Local Governments and Volunteer Collaboration for Disaster Risk Reduction and Mitigation in the Philippines

Authors / Editors: Alampay, Erwin Gaspar A.


The Philippines by virtue of its location, climate and topography is one of most disaster-prone countries in the world. In this regard, the government strives to pursue the vision of a safer, more adaptive and disaster-resilient Filipino communities. Since most disasters are experienced at the community level, and community volunteers are often its first responders, local government units (LGUs) must be proactively engaged in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and Climate Change Adaptation (CCA). Hence, the country’s National Risk Reduction and Management Framework and Plan is cascaded to LGUs in order to create local DRRM councils that formulate and implement local DRRM plans (RA 10121). The implementing rules of this law make specific reference to volunteers’ participation stating that “CSOs, private sector and volunteers participate in DRRM through complementation of resources and effective delivery of services to citizenry.” As such, DRRM-CCA is one area where LGUs would need volunteers and have opportunities for volunteer involvement. This paper describes examples of volunteering at the local level related to DRRM and CCA in the Philippines. It analyzes six cases that describe local government and volunteer interactions. It will discuss the tension between cooperation, collaboration and control that is inherent in the evolving relationship between government and non-government organizations (Alampay 1999). With government’s recent policies that encourage, support and provide spaces for civic engagement in local government this exploration can contribute to improving understanding of LGU-CSO engagements (coordination/inter-organizational response) through volunteering.