of the Study/ Introduction
Tacloban City and Typhoon Haiyan
For decades, typhoons in the Philippines didn’t normally pass by
Eastern Visayas until 2012 that it started originating on the eastern side of
Mindanao directly hitting the Eastern Visayas. There were lack of efforts to
make the community more resilient to natural hazards and risks. There was a
little support from the authorities to help the residents understand and manage
In November 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Internationally known as
Typhoon Haiyan), almost destroyed Tacloban City. The death toll reached more
than 7,000 and damages to property and infrastructure was estimated to reach
571 billion Php. Humanitarian aid groups that rushed to help the area had no
guide in providing assistance which led to duplication and overlap of
interventions. Who was doing what, where and when was unknown to the local
government unit (LGU). During the emergency phase, more than 100 international
non-governmental organizations were registered in the United Nations Office for
Coordination on Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to provide aid in the aftermath of
the typhoon. National and local political wrangling became an issue that rooted
from the rivalry of political families Aquino and Marcos. At that time, the
nation’s president was Benigno Aquino Jr while Mayor Alfred Romualdez headed
the city. No one wanted to take responsibility and blaming one another became
The Legal Framework and Tacloban
May, 2010, Republic Act 10121 otherwise known as “Philippine Disaster Risk
Reduction and Management Act of 2010” became law. One of its aim is to
promote the participation of all sectors and stakeholders concerned at all
levels, especially the local communities. Section 12 of RA 10121 stated that
there must be an established local disaster risk reduction management office
(LDRRMO) in every province, city/municipality and barangay, which would be
responsible for the direction and coordination of DRRM programs within their
respective jurisdictions. Under the law, the LDRRMOs were to be equipped with
three staff assigned to handle disaster administration and training, disaster
research and planning, and disaster operations.
In 2012, Jerry Uy, a city council member in Tacloban City and
chair of the Committee on Laws, Rules, and Privileges, concerned about the
vulnerability and preparedness of the city with regard to the natural disasters
moved for the approval of the ordinance creating the Tacloban City Disaster
Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO). This legislative measure aims to
help improve the city’s safety and resilience.
However, it faced the following the problems:
Who should lead in protecting
residents before, during, and after natural disasters?
Which office should capacitate
vulnerable sectors in anticipating, coping with, and recovering from the
negative impacts of emergency or disaster?
Which disaster preparedness
structures, measures, and mechanisms are in place?
Should a disaster risk reduction
management office (DRRMO), with permanent and competent staff, plans, programs,
and a budget be created?
addition, the legislative measure didn’t receive the support of Mayor Romualdez
which was shown on the following people he appointed to lead the CDRRMO:
Salvador “Buddy” Estudillo- He initiated the drafting of the
ordinance creating the CDRRMO and the city DRRM plan. He proposed the purchase
and installation of an early warning system, hiring the required personnel for
the CDRRMO, conducting a public awareness campaign and establishing operations
center. With lack of support from the mayor, he gave up his post as the DRRM
Jabs Lagutan- Served for less than six months and was pushed to
accept the position as an additional work. During his term, Typhoon Yolanda hit
Tacloban and he was unable to use the designated calamity fund because it had
been used up by the mayor who ordered the release of Php 3M to cover mobility
and other related expenses.
Deric Anido and Ildebrando Bernadas- Both appointees who only
served for six months
from the lack of support from the local authorities, inadequate funding and a
CDRRM plan without recovery and rehabilitation components, the CDRRM law was
still not amended after Typhoon Yolanda’s destructive effect.
Jerry Uy mentioned “life is at stake” during every calamity so he presented the
following problems on the case:
There is a need for a professional,
responsive, and efficient staff who sees the relevance of community interest. A
competent DRRMO should be appointed as soon as possible.
Calamity fund should be adequate to
respond to the needs of the city.
There should be a civil society
participation on the four slots of the DRRMC which can be given to women, youth
and other vulnerable sectors.
The need to draft an ordinance mapping
the safe and risky zones in the city.
the information presented on the case, we’ll see the problems rooting from some
of the functions of management.
Leadership and coordination
Despite the three-year timeline difference
from the enactment of the DRRM law and the catastrophe brought by Yolanda, it
lacks a clear organization. According to an article by Karunungan (2015), many reports such as that of the Commission
on Audit and observations have pointed out many gaps in implementation of the
law like most of the DRRM officers don’t have enough capacity and expertise.
