According to the 2016 World Risk Index of the United Nations University, the Philippines ranked 3rd in terms of exposure to natural hazards. This exposure plus our considerable vulnerability to them puts the Philippines very high in terms of disaster risk. This concern is so great that the national government has implemented policies and laws to reduce our risk to natural hazards. However, the task of reducing disaster risk does not solely fall on the government. It is every organization’s responsibility to build resilient infrastructures and frameworks that will protect its resources against natural hazards and more importantly, save lives in times of disasters.
Universities, just like any other organization in the Philippines, are also exposed to natural hazard events. This is especially true for UP campuses, whose unique community is composed of educational institutions, health centers, businesses, and even residential areas. This complex structure with equally complex systems make it highly vulnerable to various natural hazards. The best example of a UP campus’ exposure and vulnerability is the one in Tacloban City. The campus was totally devastated by Typhoon Yolanda and was inoperable for a long period of time due to damages to infrastructure. Furthermore, there was an absence of business continuity processes, forcing university officials to create ad hoc systems to address the emergency situation.
There is therefore a great need to create disaster management contingency plans to address UP campuses’ vulnerability to natural hazards. This project intends to take off from previous and existing plans and improve them by using the latest technology and the best methodologies. It aims to develop better strategies specific to the higher education units of the University of the Philippines campuses. This new and improved plan will cover the entire scope disaster risk management, from the identification of the risks all the way to recovering from disasters.
The disaster management and contingency plan aims to develop strategies to become resilient against the adverse impacts of geological and climate related natural hazards. This project will develop plans specific to the Higher Education Units of the University of the Philippines and the populations they serve (broadly – students, faculty, staff, and visitors). These plans ensure continuity of services for the 17 campuses of the University, a community which provides its full extent of services to its and students and residents.