Community involvement in DRRM a must for the typhoon season
MANILA, Philippines – With the unprecedented damages caused by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November 2013, the Philippine government called for a strengthened and enhanced Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM).
This includes capacitating and empowering communities in mainstreaming DRR. In fact, Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine DRRM Act calls to “develop and strengthen the capacities of vulnerable and marginalized groups to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recover from the effects of disasters.”
“The truth is, we cannot stay in Haiyan-hit areas for a long time,” said Allen Molen, World Vision DRR Coordinator for East Leyte. “We will be leaving soon and chances are, if we do not invest on capacity building of the people, our presence here will not have any impact aside from providing their immediate needs.”
Community Voice in Action
In January 2015, World Vision facilitated interface meetings between local government officials and the community members to talk about their respective town’s DRR plans.
“We didn’t know that we can actually influence the local government in implementing laws. All these years, we just keep on following,”admitted Rosalina, one of CVA core group members from Alang-Alang, Leyte.
CVA is a local-level advocacy approach that aims to empower communities to influence the quality, efficiency, and accountability of public services.
As part of the core group, Rosalina went through several training and capacity-building activities like community organizing and DRR training to better build her confidence. “Now that we are face-to-face with the local officials, especially our Mayor, I am more confident to speak up,” she said, adding that the interface meeting is an empowering moment for her.
“I can now boldly suggest for transparency and for services that we deem necessary for us in the community.”
Local government leaders, on the other hand, find the meeting a good avenue not just to listen to the communities’ inputs but also to update them on what is going on in the municipality, particularly on DRR initiatives. This creates a space where they can articulate the hows and whys of people’s recommendations.
“I appreciate this meeting because the people were suggesting for transparency in our budget but they are not even aware that the town has even won an award on transparency,” explained Alang-alang Mayor Loreto Yu.
“So if they are able to give their inputs, we are also able to give ours,” he added.
Roberto Dazo, Zone Manager for East Leyte, stressed the need for DRR community training and functional structures, “Generally, the local government units were open to the feedback from the people and most of the discussions were about the way forward instead of pointing fingers.”
After the stakeholders came up with their proposed interventions for each of the 10 DRR monitoring standards, the Municipal DRRMC had the time to sit down with World Vision to discuss partnership potentials.
“Within this month, we will be discussing their detailed plan of activities and how we can support their initiative,” said Dazo. He added that the town of Alang-Alang committed 3 DRR staff to work with World Vision’s DRR Coordinator, while the towns of Dulag and Dagami promised two staff for technical support.
“As for our CVA core groups, their role after the planning is to monitor the implementation of all the agreed plans,”said Patricia Domingo, Advocacy Manager. She further stressed that CVA members were capacitated not just in advocating for DRR programs, but also in ensuring that all plans will be completed.
“It feels good to be part of something like this,” Rosalina shared. “If all of our agreed plans materialize, which we plan to really look after, then we’re more confident that we are better prepared for disasters.” — Rappler.com
Joy Maluyo is a communications officer for World Vision, a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice.