copy the linklink copied!6. Approaches in the Philippines to increased coherence in climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction

This chapter describes national approaches to policy development and implementation on climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction in the Philippines. It outlines the policy context and governance arrangements for these two policy agendas, approaches to implementation of the policies, financing, and monitoring and evaluation, with a special focus on the tourism sector. Drawing on these insights, the chapter offers ways forward for how both the government and development co-operation can facilitate greater coherence in efforts to build resilience to climate and disaster risks


copy the linklink copied!Summary and ways forward

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world, experiencing numerous typhoons annually and being highly exposed to the impacts of a changing climate. In light of its significant vulnerabilities, disaster risk management (DRM)1 and climate change adaptation (CCA) are strategic priorities for the country. This case study examines how the Philippines is encouraging coherence between DRM and CCA in its domestic policy development and implementation, with the objective of identifying good practices, challenges and lessons learned.

This chapter shows that the Philippines has well established institutional structures and policy frameworks for DRM and CCA, and has invested significantly to develop data and information, and financial instruments to strengthen its resilience to climate related disasters. However, despite the high-level conceptual convergence on CCA and DRM policies and institutional arrangements, implementation has been slow in many areas due to parallel strategies, action plans, tools and reporting mechanisms. This is compounded by capacity gaps at the local level.

While strong efforts have been made to align policy approaches across DRM and CCA, there is space to further develop synergies between these two agendas, to avoid redundancies, benefit from opportunities and strengthen resilience on the ground. To achieve this objective, the main ways forward are summarised below.

Ways forward to enhance coherence in CCA and DRM in the Philippines:

  • Augment the capacities of DRM and CCA key players at the national level. At present, both the Climate Change Commission and the Office of Civil Defense serve a co-ordinating role, however, they lack the tools to push implementation.

  • Establish a good structure for relaying information from the local government level back up to the national level. This should cover both assessment of vulnerabilities as well as effectiveness of implemented actions.

  • Strengthen both enforcement and incentives around implementation. A good example of a positive incentive already in place is the “Gawad Kalasag” award, which provides acknowledgement for excellence in programmes, activities and projects that protect high-risk communities. This is effective as it both rewards good practices but also provides a model of what good practices look like for other communities.

  • Centralise and improve ease of access to the various climate data products that already exist. The creation of GEORiskPH recognises these needs, however, given that the initiative is still recent, it is too early to evaluate its effectiveness.

  • Build on existing stock-take exercises to streamline planning processes where redundancies exist. For example, climate change and disaster risk management plans could potentially be integrated into existing planning processes. Methodologies for conducting risk assessments should be harmonized and centralized.

  • Provide technical support to local government units to assist them in accessing and effectively using funds for CCA and DRM, such as the Peoples Survival Fund. This support could be given through existing institutional structures. For example, the Local Disaster Risk Management Councils could serve to support CCA activities in addition to their existing DRM mandate.

  • Imbed the “Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Strategy” within the National Disaster Risk Management Strategy, to ensure a link between prevention strategies and financial protection measures.

  • Work to increasingly build local awareness on the availability of existing disaster risk financing instruments, and the role and importance of insurance for disaster risks. This could be done through a public information and awareness raising campaign, for example.

  • Develop a strategic vision for a sustainable tourism sector, which builds on successes from existing pilot projects and clearly demonstrates how tourism development can be leveraged to increase resilience. Increase co-ordination between sectors and associations of the tourism industry, to help the tourism sector pursue economies of scale for CCA and DRM initiatives.

Ways forward for development partners:

  • Take stock of all existing efforts in the Philippines and ensure that climate and disaster risks have been considered within all activities. If coherence between CCA and DRM is considered a priority for development partners, this must be reflected in the support they provide.

  • Continue past good practices of meeting regularly with other donor countries and agencies who provide support on the same thematic areas.

copy the linklink copied!The Philippines profile

The Philippines is experiencing increasing urbanisation and a growing middle-class. The country saw an average annual growth of 6.3% between 2010 and 2017 and is expected to move from a lower-middle income country with a gross national income per capita of USD 3 660 in 2017 to an upper-middle income country (per capita income range of USD 3 896 – USD 12 055) in the near future (World Bank, 2019[1]). The Philippines’ main economic sectors are Services, which account for about 58 % of GDP, with Industry accounting for 34 % and Agriculture, Hunting, Forestry and Fisheries comprising 8 % of the economy. Tourism, which is under the Services sector, is growing in importance, and in 2017 employed over 13 % of the population (GOV.PH, 2018[2]).

The Philippines has 17 regions, with Metro Manila and its surrounding regions, Central Luzon and Southern Luzon accounting for nearly two-thirds of domestic production. The country’s poverty incidence in 2015 was estimated at 21.6 %. However, in 2018, poverty incidence was reduced to 16.6 percent and is targeted to further decrease to about 14 percent by 2022 (PSA, 2019[3]).

Climate change and risks

The geographical location of the Philippines means that it is particularly vulnerable to a range of disasters, including tropical typhoons, earthquakes and volcanoes. Most areas of the Philippines experience periods of torrential rain, flooding, landslides, high winds and thunderstorms, especially during the rainy season between June and November. As a low-lying island nation dominated by coastal communities, it is also highly susceptible to tsunamis, sea-level rise and storm surges (World Bank, 2018[4]). In its report “The Human Cost of Weather-Related Disasters”, UNDRR lists the Philippines as the fourth-most-disaster-affected country in the world, with a total of 130 million people affected by weather-related disasters over the period 1995-2015 (UNDRR, 2015[5]).

