Philippine Laws Related to Disaster Risk Reduction

The Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act (The Philippine Disaster Act of 2010)

Republic Act 10121 also known as “An Act Strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System, Providing for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, Appropriating Funds, Therefore and Other Purposes” was passed and approved on May 27, 2010 after 21 years of revisions and refiling in the two legislative bodies. This new law, unlike the previous Presidential Decree P.D. 1566, is pro-active in giving importance to disaster mitigation and preparedness measures.

One of the law’s salient points is the immediate release of calamity funds to local government units (LGUs) so they can prepare for disaster mitigation and preparedness. This is a welcome provision because local government units can utilize 70 percent of the total calamity fund to risk-reduction measures and 30 percent to quick response activities. In the old law, the LGU can only use the calamity fund for quick response activities.

Section 2 of the RA 10121 states that the state shall “develop, promote, and implement a comprehensive that aims to strengthen the capacity of the national government and the LGUs, together with partner stakeholders, to build the disaster resilience of communities, and to institutionalize arrangements and measures for reducing disaster risks, including projected climate risks, and enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities at all levels.

The PDRRM Act focuses on disaster prevention and risk reduction by putting more emphasis on strengthening the communities’ and people’s capacity to anticipate, cope with and recover from disasters, as an integral part of development programs. It adopts and adheres to principles and strategies consistent with the international standards set by the HFA which is a comprehensive, action-oriented response to international concern about the growing impacts of disasters on individuals, communities, and national development.

Declaration of Policy

  • Strengthening institutional capacity for DRRM (includes LGUs, communities, vulnerable and marginalized groups)
  • Building the resilience of local communities to disasters
  • Adherence to universal norms, principles and standards/incorporation of internationally accepted principles of DRM
  • Participation of all sectors and all stakeholders at all levels/engage participation of civil society organizations
  • Adoption and implementation of a comprehensive DRR program incorporated in the development plan
  • Mainstreaming DRR and climate change in development processes and peace process/conflict resolution approaches
  • Institutionalizing the policies, structures, coordination mechanisms and programs
  • Provide maximum care, assistance and services to individuals and families affected by disaster, implement emergency rehabilitation projects to lessen the impact of disaster, and facilitate resumption of normal social and economic activities

The PDRRM Act transforms the National Disaster Coordinating Council into the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). The Council shall oversee the Philippine disaster management system. At the local level, the existing provincial, regional, city, municipal, and barangay disaster coordinating councils will be reorganized into provincial (PDRRMC), city (CDRRMC), and municipal (MDRRC) disaster risk reduction and management councils. Multi-sectoral and multi-agency in composition, it will be responsible for overseeing the implementation of Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plans (LDRRMP).

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The Climate Change Act of 2009

The Climate Change Act of 2009 is also known as Republic Act Number 9729 or the “Act Mainstreaming Climate Change into Government Policy Formulations and Creating the Climate Change Commission, highlights the synergistic action needed in dealing with the climate crisis and in reducing the risk of disasters associated with global climate change”.

In totality the Climate Change Act recognizes the constitutional right of the people to a clean ecology. It also adopts the framework on sustainable development which is the Philippine Agenda 21 framework. The law abides on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility of all people to address climate change. It also abides on the precautionary principle that dictates to bear on the side of caution without enough scientific evidence. The law takes its cue from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change objective of stabilizing greenhouse gasses and the “adaptation” of natural and human systems. Lastly it is worthwhile to note that the Hyogo Framework for Action was made part of the declaration of principles in this law. Throughout the law, the mandate is to address the vulnerability of local communities especially the most vulnerable sectors (poor, women, children) and adopts a gender sensitive, pro-children and pro-poor perspective. The law emphasizes the participation of all stakeholders including the government, local government units, non-government organizations, local communities, and others in responding to the adverse impacts of climate change. The state also recognizes that climate change and disaster risk reduction (DRR) are closely inter-related and seeks to integrate DRR into climate change programs and initiatives.

The Climate Change Commission, which is attached to the Office of the President, is an independent and autonomous agency with the same status as that of a national government. It is the lead policy-making body of the government tasked to coordinate, monitor, and evaluate the programs and action plans of the government relating to climate change, and shall have the following tasks:

  • Ensure the mainstreaming of climate change and DRR  into development plans and programs at all levels;
  • Coordinate and synchronize climate change programs of national government agencies;
  • Formulate a Framework Strategy and Program on Climate Change and exercise policy oversight to ensure that the goals set are attained; and
  • Strengthen local government units to effectively address climate change issues.

It has formulated the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change (NFSCC) , National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) , and guidelines for Local Climate Change Action Plan (LCCAP).

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The People’s Survival Fund Act

Republic Act No. 10174 or the People’s Survival Fund Act is otherwise known as “An Act Establishing the People’s Survival Fund to provide long-term finance streams to enable the government to effectively address the problem of Climate Change, Amending for the purpose Republic Act. No. 9729, otherwise known as the Climate Change Act of 2009.”

The People’s Survival Fund Law amended the Climate Change Act of 2009 by establishing the People’s Survival Fund with an initial P1 billion per year. There will be a People’s Survival Fund board composed of nine members chaired by the Secretary of Finance to provide policy and strategic guidance in the management and the use of the survival fund itself.

The enactment of amendments to the Climate Change Act of 2009, primarily the creation of the People’s Survival Fund (PSF), strengthens the three-year-old law by helping achieve its objectives through the provision of funds to local governments and communities for their climate change adaptation programs. The law provides that the PSF is a special fund in the National Treasury—in the amount of one billion pesos that will be appropriated annually under the General Appropriations Act–for the financing of adaptation programs and projects based on the National Strategic Framework on Climate Change. The fund may also be augmented by donations, endowments, grants and contributions.