The Disaster Risk Reduction Network Philippines (DRRNetPhils) held its fifth General Assembly last September 5-7, 2017, at the La Breza Hotel, Quezon City. At the assembly, member organizations and individuals reviewed and updated institutional concerns such as the network’s mandate, organizational structure, membership guidelines and agreement, and expenses over the past two years. The agenda on SEC registration, as well as the members’ comments and opinions about it, were also discussed during the assembly.
Localization of Humanitarian Response
Following the launch of the Charter for Change (C4C) and the Grand Bargain Agreement at the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit, which both aims to localize humanitarian aid and response, member organizations reached an agreement that the localization agenda is indeed in line with their advocacies and supporting it would be beneficial to the network. They further suggested that localized responses have the potential to be more effective, efficient and faster than when it is internationally-led. Moreover, the network recognizes the role of local organizations as the first responders during emergencies, and possessing more knowledge on the local contexts and existing government structures and systems in communities. However, with DRRNetPhils having 11 member INGOs, it will be necessary to assess the role of these organizations in the network, and identify indicators for determining who are the local NGOs and INGOs. Member INGOs, however, expressed their support on efforts towards localization, trusting the network’s decision with regards to their new role.
Climate Change, IDP Bill and RA 10821
Aside from institutional agendas, several inputs were also presented during the assembly. Mr. Melvin Purzuelo, Aksyon Klima’s coordinator, shared Aksyon Klima’s 10-point agenda for 2016-2017, which are helpful and relevant to DRRNetPhils’ current advocacies. His presentation also focused on the integration of DRRM and climate change and the steps on how to mainstream the two into the local development plans, programs and budget.
Another presentation was given by Ms. Analiza Ugay of BALAY Rehabilitation Center, that discussed the national situation of Internally Displaced People in the Philippines, and tackled the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement (UNGPID) and the general principles related to the rights of IDPs. She also gave updates on the IDP Bill (An Act Protecting the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and Penalizing the Acts of Arbitrary Internal Displacement) and on the current situation in Marawi in the context of the ongoing conflict.
Afterwards, Ms. Reylynne Dela Paz of Save the Children Philippines presented the salient features of the newly enacted law, the RA 10821, also known as the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act.
NDRRMA Amendatory Bill
Mr. Kristoffer Berse from the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance presented slides entitled 'Strengthening the Philippines’ National Focal Agency for Disaster Risk Management,' which gave a background and showed possible options for enhancing the office managing the country’s DRRM. This was followed by an input on the current status and updates on the Amendatory Bill that was given by DRRNetPhils’ policy and communications officer, Ms. Kamille Ruiz. In a nutshell, the bill’s main objective is to create a National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority which will lead in the coordination, monitoring, oversight and implementation of the nation’s disaster risk reduction and management. Ruiz started her presentation with an overview of the bill, including its salient features, envisioned mandate and structure. Together with Marc Alejo from World Vision, they presented some updates and developments on the bill. Taking into consideration the implications of the bill in the member organizations’ work on the ground, the session concluded with all the members agreeing that DRRNetPhils should continue lobbying and advocating for NDRRMA.
DRRNet’s New Conveners
An election for the network’s new conveners took place on the last day of the general assembly. The election was facilitated by Ateneo School of Government (ASoG), in which 16 organizations were nominated and 11 were elected as DRRNetPhils’ new conveners. The elected organizations were the following: Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP), A2D Project-Research Group for Alternatives to Development, World Vision, Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (EcoWEB), BALAY Rehabilitation Center, UP-College of Social Work and Community Development, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), Assistance and Cooperation for Community Resilience and Development (ACCORD), Citizens’ Disaster Response Center (CDRC) and Plan International Philippines. The presentation of the newly elected conveners was followed by a planning workshop on the network’s advocacy goals wherein member organizations identified strategies and activities that will help achieve these. Moreover, another session was conducted where the duties and responsibilities of the network’s working group committees were assessed and revised.
DRRNetPhil is a national tertiary formation of civil society organizations, people’s organizations, practitioners and advocates adhering to the Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) and its successor, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (SFDRR) and implementing community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM). The Center for Disaster Preparednes (CDP) presently serves as its lead convener.