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Box 6.1 The Impact of Typhoons in the Philippines

An average of 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, of which five to seven are destructive. Typhoons are one of the most dangerous types of natural hazards and every year, they cause considerable loss of life and immense damage to property. Since 2009, the Philippines has experienced multiple highly destructive extreme weather events with Typhoon Ondoy, Pepeng, Sendong, and Pablo causing over 3,000 deaths, affecting more than 10 million people and causing economic damages and losses amounting to approximately USD 5.7 billion. In 2013, Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) made landfall as one of the most intense and deadly tropical typhoons on record. Yolanda caused over 6,000 reported fatalities, and 4 million people were displaced. The estimated economic damage by Yolanda, in terms of infrastructure, social damages and production losses ranged from about USD 12–15 billion. Over the past ten years, typhoons making landfall have increased in strength with devastating consequences. With climate change, their impact is expected to worsen due to an increase in intensity and unpredictability (seasonality change) of hazards.

Source: (Anticamara and Go, 2017[6]); (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]) (Cruz, 2017[8]).

Climatological variations in the Philippines are significantly influenced by El Niño and La Niña episodes, monsoons and mesoscale systems (Cruz, 2017[8]). While the impact of climate change on any of these is not clear, increased variability in rainfall is considered to be among the most significant impacts of climate change in the Philippines. In some parts of the country, the intensity and frequency of rainfall events are increasing, whereas in others, decreasing (Cruz, 2017[8]). Further, storm patterns are changing and the country is also witnessing longer episodes of drought, linked to the El Niño phenomenon, which disrupts agricultural production and therefore the economy (GOV.PH, 2014[9]). For example, the El Niño weather phenomenon in 2015 had devastating effects on agriculture and water supply, leading to damages estimated at around USD 138.3 million (Oxford Business Group, 2018[10]).

Further, rapid urbanisation and the proliferation of informal settlements and urban slums have compounded vulnerabilities, especially among poor households migrating from rural areas. Unregulated urban expansion has intensified flood risk and is expected to continue to do so in the future (GFDRR, 2016[11]). For example, the Philippine’s second national communication to the UNFCCC notes that while the rise in flood risk in part can be explained by increased rainfall variability, it is also caused by sewers and waterways clogged by waste trapping the water (GOV.PH, 2014[9]). Other anthropogenic factors, such as deforestation and land use change also affect flood risk (Verburg et al., 2006[12]).

Low-income households are disproportionately affected by climate-related disasters in the Philippines; a trend not unique to the Philippines but observed globally. Climate change, when combined with factors such as unmanaged development, has adverse impacts on ecosystems and the role of these systems for many rural populations as sources of income and subsistence (Hallegatte et al., 2016[13]). Further, lower income households often reside in areas more exposed to the risks of climate change, in some cases because these areas are more readily available, but in others, because they provide desirables services (e.g. access to water and markets). Complemented by heightened vulnerabilities to climate impacts, poorer households also have relatively fewer resources at their disposal for responding to these impacts. As a result, many Filipinos that live just above the poverty line cycle in and out of poverty (Hallegatte et al., 2016[11]).

Objectives and outline

This section presents national and sub-national approaches to policy development and implementation in the Philippines, exploring the extent to which they are leveraging coherent and mutually reinforcing approaches to climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, with the goal of increasing resilience. Drawing on these insights, the section offers ways forward for how efforts in these two policy communities by both national government officials and development partners can facilitate greater coherence in efforts to build resilience to climate-related risks. It draws on interviews conducted in Manila and Cebu, as well as complimentary desk research.

copy the linklink copied!National Approaches to CCA and DRM

Policy context and governance arrangements for CCA and DRM

Climate change adaptation (CCA) and disaster risk management (DRM) are central priorities in policy processes in the Philippines. This is, for example, illustrated by the coverage of resiliency in the Philippine Long-Term Vision, the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022, which includes ensuring safety and building resiliency as one of its foundation strategies for achieving inclusive growth. Moreover, it points to climate change as a global driver to be considered if development is to be sustainable. The interlinkages between CCA and DRM are also highlighted, for example in the context of agriculture and infrastructure sectors.

Recognition at the highest political level of the importance and need for action on CCA and DRM is reflected in the policies and institutional framework in place. The Philippines has made great efforts to integrate CCA and DRM in their core institutions and both issues are recognised in legal and policy frameworks as interrelated concepts that require strengthened coherence for effective implementation.

The policy frameworks and institutional arrangements around CCA and DRM in the Philippines have been influenced by international agreements. For climate change, the Philippines signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on 12 June 1992. Since then, various institutional entities have co-ordinated and monitored the country’s participation and initiatives on climate change and related issues – culminating with the creation of the Climate Change Commission (CCC) with the enactment of Republic Act No. 9729 (RA 9729) in 2009. Notably, the Philippines is the second country in the world (after the United Kingdom) to enact a climate change law.

In terms of DRM, the Philippines is a signatory of the Sendai Framework and its predecessor the Hyogo Framework for Action. In 2010, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 10121 (RA 10121), Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, to deal specifically with disaster risks. This law mandated the creation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to oversee the implementation of the law. An overview of the main legislative documents for CCA and DRM and their associated frameworks and plans is presented in Table 6.1.

