DRRNetPhils Policy Support for the Philippine DRR Law
The DRR Law was passed into law in May 2010. It provides a mechanism for a sunset review after five years of implementation to assess the law’s effectiveness and evaluate accomplishments, impacts, and performance. The review also identifies gaps and challenges in the law’s implementation, and proposes remedial legislation, if needed. As part of the sunset review process, DRRNetPhils conducted consultation workshops and made policy recommendations for the law’s implementation.
The Philippine RA 10121 DRR Law aims to address the growing threat of disasters and increase the efficiency of disaster response by providing a framework for disaster risk management. It also promotes the participation of civil society organizations and the private sector in disaster management, as well as the empowerment of local and regional disaster management bodies. The law also mandates the establishment of a Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee in each barangay, which serves as the primary focal point of disaster relief efforts.
RA 10121 provides a framework for disaster risk reduction, and mandates that LGUs develop DRRM plans and tap funds from the national disaster risk reduction fund. It also provides coordinating mechanisms between science-based institutions and LGUs. However, despite its provisions, the implementation of RA 10121 is not always adequate. For example, many evacuation centers lack basic sanitation and water facilities, and early warning systems are not accessible to persons with disabilities. Furthermore, some DRR plans are not inclusive of the views of marginalized groups.
As part of the RA, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) is responsible for coordinating and implementing the DRRM efforts in each region. It should coordinate and monitor DRRMCs’ activities, and should also establish a regional DRRM Council, which is the primary coordinator of DRRM activities in the country. Furthermore, the NDRRMC should formulate a working framework for disaster risk reduction, taking into consideration the needs of different sectors. The NDRRMC shall also work in synergy with other agencies and take the voice of the community into consideration. The NDRRMC shall be the guiding document for all DRRM activities, and shall be reviewed every five years.
Increasing accountability and dedicated action are necessary for effective disaster risk management. The DRR Law seeks to engage public concerns and respond to underlying factors that contribute to disaster risk. Such factors include climate change, poor land management, population growth, unsustainable uses of natural resources, and weak institutional structures. Disaster risk reduction can address these challenges through a multi-sector approach.
One such mechanism is the Energy Charter Treaty, which was signed in 1994 and entered into force in 1998. While it is a vital tool for international cooperation, it is also in need of updating. However, suggestions for reform have so far largely omitted important questions such as investor-state dispute settlement, environmental protection, and climate change mitigation.
As of today, the Russian government has made it difficult for DR holders to convert their underlying Russian shares into their own currency. As a result, many of them converted through non-Russian brokers. This meant that the underlying Russian shares were recorded in these brokers’ accounts. Foreign nominee accounts held by brokers with Russian custodians were blocked as a result of international sanctions and internal policies.
The policy support component of the project included awareness-raising and capacity-building activities. The activities were held with community leaders and representatives, aiming to increase community awareness on the importance of DRR and empower them to advocate at the local level. The lessons learned in these activities were used to formulate policy recommendations for the DRR law. For instance, the law recognizes the role of local government units as first responders in disasters, and aims to empower them to protect their communities.
The DRR policy was implemented at the school level, but there were significant gaps in the DRR activities and knowledge levels between project and non-project schools. As such, the school-based DRR program needs to be strengthened. The DRR policy can be implemented more effectively if it is complemented by legislation.
Implementation of the DRR Law requires increased accountability and dedicated action on the root causes of disaster risk. The DRR approach addresses these root causes, including climate change, unsustainable land management, demographic change, and weak institutional structures.
DRR Law’s advocacy is a critical part of the organization’s mission to improve the protection of people with disabilities. The organization promotes and defends their rights under disability-related laws, and provides information and technical assistance on these laws. DRR also provides training on disability-related policies, advises communities, and monitors compliance with federal disability laws.
In DRRM law’s advocacy, civil society organisations (CSO) play a vital role. The law recognizes the important role of civil society in DRRM and gives CSOs four seats in National and Local DRRM Councils, an inter-agency institution charged with the coordination, policy-making, and implementation of DRRM activities.
DRRNetPhils was active in the Sunset Review process, and was one of four CSO representatives in the National DRRM Council. The organization also served as an official representative in the Technical Working Group that drafted an amendatory bill. The amended bill is currently undergoing hearings at the House of Representatives. In the advocacy process, the DRRNetPhils and other stakeholders identified gaps and challenges in the law and identified policy recommendations.