Balangay: A Cloud Information System for Disaster


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.


Target stakeholders were all involved in the creation phase of Balangay. All materials used in the promotional activities (original characters, mascot etc.) were created by the local youth group volunteers. The majority of the manpower during these events were also from local youth volunteers. The information in the Balangay system was sourced from different offices and users. Representatives from partner organizations and institutions can add disaster information to the Balangay repository using a secure web-admin console. The users’ feedback also dictates the new features to be added and features to be removed through Balangay’s built-in feedback collection mechanism. The Balangay model is promoting collaboration between stakeholders, emphasizing that disaster preparedness is a shared responsibility between the local government, the different organizations and the end users themselves. The local government of Legazpi City is currently hosting the system and the tech support team, and making official disaster announcements and trainings.
In the selection of the pilot areas, the team consulted Dr. Cedric Daep of the Albay Public Saftey and Management Office (APSEMO) to help locate vulnerable communities in Albay. The team chose six communities, and for each community, conducted a random sampling data collection, vis a vis a socio-demographic mapping of the communities. While Balangay targeted the local youth as the primary users, the Balangay interface is designed with the inclusion of senior citizens, the PWD, and the out-of-school. The application utilized easy-to-recognize icons, and ensured that the language was written as simple as possible. We also integrated a feedback system to map the actual changing needs of the stakeholders as they use the system.
A feedback system is integrated into the network architecture. Users are able to directly tell the rest of the network the actual topics they want to learn more about, feature requests, etc. In addition, the system’s information is sourced from different institutions. Their representatives can easily change the contents depending on the changing needs. It has to be noted however, that the contributors to the network have to undergo a training session hosted by the city and sign an MOU with the city, to ensure that network best practices will be followed to keep the network secure.


After the 8-month funding, Balangay was adopted by the city of Legazpi as their official disaster information resource. Currently, the team is also working with local academic institutions to have their accounts, so that they can also contribute to the network’s D-Learning and announcement’s section. Two months ago, the team conducted a full-scale tech transfer to the city government’s IT team to decentralize tech support and study the scalability of the system to other LGUs.
The post-intervention assessment showed an increase in quiz scores of the respondents in communities that actively participated in the Balangay project. Their trust/effectiveness to their local government also increased. The most notable however, is the increase in the number of families that prepare BEFORE a typhoon. There is an observable shift from a reactive to a proactive approach in disaster management.


While the hosting is shouldered by the local government of Legazpi, and the announcements and articles by the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and partner institutions, the developer team is currently working on a revenue-generating feature (games) to make the system financially sustainable (and to prevent monopoly by a single LGU/party during scale out).
We have Sanggunian Resolution, MOA and Executive Order in the city. The organization is focusing on building a scalable tech solution at the sub-national government level.
The developer team, Layertech Software Labs Inc. is still the core team handling the project, with many feature requests. Still, the city has contracted the Balangay head as a consultant to help them with the on-going Balangay rollout in the city.
There is NO funding except for the local government funds. However, the team is trying to create a revenue generating feature, to have funding for improvements and future feature additions.
After Balangay’s success, the city of Legazpi started a smart city project: Cloud Legazpi. Two big academic institutions (an SUC) are also working on a MOA with the city for the future updates of Balangay’s D-Learning section. Balangay also resulted in two sanggunian resolutions, promoting the use of Balangay in the city and in the Best Practices 2017.