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Table 6.1. Overview of legislation, frameworks and plans regarding CCA and DRM in the Philippines




National legislation

Climate Change Act 2009 (RA 9729)

Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act 2010 (RA 10121)

Enacted by

Philippine Senate and Congress


Mainstream climate change in government policy

Strengthen DRM and its institutional framework

Key elements

  • Creation of Climate Change Commission assisted by the Climate Change Office

  • Creation of National Strategy Framework to be reviewed every three years

  • Creation of National and Local Action Plans

  • Creation of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework

  • Creation of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan

  • Integration of DRR with development processes

  • Mandates the creation of local DRRM plans

Points of convergence

  • Aim to reduce risks to and vulnerabilities from natural hazards

  • Recognise both areas of focus and their interrelationships

  • Aim to mainstream CCA and DRR in local development plans

National frameworks

National Framework Strategy on Climate Change 2010–2022

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework 2011–2028

Lead institution

Climate Change Commission

National Disaster Risk Management Council (with Office of Civil Defense as the Secretariat)


Guide the development of national and subnational planning processes on CCA

Guide national and local efforts on DRR; develop a common understanding of DRR and management; and provides a criteria for benchmarking and tool for evaluating progress

Adopts four aspects of DRM, namely: mitigation, prevention, response and rehabilitation and recovery as provided under the DRM Act, but gives emphasis on strengthening proactive and preventive activities

Key elements

  • Enhanced vulnerability and adaptation assessments

  • Use of various tools and technologies from the social and natural sciences to address disasters

  • Enhancing monitoring, forecasting, and warning systems

  • Mainstreaming climate and DRR-based planning

  • Mainstreaming DRR in national, regional, provincial Physical Framework Plans, Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) Comprehensive Land-Use Plans (CLUP)

  • DRR and CCA-sensitive management

  • Disaster-resilient infrastructure

  • Local awareness drills and exercises

  • Advocacy and education for DRR and CCA

  • Contingency planning

  • Networking and partnership building

Points of convergence

  1. Recognise both areas of focus and their interrelationships

  • Highlight the importance of science-based early warning systems, capacity-building for local government units and vulnerability assessment

National action plans

National Climate Change Action Plan 2011–2028

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan 2011–2028


Outlines specific programmes and strategies for adaptation and mitigation with a long-term sustainable development goal

Outlines priority actions for DRM with development

Lead institution

  • Climate Change Commission (CCC)

  • National Disaster Risk Management Council (with Office of Civil Defense as the Secretariat)

Key elements

  • Sectors of concern: Food, water, ecosystem and environment stability, human security, sustainable energy, knowledge and capacity development

  • Enhanced knowledge and capacity for CCA

  • Gender-sensitive provincial-level vulnerability and risk assessments

  • Creation of long-term plan for extremely vulnerable communities

  • Scaled institutionalisation of DRR and management

  • Mainstreaming DRR and CCA in development processes (policies, plans, and budget)

  • Community-level capacity building efforts

  • Disaster-resilient infrastructure

  • Community-based vulnerability and risk assessments

Points of convergence

CCA and DRM integrated in local plans

DRM actions aligned with CCA strategies to achieve human security

The long history of the Philippines in managing and responding to extreme events from natural hazards (both weather and geophysical events) means that DRM has a much more established institutional history in the country than CCA. Disaster response and recovery has its roots in the Civil Defense Act of 1954, which was followed by the creation of the National Disaster Coordinating Council in 1978. The 2010 introduction of the DRRM Act represented a paradigm shift from primarily responding to disasters to a stronger focus on prevention (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]). The prominence of DRM over CCA can be seen in the difference in size and power of the institutions responsible for DRM and the amount of funding available for DRM-related projects. For example, in 2017, PHP 15 billion was earmarked for DRM, whereas PHP 1 billion was set aside for dedicated adaptation projects. DRM has a stronger institutional presence at the local level, with national offices in each region and a dedicated governance structure. However, the strength and institutionalisation of DRM can potentially be leveraged to increase awareness of CCA, as CCA can be mainstreamed into existing DRM structures and processes.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) is the co-ordinating body for DRM in the country. The NDRRMC is chaired by the secretary of the Department of National Defense with the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) serving as its secretariat. The NDRMC oversees the lead agencies for each of the four thematic pillars in the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan (NDRRMP) (see Figure 6.1)

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Figure 6.1. Governance structure for disaster risk management in the Philippines


A persistent challenge under the current structure is that the OCD is not fully empowered as the secretariat of the NDRMMC. The OCD is mandated with a co-ordinating role in the identification, implementation, and monitoring of DRRM programmes, projects, and activities. This means DRRM-related tasks and responsibilities are passed on to council members that are occupied with different primary mandates, and the mandate of the NDRRMC suffers from competition with other departmental missions (Domingo and Olaguera, 2017[14]). In addition, the NDRRMP provides guidance, but does not have funding attached to each identified initiative2. This has resulted in initiatives being developed and implemented with relative independence from the NDRRMC, leading to potential gaps and overlaps (Domingo and Olaguera, 2017[14]). One example that emerged from the interviews conducted for this study was that while responsibility for disaster prevention and mitigation falls with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), they lack influence with major implementing agencies such as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). That said, DPWH is still implementing risk reduction measures, such as an initiative on inspection and retrofitting of critical infrastructures (e.g. bridges) for disaster resiliency.

For CCA, the CCC faces similar challenges to the OCD on DRM. As the institutional body in charge of climate change, the CCC has responsibility for leading all climate policy work, as well as co-ordinating, monitoring and evaluating climate change programmes. The CCC has the mandate to guide line agencies in their implementation, but there are limited tools available to the CCC to encourage other agencies to prioritise adaptation measures, and no recourse if actions are not taken. That said, there is evidence of effective mainstreaming in places, and it can be expected that agencies which have principal mandates on the environment and agriculture have more initiatives on climate change. For example, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has an office dedicated to climate communication. It could be valuable to perform an assessment of the level of mainstreaming that is taking place, to establish how the CCC can dedicate its limited resources effectively.

