Community Governance for Disaster Recovery and Resilience: Four Case Studies in the Philippines

Authors / Editors: Florano, Ebinezer R.


This research aims to investigate the role of communities in disaster recovery process and in building resilience to answer the questions: “What is the role of community in the disaster recovery process? What roles do various stakeholders play in community-led disaster recovery? Is community-based disaster recovery affected by exposure to hazards and disasters, or by the community’s level of socio-economic development?” To answers these questions, five hypotheses were tested in the 12 barangays from Tacloban, Iligan, Dagupan, and Marikina Cities. Their cases were investigated by reviewing their documents, interviewing city government officials, and conducting focus group discussion involving barangay officials and residents. These were all conducted with the use of unstructured questionnaires and checklists for the Disaster-Resilient Community Index (DRCI), which was used to compute the level of resilience of the barangays. The study found that community governance for disaster recovery seems to be stuck in the pre-NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management) years because recovery planning is still passive and reactive. There is no early recovery planning, and for the past years, the government had been relying on post-disaster needs assessment every after disaster. Thus, among the four pillars of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), disaster recovery seems to be the weakest link. Disaster recovery in the barangays seems to be a function of the level of socio-economic development rather than the knowledge on the exposure to hazards and disasters by barangays officials and residents. The role of various stakeholders in disaster recovery is very important but without meaningful participation from barangays, recovery moves at a snail pace. Lastly, the study found that resiliency is built through time, but it may be delayed if important recovery sectors (e.g., housing and livelihood) are neglected that make people (especially the poor who are always the hardest hit in dangerous areas) feel exposed and vulnerable to hazards and disasters. The study recommends the enactment of laws on pre-disaster recovery planning, public service continuity plans, and relocating people from disaster-prone communities to safer areas as cost-efficient recovery policy, plans, and project. Among others, the further testing of the DRCI and widening of the coverage of the study are suggested for further research.

Key words: community governance, disaster recovery, resilience, communities, barangays