MDRRMC Hinatuan Search for Most Disaster Resilient Compliant Barangay

Summary

It was in December 16, 2011 when Tropical Storm “Sendong” internationally named “Washi” that made its first landfall in Hinatuan. Since it had been just less than a year since the establishment of the Municipal DRRM Office was just less than a year, disaster preparedness was not yet in place. The municipal office realised that: a) pre-emptive evacuation was not properly executed; b) Barangay DRRMCs were not particularly  functional and didn’t know what to do in the event of a disaster; c) residents didn’t know how to react in an emergency; d) relief distribution was disorganised and chaotic; and e) there was no system for assessing damage. Hence, we considered “Sendong” as our teacher.

A search for “Most Disaster Resilient Barangay” was launched, which aimed to equip 24 Barangay DRRM Committees (BDRRMCs) and all stakeholders with knowledge and skills in handling the event of an emergency and to intensify the awareness and capacitate the community through execution in four thematic areas of disaster management: disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.

There was a competition in each barangay, involving schools and the wider community. With 2 categories to compete in, criteria were based on the gaps experienced during TS Sendong. The first category covered document availability such as spot maps, hazard maps, DRR-CCA policies and legislation, household data banking, DRR-CCA programmes and activities, and partnership mechanisms. The second category focused on Drills and Simulations. Three drills were executed by the barangay: earthquake drills, fire drills and one based on the hazard exposure of the barangay.

For the partnership mechanism, resources were pulled out from partner stakeholders. Memorandums of Agreement were forged between the barangay government and the following partners: transport groups, business sectors, chainsaw owners and operators, and private residential owners accredited as evacuation centres, etc.

Other actors involved in the activities included barangay officials and volunteers, peoples’ organisation, schools and the community.

The activities took place over the course of six months (from May-November 2012), including social preparation up to the culmination programme for the awarding of winners. Awards were in the form of rescue tools and equipment. The total cost was P500,000, which came out of the local DRRM Fund.

Process


The active participation of the community in the contest as they owned the activity was very evident through the execution of the drills and their desire to help in the development of the documents. Social preparation in the community has played an important part for the community and local leaders to co-own the activities. Local skills and knowledge were used especially in their early warning system, the so-called traditional EWS, during the drills. Local initiatives were also observed. The municipal government through the Municipal DRRM Office lead the activities and handled the criteria and mechanics settings, social preparation through intensive education to the barangay and extended technical assistance. Local government at the barangay level joined the contest, moving the community through participation, complying with the requirements and competing as well, not just for the awards and trophies but primarily to prepare their barangay and the community. This CBDRRM activities were coordinated by the implementing office, who played the role of contest administrator to the barangay through a series of seminars, forums, barangay visits and assemblies. The barangay government units were the ones to coordinate and communicate to the community.
Marginalised and at-risk groups were included in the activities. For example, one of the criteria was for every barangay to produce household data banking to include data on persons with disabilities, women, children and senior citizens or the elderly. Indigenous people were also represented in the decision-making as they were part of the legislative body at both the barangay and municipal levels.
As this was a contest, criteria and mechanics are fixed and firm to avoid conflict. However, part of the criteria was the presence of best practices as extra points for the barangay. In here, priorities of the barangays based on their local initiatives were taken into account. Best practices referred to any innovations or initiatives for DRRM-CCA advancement made by barangay other than those introduced by MDRRMC. These are local initiatives unique and customised to fit in their barangay in line with the four DRRM thematic areas such as disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, and disaster rehabilitation and recovery or any climate adaptive initiatives.

Impact


Sustainability of the knowledge gained in the contest was evident as the municipality joined in the national search on Gawad KALASAG (Kalamidad at Sakuna Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan), a competition by the national government for excellence in local disaster risk reduction and management council and humanitarian assistance. The municipality joined the national search in 2013 and successfully won as first place national winner. We maintained the prestige up until 2017 where recently we were declared a place in the Hall of Fame. This signified that all our undertakings in DRRM were sustained and even enhanced.
Five days after the culmination of the programme, Typhoon “Pablo” (Bopha) hit the municipality. Unlike in Tropical Storm “Sendong”, we now learned many lessons. The acquired knowledge in the Search for Most Compliant Disaster Resilient Barangay bore fruit through actual application: 1) BDRRMCs were all functional and even the first to serve food items to the internally displaced people (IDPs); 2) BDRRMCs were able to adapt the pre-emptive evacuations; 3) the communities were already capacitated on what to do before, during and after the disaster; 4) all our MOA (Memorandum ofAgreement) groups, individuals and stakeholders in our partnership mechanism had do their share in responding to the call of emergencies. Above all, our common goals to reduce risk and avoid casualty were attained. While thousands of lives were lost in the neighbouring Davao provinces, Hinatuan claimed zero death casualties.

Other


This local search was just our tool to have a good foundation with a right start on DRRM-CCA in our municipality. This is in a form of competition but we always bear in mind that prizes, awards and plaques are just secondary; what matters most is the preparedness and resilience of the community in times of emergencies and disasters. Other best practices of the municipality of Hinatuan through the Municipal DRRM Office are: 1) Household tagging of persons with disabilities and the elderly. Those marked houses should be given priority actions in times of response. Hence markings should be displayed visibly and are geo-tagged on maps for easy references; 2) FAMILY DISASTER PLAN. This is a family-approach of preparing the community in times of emergency, especially if massive destruction is expected to happen. Around 10,000 families have accomplished their respective family disaster plans all over 24 barangays. This family disaster plan is a customised form in a long size bound paper back-to-back, which is in local vernacular “bisaya” for easy understanding on the part of the community. This is converted into an electronic copy through a software application; 3) Purok level organisation through CBDRRM. Purok system management is now rolled-out, where part of the CBDRRM activity is the organisation of Purok DRRM Task Units to handle the different duties and responsibilities before, during and after the disaster. Purok, which is the lowest component of the barangays, are now conducted with CBDRRM letting them understand the value of disaster preparedness, reviewing them on the importance of Family Disaster Plan, and emphasising the importance of emergency kits, the government’s order on pre-emptive evacuation and above all identifying their own hazards through workshops.