Robust co-ordination measures are also in place to encourage harmonisation among government agencies involved in climate risk management discussions. Created in 20113, the Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation, and Disaster Risk Reduction Cabinet Cluster is a cross-departmental body, composed of 20 government agencies. It is chaired by the DENR Secretary and the CCC serves as the secretariat. The purpose of the cluster is to ensure co-ordination, and complementarity of policies and programmes on CCA, DRM and sustainable development. The Cluster serves as a venue to align and complement programmes, activities and projects among departments and government agencies in delivering the national vision on climate change adaptation, mitigation and DRM (GOV.PH, 2018[15]). The cluster reports on a 4 year roadmap which was set in 2018, with the objective of:(1) increasing adaptive capacities of vulnerable communities; (2) ensuring adequate supply of clean air; (3) increased resilience of critical infrastructure; (4) enhanced knowledge and access to information and institutional capacities (GOV.PH, 2018[15]).

Despite the high-level conceptual convergence on CCA and DRM policies and institutional arrangements, implementation has been slow due to parallel strategies, action plans, tools, institutions, monitoring and reporting. Illustrating the recognition that there is a need to strengthen the leadership and institutional platform for DRM, the government has a proposal to create a new national department on “Disaster Resilience”. This department would cover all four phases of the DRM cycle4, which are currently under the responsibility of separate departments, and possibly absorb certain functions of the CCC. In general, this was viewed as a positive development by the people interviewed for this study as it would give more weight to disaster prevention and CCA. Some concern, however, was expressed linked to the broad scope of such a department.

Subnational approaches to CCA and DRM

National legislation for both CCA and DRM delegate local government units (LGUs) as the frontline agency responsible for planning, implementation and response. The NCCAP and the NDRRMP provide the framework for LGUs in developing their local CCA Plans (LCCAP) and local DRRM plans (LDRRMP). They have the same components as the CCAP and DRRMP discussed above, but scaled down to the local level. A major impediment is that local governments often lack the institutional, technical, and financial capacity to develop these plans and subsequently to implement them.

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Box 6.2. Recognising excellence in LGU planning for Disaster Management in the Philippines

In recent years there have been improvements in the number of LGUs demonstrating greater capacities and innovations in leading DRM and CCA activities. Such initiatives have been recognised by the NDRRMC through the annual awards called “Gawad Kalasag”, which provides acknowledgement for excellence in programmes, activities and projects that protect high risk communities against hazards and provide more capabilities in addressing vulnerabilities and coping from disasters. It was noted in the interviews that a system of public recognition is an effective way to motivate good practices in the Philippines.

In addition to the award system, there are many initiatives in place to support local capacity building for CCA and DRM. These include:

  • The Local Government Academy conducts training on governance and DRRM;

  • The Philippine Public Safety College has a master’s course on crisis and disaster risk management;

  • DILG has been partnering with academia for technical augmentation;

  • The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (now Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development) provides assistance to LGUs in the preparation of their comprehensive land use plans;

  • The Manila Observatory hosts training sessions on the Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA) for LGUs.

In addition to the LCCAP and the LDRRMP, The Local Government Code mandates all cities and municipalities5 to prepare two basic plans, namely the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) (a socio-economic plan) and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) (see Figure 6.2.). A challenge among LGUs, however, is that laws under multiple government agencies require the preparation of a plethora of plans, estimated to be over 30 in total (GOV.PH, 2017[16]). The sheer number of requirements often leads to low absorption of guidelines coming from the national level.

The mismatch between institutional responsibilities and capacities at the local level go beyond CCA and DRM policies (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]). For example, national agencies have been receiving complaints from LGUs that one of the basic planning requirements, putting together the CDP, is already overwhelming (GIZ, 2018[17]). While the CDP is a mandatory requirement, as of 2015, less than 50% of LGUs have a CDP in place (GOV.PH, 2017[16]). This has acute consequences for CCA and DRM implementation. A 2013 assessment of LGU compliance to the DRRM Act found that only 23% of LGUs located in flood-prone areas are prepared for disasters in terms of awareness, institutional capacities and co-ordination (SENATE.GOV.PH, 2017[18]).

Capacity constraints at the local level illustrate the importance of policy coherence between CCA and DRM. A common complaint is that while there are respective international communities working on CCA and DRM and two somewhat co-ordinated national communities, at the local level there is often one or two people responsible for the formulation of all initiatives that include a focus on CCA and DRM. New and separate requirements for planning and reporting can impose significant administrative burdens and pressure on already stretched LGUs.

The twin challenges of capacity constraints and plan proliferation are widely recognised at the national level, and there are ongoing efforts to promote the mainstreaming of sectoral issues into the CLUP and CDP, the key planning documents at the local level. Figure 6.2. provides an overview of how these key documents are linked to implementation instruments, as well as the role of different national agencies. An example of an implementation instrument would be coastal easements. According to the Water Code of the Philippines, there should be an easement of 40 meters from the highest tide of the shorelines. A CLUP cannot pass the provincial land use committee technical review if easements go below this regulation.

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Figure 6.2. Overview of local planning requirements and their links with national agencies
Figure 6.2. Overview of local planning requirements and their links with national agencies

Source: Author’s elaboration, based on DILG local government handbook

Key national government agencies have developed various guidelines and references that encourage and build capacity for LGUs to mainstreaming climate change adaptation and disaster risk management into the planning process. These include:

  • Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) created Local Planning Illustrative Guide: Preparing and Updating the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) in 2017. This includes entry points for mainstreaming CCA and DRM.

