Balangay is a cloud information system for disasters, accessible via a web and mobile app. It is a one-stop repository of official disaster-related information sourced from various DRRM-related institutions in the community. By equipping residents of hazard-prone communities with up-to-date and understandable disaster information, they can better coordinate with local DRRM authorities and prepare for upcoming typhoons, earthquakes and other hazards.
The project won a Gold Award at Making All Voices Count (MAVC)’s Global Innovation Competition 2015 and received seed funding from the same institution to officially kick-start the project. The project’s pilot phase ran from September 2015-May 2016. After the pilot phase, Balangay was officially adopted by the city of Legazpi as its official disaster information resource and is being used, maintained and improved up to now.
In the pilot phase, Balangay web and mobile apps were developed and deployed to selected hazard-prone communities. In parallel, youth-oriented information campaigns were conducted, framing Balangay as a tool ideal for the local youth to be ‘disaster information leaders’ in their respective families and communities. During this phase, pre and post intervention research were conducted, measuring the pilot communities’ knowledge on disaster-related terms and concepts, their coordination ratings/status with their local government’s DRRM projects, and their current approach to DRRM (reactive or proactive).
The results of the two researches were compared to assess effectiveness of the intervention and showed increase in the test scores of respondents (knowledge of disaster-related terms and concepts), increased average rating and knowledge on local government DRRM initiatives, and a significant increase in the number of families that prepare BEFORE a typhoon/natural hazard (in communities that actively participated in Balangay activities).
Several stakeholders were engaged: academia, DRRM offices (Bureau of Fire Protection, APSEMO, CDRRMC, etc.), local government and youth organizations and volunteers. All became part of the creation of the Balangay system.
After a successful pilot, the city of Legazpi adopted Balangay as an official disaster information resource and rolled it out to its 70 communities. A dedicated Balangay office was also provided for the Balangay maintenance team on the 3rd floor of the city hall and two sanggunian resolutions were passed to encourage and support the use of Balangay system in Legazpi.
Currently, the feedback system of Balangay coupled with the feedback from the actual usage of the city allows Balangay system to evolve and have new features. (such as damage reporting, offline access features, etc.)
Balangay is now ready for scaling out for other interested LGUs.
Recently, Balangay was awarded Best Climate Practice 2017 by the International Center for Climate Governance (ICCG) and received the eGOV Champion award Customer Empowerment by the National ICT Confederation of the Philippines.