Union humanitarian aid.
ABOUT CHRISTIAN AID
Christian Aid is a Christian organization that insists the world can and must be swiftly changed to one where everyone can live a full life, free from poverty. It works globally for profound change that eradicates the causes of poverty, striving to achieve equality, dignity and freedom for all, regardless of faith or nationality. It is part of a wider movement for social justice and provides urgent, practical and effective assistance where need is great, tackling the effects of poverty as well as its root causes.
ABOUT AKSYON SA KAHANDAAN SA KALAMIDAD AT KLIMA (AKKMA)
AKKMA is a coalition of community organizations actively advocating for DRR-CCA in seven regions of the country.
ABOUT THE PARTNERSHIP OF PHILIPPINE SUPPORT SERVICE AGENCIES (PHILSSA)
PHILSSA is a network of social development non-government organizations based in urban centers nationwide with a mission of prototyping innovative paradigms of sustainable development for the effective empowerment of urban sectors, namely, the slumdwellers, the formal and informal labor force, the youth, women, children, and the development workers themselves. Currently it is comprised of 60 partner-NGOs engaged in varied fields of development service, such as education and training, research and documentation, legal service, socio-economic and other technical support, issue and policy advocacy, and other innovative endeavors.
ABOUT CAUCUS OF DEVELOPMENT NGO NETWORKS (CODE NGO)
CODE-NGO is the largest coalition of competent, credible and committed development CSOs in the Philippines which aim to influence public policies, shape development and create tangible impact in its partner communities. It is composed of 6 national and 6 regional CSO networks representing 1,600 NGOs, POs and cooperatives nationwide.