  • DILG created an LGU Guidebook on the Formulation of Local Climate Change Action Plan Book 4 in 2017 (first version released in 2014). The guidebook focuses on helping LGUs define their local priority actions for adaptation, and detailing the relevant scale (area of implementation) and time (short, medium, long term).

  • The Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) updated its’ 2006 CLUP guidance in 2014 in compliance with the CCA Act and the DRRM Act that require that CCA and DRM are mainstreamed in all national and local development plans.

  • NEDA has prepared guidance on mainstreaming DRR and CCA in the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plans.

While the burden of planning can seem heavy, the preparation of such plans is intended to guide LGUs in identifying programmes and projects in support of various sectoral objectives, and ultimately as a basis for budget support. However, as the LGUs are autonomous entities, there are no sanctions imposed on them if they are not able to comply with the plans required of them.

A key governance mechanism for DRM at the local level is the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMC). Mandated by the DRRM Act, local councils replicate the NDDRMC responsibilities and are tasked with approving, monitoring and implementing LDRRMPs; ensuring that DRM concerns are integrated into local development plans, programmes and budgets; and undertaking evacuation procedures for local residents before disasters. The LDRRMCs are also tasked with preparedness activities through information dissemination and raising public awareness at the local level by, for example, displaying hazard maps in community spaces and disseminating printed information materials.

Where robust LDRRMCs are in place, they can also act as a focal point for mainstreaming climate considerations into DRM plans. Stakeholders interviewed for this study noted that LDRMCs often act as climate change champions, for example, by communicating sea-level rise risk maps at the community-level.

A persistent challenge to the LDRRMC structure is local capacity, echoing broader capacity gaps at the LGU level. Although many LGUs complied with the provision of the act and set up LDRRMCs, others failed to hire permanent personnel due to fiscal limitations. In several instances, DRRM personnel assignments and institutional involvement remained ad hoc and temporary (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]). The lack of permanent personnel then makes capacity building within LGUs more difficult (Domingo and Olaguera, 2017[14]) In addition, the NDRRMC does not have the capacity to supervise all the local councils (Alcayna, T.; Bolletino, V.; Dy, P.; Vinck, 2016[19]).

Data and information

Credible and transparent information on hazards, exposure and vulnerabilities are required to inform CCA and DRM planning. In addressing climate change, historical records need to be complemented with projections of how trends might change in the future (OECD, 2015[20]). Given that better information will become available and new risks will become apparent over time, the analysis of climate risks needs to be an iterative process that monitors the evolution of risks and communicates these to the decision makers and stakeholders who most need this information (OECD, 2015[20]).

There has been steady progress in the Philippines in responding to climate and disaster related information needs. DOST, through the Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), provides early warnings and daily weather forecasts, as well as a medium to long-term weather outlook. PAGASA is currently working on moving from assessing hazards to assessing risks. This implies a shift from passive weather forecasting to a multi-hazard impact-based early-warning system and forecasting which integrates climate information. For example, in advance of recent typhoon-related flood events in Manilla, PAGASA issued a yellow ‘take action’ weather warning which alerted communities to the risk (GOV.UK, 2017[21]). In the recent past, general weather forecasts needed to be interpreted by individuals, as they would provide a warning of heavy rains but not the risk of flood (see Box 6.3).

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Box 6.3. Lessons learned from Typhoon Yolanda

In December 2013, Typhoon Yolanda left over 6,000 people dead and millions displaced. While the extreme damage and loss of life from Yolanda were mainly due to the strength of the storm and the geographic exposure of the Philippines, areas of disaster preparedness have since been improved. These include:

  1. 1. Communicating risks - While the area hit hardest by the storm received early warnings, many communities were unfamiliar with the term “storm surge”. As the Philippines has so many regional languages, PAGASA did not have a local term to properly communicate the uncommon phenomenon to everyone. After the disaster, PAGASA has worked with linguists to craft simpler meteorological terms to ensure that the dangers from disaster risks are fully understood by all.

  2. 2. Improvements in forecasting - Tropical typhoons are notoriously one of the most difficult weather phenomena to predict. While Yolanda’s track was predicted accurately using a global forecasting model, its intensity was underestimated. Working in partnership with UK Aid and the UK Met office, PAGASA has worked to improve its forecasting with the following results:

    • Better forecast representation of the low pressure associated with tropical storms, which helps with forecasting storm intensity.

    • Improved model initialisation, which increases forecast accuracy and has pushed the timeline of forecasting typhoon landfall from 24 hours to 36 hours.

Source: (Jibiki et al., 2016[22]) (GOV.UK, 2017[21])

Whilst PAGASA and other information providers produce a lot of weather and climate information, the uptake of such information is limited. One reason is that many potential end-users (such as sectors and communities) are not aware of what information is available and how it can be accessed. Further, there is a lack of capacity to analyse and interpret climate information across government, but most acutely at the local government level. This is particularly problematic given the role of LGUs in DRM and CCA planning. Further, while many information sources exist, comparability and usability are often limited. For example, interviewees noted that many sources of information are only available as downloadable pdfs, which makes it difficult to use them as input data in decision-making processes. In others cases, the data may have to be officially requested in writing or require payment to access.