Another gap presented was the incomplete roster of member of the Local Disaster
Risk Reduction Management Council (LDRRMC). There was no such awareness of the
The case presented that leadership would not be
successful without proper support. It showed how political agendas hindered
effective coordination. It also displayed how lack of support from the mayor demotivated
his appointee to accomplish his tasks. Furthermore, there should be trust and
open communication unhindered by political alignment in order to proper
and effective execution of projects. As what is stated on Walch (2013)
research, political competition represents
an important challenge for the continuity of DRR at the local level, especially
when DRR become “personal” or related to a specific leader. As for the example
he has given when the barangay captain and the mayor are rivals, it is unlikely
that a policies coming from the mayor will be properly implemented.
Lack of funding
On the Y It Happened book published by National
Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) stated that there are facilitated
two joint memorandum circulars (JMCs): one was the JMC No. 2013-1 for the
Allocation and Utilization of the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management
Fund (LDRRMF) signed on 25 March 2013.The circular serves as a guide to LGUs in
the allocation and use of the fund and for transparency and accountability
purposes. The other is JMC No. 2014-1: the implementing guidelines for the
establishment of local DRRM offices (LDRRMOs) or barangay DRRM committees
(BDRRMCs) in LGUs. The law states
that each local government must allocate 5 percent of their national internal
revenue allotment for disaster preparedness. However, as seen on this case, implementation
has been the problem in providing the funds needed.
In fact, Enriquez (2014) reported that the Office of the
Civil Defense’s (OCD) budget has declined significantly from 1 billion pesos in
2012 to 650 million in 2013. This was evidenced by shortages of tents and
satellite phones in the first few days after the disaster.
Weak implementation of disaster risk
The case presented a lack of
functional disaster management structure in Tacloban. It caused lack of
preparation that resulted into a great damage. As the saying, “Prevention is
better than cure” so we can say that preparation is better than recovery. This
is where the need to have an effective review of the controls already
implemented. Despite of the legislation in place, the lack of capacity to
operate its functions became the law’s weakness. This showed a need to turn laws into a
Conclusion and Recommendations:
stated problems above, the following are recommendations to address the
1. Organizational management
There should be a
person able to lead and train people. This person should be an expert and goes
continuous training to further strengthen expertise with regard to disaster
risk control. Aside from it, the organization should have a proper coordinator
who will serve as a point of contact of different agencies. I also believe that
the local government should work with the national government in strengthening
the capacity of the local risk reduction and management offices. There
should be an enhancement of inter-local governmental cooperation in emergency
response. This may be done by coordinating and planning with other cities and
municipalities to complement each other’s’ resources when there is a
region-wide disaster. (Briefing, 2016)
(2015), stated that one key
recommendation was for the law to be more inclusive. Like what Jerry Uy was
considering of including women, youth and vulnerable sectors. I agree that the law will become effective if
it would include the participation of vulnerable communities. Murphy et. al.
(2016) integrated creating a response
committee and buddy up responders with particularly vulnerable members of the
community so they know they will be looked after if a disaster occurs. He
suggested to maximize the youth who have the most time and energy to do it.
2. Proper planning and allocation of resources.
should issue guidelines on how it will approve and implement recovery funding
for local projects. One proposal from Rodil et.al (2016) was to consider
flexible recovery funding that would allow for more choice and variety. I also
agree with another suggestion of exploring options for transferring funds to
local government including a budget to increase project management capacity.
This would enable the local government to tailor-fit the budget to their needs.
I also believe that proper monitoring of project implementation would make the
local officials accountable to the resources being provided to them.
3. Review of disaster contingency plans. (preparation and recovery)
This pursue addressing the weaknesses such as the
financial and technical gaps that should be bridged in local-level
implementation of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management law. The
evaluation should not just happen after disaster but from time to time. This
could measure preparation and sustainability that must take place in the local
and national sectors. Our government must partner other international agencies
that could support us in addressing the identified gaps.
I firmly believe that more than the declaration and plans in
place, a strong political will to implement it with effective and efficient
coordination of the key stakeholders are the things needed to mitigate the disaster
risks. Everyone has a role to play, and the need to
work closely together is needed now. It is very important to integrate the lessons learned not just from
typhoon Haiyan but also from other disasters to establish an effective disaster
risk management nationally and locally. There must be proper allocation
of people and resources, accountability of the plans being implemented through
monitoring and reporting, and there must be a strong partnership among the
leaders nationally, locally and even the community.