PARTICIPATORY DEVELOPMENT AND DISASTER RISK REDUCTION AND MANAGEMENT IN THE PHILIPPINES: THE CASE OF ALBAY PROVINCE
Pongan, Lauren M.
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“Climate Change” is no longer an esoteric phrase. In the context of the Philippines, the damage in recent years has been substantial. In addition to the tragic loss of lives and damage to ecosystems and land, “the average annual damage caused by disasters amounts to PHP 19.7 billion in the past two decades, equivalent to an average of 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) each year.” The city of Tacloban serves as an example of failure in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) in the wake of November 2013’s super typhoon Haiyan. In contrast, the province of Albay’s DRRM practices interpret complex, abstruse DRRM legislation and frameworks into a highly contextualized model of participatory development that succeeds in saving lives and mitigating economic and property-damage risks. This paper also assesses the extent to which Albay’s DRRM practices succeed in addressing the factors that make communities vulnerable to begin with, such as lack of economic opportunity or public health issues. Development and DRR are deeply intertwined, and development often becomes a conversation that excludes the very communities that it purports to serve. Participatory DRRM offers a means of returning some level of efficacy to victims of climate change, even in the face of disasters that are difficult to predict.