The lack of and difficulty in accessing adequate DRM and CCA data and information compounds existing challenges around CCA and DRM coherence and implementation. Data management systems need to be developed to facilitate data sharing and access to decision-relevant information. Recent efforts from the government demonstrate recognition for the need to centralise information and facilitate access (see Box 6.4). Given that the initiative is still recent, it is too early to evaluate its effectiveness.

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Box 6.4. The GeoRiskPH Initiative – Centralising information needs

The “Geospatial Information Management and Analysis System for Hazards and Risk Assessment in the Philippines” (GeoRiskPH) is a recent initiative by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Partner agencies include PAGASA, National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and OCD. The goal of GeoRiskPH is to be the Philippines’ central source of information for accurate and efficient hazards and risk assessment. It aims to address issues such as mapping inaccuracies, gaps, overlaps and duplication of efforts that are due to the absence of mapping standards, protocols and codes.

The project is in the development phase, with a focus on web and mobile applications to enable easy access to hazard and disaster exposure data, which can be used by government and other stakeholders to perform hazards and risk assessment. All participating government agencies agreed to contribute their individual data to the GeoRiskPH platform at a Cabinet Meeting on July 1, 2019.

Source: Interviews

Risk and vulnerability assessments are also key tools for informing planning processes to identify and prioritise investments. There is current momentum to standardise one such tool, The Climate and Disaster Risk Assessment (CDRA). The CDRA generally consists of:

  • identifying different hazards and hazard-prone areas;

  • evaluating the likelihood of occurrence and severity of consequence of different hazards;

  • understanding exposure for different critical areas (e.g. population, infrastructure, natural resources);

  • recommending appropriate measures for CCA and DRM (GOV.PH, 2017[23]).

An ongoing challenge that has created confusion in implementation and generated possible inefficiencies is that different national institutions (e.g. NEDA, CCC, NDRRMC, DILG) promote slightly different versions of the climate and disaster risk assessments, with different definitions and methodologies. This inconsistency is partly due to the desire of national agencies to make the process less resource intensive to ensure that lower income (and thus lower capacity) LGUs were not excluded from the risk assessment process due to requirements they cannot meet. More importantly, the variations in the different methodologies reflect the specificities of the policy planning processes they serve.

Similar to capacity gaps around governance and planning, at the LGU level, challenges remain in conducting climate and disaster risk assessments. This in turn impairs subsequent planning and implementation processes, including efforts to access domestic CCA and DRM funds. There is an additional gap in translating information LGUs collect on local vulnerabilities back up to the national level so that these can be factored into those planning processes as well.

Implementing measures

While the Philippines has made progress in their DRM and CCA policies, obstacles remain in implementation. There are two major overarching challenges:

  1. 1. Weak risk reduction regulation, incentives and enforcement: Poor regulation in the construction of buildings and other physical establishments in disaster‐prone areas contributes to increased risks in communities. The lack of governance and weak enforcement of disaster management-related policies and laws have led to the proliferation of establishments and informal settlers in low-lying and high-risk areas in the Philippines. For example, in many LGUs, appropriate building codes and standards are compromised to reduce construction costs (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]). Other examples include the low uptake of mandatory insurance for public buildings, and low compliance with wastewater disposal requirements (see Box 6.8 on the temporary Boracay closure).

  2. 2. Low risk reduction investments at the local government level. As described in the preceding section, LGUs face significant capacity constraints, meaning limited resources need to cover a wide range of priorities. CCA and DRM investments must compete against the demand for funding from other development priorities of LGUs, which often have more immediate visibility and pay-off. In addition, while there is a dedicated budget for DRM at the local level (see section on financing), LGUs often lack the technical capacity to identify effective risk reduction measures, and therefore may end up spending the dedicated funding on low-hanging measures such as response equipment.

In addition to these overarching challenges, the remainder of this section focuses on three key areas which are of high importance for the integration of CCA and DRM: encouraging climate and disaster resilient infrastructure, the use of nature based solutions and building back better after a disaster occurs.

Climate Resilient Infrastructure

The Philippines is in the process of undertaking massive infrastructure investment and it is critical that climate change and disaster risks are considered in these projects. Decisions made about the location, construction and operation of infrastructure strongly influences the Philippines future vulnerability and resilience to the impacts of climate related disaster risk. First, the location of infrastructure networks can drive development patterns and has the potential to increase the concentration of people and assets in areas of high exposure to hazards. Second, the way infrastructure is built and maintained can increase vulnerability if plans do not account for changing conditions. The long-lived nature of infrastructure assets means that decisions made now will lock-in vulnerability if they fail to consider climate impacts (Vallejo and Mullan, 2017[24]).

The “Build, Build, Build” agenda of the current government plans to intensify investments on public infrastructure whilst addressing implementation bottlenecks, ensuring the readiness of infrastructure projects in the pipeline and enhancing the absorptive capacities of implementing agencies in project preparation, development and implementation (GOV.PH, 2017[25]). This agenda plans to spend an ambitious USD 180 billion on infrastructure over the next decade. This investment will cover 75 flagship projects, which include six airports, nine railways, 32 roads and bridges, ten water resource projects, as well as irrigation systems that will raise agricultural output; and five flood control facilities (GOV.PH, 2017[25]). Given the high exposure of the country to both sudden events and slow-onset change such as sea-level rise, it is crucial that these new investments are assessed both for their individual resilience to disasters but also how they contribute to the resilience of the country as a whole. Box 6.5 provides examples of how other countries have added extra safety margins for climate impacts.

