The role of LGUs, local councils during disasters

Michael Bueza

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Local government units are expected to be at the frontline of emergency measures in the aftermath of disasters, according to the 1991 Local Government Code

MANILA, Philippines – When a disaster hits the country, it’s not always the national government that acts first.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is tasked to come up with a framework for disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), as well as supervise preparations for, and responses to, natural calamities and human-induced disasters.

However, local government units (LGUs) are expected to be at the frontline of emergency measures in the aftermath of disasters to ensure the general welfare of its constituents, according to the Local Government Code of 1991.

As first responders, they should be proactive in performing disaster-related activities, from preemptive evacuation to the restoration of people’s livelihood.

Every LGU should also create a Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (LDRRMP) covering 4 aspects of DRRM as specified in NDRRMC’s framework, namely: disaster preparedness, response, prevention and mitigation, and rehabilitation and recovery.

These LDRRMPs should be consistent with the National DRRM Plan, and be implemented by Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices in every province, city and municipality in the country.

Republic Act 10121, the enabling law of NDRRMC, also provides for local DRRM councils, and specifies levels of coordination between NDRRMC and the local councils. The workflow and coordination is supposed to ensure and facilitate quick response before, during, and after disaster situations.

Read more about the roles of local officials and the function and composition of the local DRRM councils below.

» Roles of local government officials during disasters

Provincial Governors and City/Municipal Mayors

  • Carry out such emergency measures as may be necessary during, and in the aftermath of, man-made and natural disasters and calamities
  • Submit a report when unexpected events and situations arise at any time during the year, particularly when man-made or natural disasters or calamities affect the general welfare of the city, province, region or country 

Provincial and City/Municipal Councils

  • Provide relief services and assistance for victims during and in the aftermath of said disasters or calamities and their return to productive livelihood following said events;
  • Adopt measures to protect the inhabitants of the city from the harmful effects of man-made or natural disasters and calamities

Other Local Officials

  • Be at the frontline of delivery of services related to their line of work, particularly during, and in the aftermath of, man-made disasters and natural calamities

» Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRM Fund)

  • Local government units (LGUs) should set aside at least 5% of their estimated revenue from regular sources as LDRRM Fund to support pre-disaster preparedness programs and post-disaster activities
  • 30% of the LDRRM Fund is allocated as Quick Response Fund (QRF) or stand-by fund for relief and recovery programs
  • LDRRM Fund can be transferred to other LDRRMCs put under a state of calamity upon recommendation of the local disaster risk reduction and management office
  • Unexpended LDRRM Fund shall accrue to a Special Trust Fund for LDRRMC activities within the next 5 years
  • Any Special Trust Fund unutilized after 5 years shall revert back to the LGU’s general fund

» Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMCs)


  • Approve, monitor and evaluate the implementation of local DRRM plans
  • Annually review, test and develop the local DRRM plans, consistent with other national and local planning programs
  • Ensure the integration of disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation into local development plans, programs and budgets as a strategy in sustainable development and poverty reduction
  • Recommend the implementation of forced or preemptive evacuation of local residents, if necessary


  • LGUs have the primary responsibility as first disaster responders
  • Private sector and civil society groups shall work with NDRRMC and concerned local DRRMCs

» Coordination between NDRRMC and local councils

The following take the lead in certain scenarios:

  • Barangay Development Council, if one barangay is affected by a natural calamity or human-induced disaster
  • City/Municipal DRRMC, if 2 or more barangays are affected
  • Provincial DRRMC, if 2 or more cities/municipalities are affected
  • Regional DRRMC, if 2 or more provinces are affected
  • NDRRMC, if 2 or more regions are affected

» Composition of local councils

Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC)

Regions I to XII, CAR and CARAGA Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Metro Manila
  • Chairperson: Regional Director of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) under the Department of National Defense (DND)
  • Vice Chairpersons: Regional Directors of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)
  • Members: Executives of regional offices and regional field stations of the government agencies that are members of NDRRMC
  • Chairperson: ARMM Governor
  • Vice Chairpersons: Regional directors of DSWD, DILG and DOST, and the executive director of the Regional Planning and Development Office (RPDO)
  • Chairperson: Chairman of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)
  • Vice Chairperson: OCD Regional Director, National Capital Region (NCR)
  • Members: 
    • Executives of MMDA departments/offices/field stations operating in NCR
    • All other national government agencies operating in NCR

Provincial/City/Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council

Not limited to the following:

  • Chairperson: Local chief executive (Governor or Mayor)
  • Members:
    • Local Planning and Development Officer
    • Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer
    • Local social welfare and development officer
    • Local health officer
    • Local agriculture officer
    • Local gender and development officer
    • Local engineering officer
    • Local veterinary officer
    • Local budget officer
    • Division Head/Schools Superintendent/District Supervisor of the DepEd
    • Highest-ranking officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the area
    • Provincial/City Director or Component City/Municipal Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP)
    • Provincial Director or City/Municipal Fire Marshall of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)
    • President, Liga ng mga Barangay
    • Representative of the Philippine Red Cross
    • Four (4) accredited civil service organizations (CSOs)
    • One (1) private sector representative
    • Optional Members:
    • Provincial Director or City/Municipal officer of the DILG and the DENR
    • Local official of the Philippine Coast Guard or Philippine Forest Guard
    • A representative of the Sangguniang Bayan or Lungsod (city or municipal council)

Barangay Development Council (BDC)

  • Chairperson: Barangay captain
  • Members:
    • the Sangguniang Barangay (barangay council)
    • representatives of NGOs operating in the barangay (they will constitute not less than ¼ of the whole barangay council
    • a representative of the Congressman of the legislative district where the barangay is situated


Sources: Republic Act 10121, Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10121, Local Government Code of 1991

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Michael Bueza

Michael is a data curator under Rappler's Tech Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.