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Box 6.5. Incorporating sea-level rise margins into coastal defence infrastructure in OECD countries

A measure that is being used in OECD countries to manage the impacts of sea-level rise is applying a climate change safety margin during the design process for coastal defence infrastructure, such as dykes, levees and seawalls. Coastal defence infrastructure is designed to achieve a level of service (such as protecting a community from a 100-year flood), and in general, this level of service is determined using historical climate information, which does not incorporate changing conditions. Several countries have updated design standards to include a climate change safety margin, such as Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. For example, in Germany, dyke crests have been widened in order to address uncertainty in future sea-level rise.

Source: (OECD, 2019[26])

The use and enforcement of up-to-date building codes are another opportunity to mainstream climate and disaster risk considerations into infrastructure investment. In the Philippines, the National Building Code6 was issued in 1977, and did not account for natural hazards. DPWH is in the process of reviewing and revising the code, with the support of the World Bank, in order to integrate disaster risk reduction measures for earthquakes (World Bank, 2016[27]), as well as incorporate wind load related to typhoons. The process of revising the building code should be used as an opportunity to incorporate future climate considerations as well.

The use of nature-based solutions

Healthy natural systems can provide many of the key services communities seek from engineered, hard infrastructure — for example, mangroves can provide coastal protection by reducing the impact of waves, storm surge and coastal erosion. Nature-based solutions (NBS) are an approach to risk management that involve working with nature and enhancing ecosystem services to help address societal goals. Actions cover a spectrum of interventions, from protecting, restoring and improving the management of marine or terrestrial ecosystems, to the creation of natural processes in modified or artificial ecosystems (Nesshöver et al., 2017[28]). A key advantage of the use of NBS for disaster management in the context of climate change is that they can be flexible in the face of changing conditions if not disturbed (Spalding et al., 2014[29]). In addition, NBS can provide co-benefits in a way hard infrastructure may not. Looking again at mangroves, they provide coastal protection, but can also support fisheries and food security, timber, non-timber forest products, tourism and act as a significant carbon sink (Narayan et al., 2016[30]).

The Philippines has a high level of ecosystem degradation, which has increased vulnerability to climate and disaster risks. For example, modelling based on the Philippines’s current population found that the mangroves lost between 1950 and 2010 have resulted in increases in flooding to more than 267,000 people every year (Tercek, 2017[31]). At the same time, there is a strong economic case to protect, manage and restore ecosystems given the valuable services they provide. Continuing with the mangrove example, restoring mangroves would bring more than USD 450 million per year in flood protection benefits (Tercek, 2017[31]). Existing mangroves currently protect 613,000 people from flooding, of which 23% live in poverty (Tercek, 2017[31]).

National CCA policies in the Philippines identify the critical linkages between people and their surrounding ecosystems. In addition, there is a good level of awareness among national and regional policy makers of the importance of healthy ecosystems to support development priorities. For example, the NCCAP has specific programmes and strategies for adaptation relevant to NBS, which include “enhancing adaptive capacity and resilience of communities and natural ecosystems to climate change” and “adopting the total economic valuation of natural resources while ensuring biodiversity conservation” (NCCAP). However, capacity gaps and governance challenges have in many cases hindered implementation. For example, while the HLURB 2014 CLUP guidance promotes the importance of a “ridge to reef” ecosystem approach to land-use planning, it lacks clear guidance around responsibilities for the implementation of NBS (GIZ, 2018[17]). There is a strong need for government agencies to take a coherent approach to NBS, which includes clear roles for monitoring and enforcement.

Post disaster reconstruction as an opportunity to reinforce climate resilience

In the aftermath of disasters, the reconstruction process, if properly conducted, can be a good opportunity to strengthen resilience to future risks. It also provides an opportunity to construct safer structures by enforcing higher disaster resiliency standards, and promote inclusiveness by addressing socioeconomic vulnerabilities. Linking early response with longer-term recovery and disaster risk reduction remains one of the most persistent challenges of the aid sector globally, largely due to continued under-funding of recovery programmes. Another major challenge in recovery process are the budgetary and procurement rules and prescriptive time periods which observe the fiscal calendar. The post-Typhoon Yolanda experience showed that less than half of the USD 788 million needed for recovery had been received six months after the disaster (Alcayna, T.; Bolletino, V.; Dy, P.; Vinck, 2016[19]). Much of the funding for rehabilitation and recovery came from the national budget.

Financing mechanisms

The Philippines has recent experience with the serious short and long-term economic and fiscal impacts of disasters. The ramifications of the USD 12.9 billion in damage and losses caused by Typhoon Yolanda were widespread; national economic activity slowed by nearly a full percentage point in 2013 and another 0.3% in 2014. Approximately 2.3 million people were pushed into poverty as result of these shocks (GFDRR, 2017[32]).

Recognising the high economic and fiscal risks associated with its vulnerability to disasters, the Philippines has devoted considerable effort to increasing its financial resilience to disasters. The government has put a mixture of arrangements in place for climate and disaster risk management, which includes dedicated funds for preparedness investments, contingency funds in anticipation of potential disaster events and sources of financing to turn to after an event. These instruments are outlined in the section below.

Budgetary instruments

The Philippine DRRM Act establishes a DRM fund at the national level, both to fund prevention and to respond to urgent needs during emergencies. The annual allocation is determined in the national budget upon the approval of the President, as recommended by NDRRMC. Of the total fund amount, 70% is mandated for disaster risk reduction and prevention, and 30% is a Quick Response Fund available for relief, response and recovery programmes (GOV.PH, 2010[33]). Prior to the passing of the DRRM Act, the primary national fund for DRM was known as the Calamity Fund, which was 100% for relief, response and reconstruction. The 70% allocation has been used mostly for rehabilitation and recovery programs, which has had the biggest funding requirement in DRM. The overall allocations to the NDRRM fund have been steadily increasing over the past decade, which can be explained by 1) an increasing political focus on DRM and 2) increasing expenses from damages from increasingly intense typhoons, earthquakes and even human-induced events.

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Figure 6.3. NDRRM Fund allocation, 2010-2018
Figure 6.3. NDRRM Fund allocation, 2010-2018

Note: A major increase (178%) in the budget for disaster risk management was observed in 2016 following the devastating impact of typhoon Yolanda in late 2013. Of the PHP 38.9 billion NDRRM budget for 2016, about PHP18.9 billion (nearly 50% of the total) was allocated to the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Plan (CRRP) for Typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas. The NDRRM Fund was significantly lower in 2017, which can be attributed to the completion of the CRRP.

Source: (GOV.PH, 2019[34]) (SENATE.GOV.PH, 2017[18])

In theory, part of the 70% allocation of the NDRRM Fund7 towards prevention can be used for climate adaptation projects. However, in practice, there can be limited funding for prevention. A 2017 review of how the fund was disbursed over the past ten years found that it is mainly used for relief, recovery and reconstruction, due to the high and immediate financing needs in these areas. In some years the amount in the NDRRM Fund has been inadequate to meet post-disaster financing needs, much less risk reduction efforts (Villacin[35]). In addition, disaster prevention activities should be included in the regular budgets of agencies rather than charged to the NDRRMF, as they can be determined in planning exercises and programmed by agencies.

The Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (LDRRMF) is the primary instrument for LGUs. The DRRM Act of 2010 requires LGUs to set aside no less than 5% of their annual revenue from regular sources to their LDRRMF. Those contributions are allocated as follows:

  • Quick Response Fund (QRF) - 30% of the annual LDRRMF allocated for post-disaster financial liquidity. Resources from the QRF are available upon the declaration of a state of calamity at a local (city or higher) or national level by a relevant body.

  • Disaster Mitigation Fund - 70% of the annual LDRRMF allocated for use in disaster prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation and recovery projects identified in a city’s local disaster risk reduction and management plan and integrated in its annual investment programme.

  • Special Trust Fund (STF) - unspent balances of the LDRRMF at the end of a budget year accrue to a special trust fund for use within 5 years for the sole purpose of disaster risk reduction and management activities.

While LGUs have ultimate control over the use of their LDRRMF, the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (LDRRMC) recommend the programmes and projects for which the LDRRMF shall be spent on, based on the Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan. The structure of the LDRRMF fund can be considered a best practice. By requiring local governments to set aside a portion of their operating budgets for disaster management and encouraging local governments to use a significant portion of that funding for pre-disaster preparedness and risk reduction measures, the Philippines has established the components for a comprehensive local government risk financing system that is well incorporated in existing budgeting structures.

There are also visible limitations to the current scheme, which include:

  • There is a wide disparity of overall budgets among LGUs. There is a significant imbalance between the risk exposure of poor, vulnerable LGUs and their available resources to prevent and cope with the impact of disasters, and LGUs with higher vulnerability to disasters often are those which have the lowest income (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]). While the act encourages LGUs to invest in disaster risk management, the current system can put LGUs in poorer provinces at a disadvantage as they have lower revenues and fewer available resources for their Quick Response Fund (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]).

  • All LGUs are not equally prone to disasters, however, the national policy for devolution of finances (see Box 6.6) does not recognise differentiated vulnerabilities.

  • Actions in practice often differs significantly from the LDRMMF provision. A 2014 audit found that many LGUs, especially the low-income municipalities, do not usually meet what they plan to set aside as their actually revenue collection is often lower than estimated. Therefore, even if LGUs comply with the mandatory provision for their LDRMMF, they do not usually back it up with actual cash (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]).

One option for low-income LGUs is to get additional assistance from the national government by accessing the NDRRMF; however, the process can be resource and time intensive. To be eligible, LGUs must have exhausted their internal resources and have requests reviewed and endorsed by the OCD and the NDRMC. A common criticism is the lengthy and complicated process to gain access to the NDRRMF, as it can take between a few months to years to receive funds (Villacin, 2017[35]). In addition, a 2014 audit found that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) is not getting requests for supplemental funds from lower income LGUs (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]), demonstrating the high complexity of requirements to access funds and capacity constraints.

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Box 6.6. Devolution of Power in the Philippines – The Internal Revenue Allotment

The internal revenue allotment (IRA) is provided to allow LGUs to carry out functions that are devolved to them by the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991. This law decentralised many functions previously handled by the national government with the premise that local governments are nearer to the people, and thus can better respond to their needs and preferences. The LGC of 1991 mandates that IRA is allocated in the following way: 23% goes to provinces and cities each, 34% to municipalities, and 20% to barangays8. It is distributed among each group according to the following criteria: 50% based on population size, 25% based on land area and 25% shared equally.

Source: (Canare, 2016[36])

Aside from the NDRRMF, the People's Survival Fund (PSF) also provides financial assistance to projects that address the impacts of disasters and climate change. The PSF was established as a long-term financing stream to support LGUs in their adaptation efforts, and the Philippines is one of few countries with dedicated funding set aside for local level adaptation. The climate act was amended in 2014 to include provisions for an annual PHP 1 billion (USD 22.2 million) fund, with any unused amount being added to the following year’s amount (GOV.PH, n.d.[37]). LGUs, NGOs and CSOs are eligible to submit community-led climate change adaptation proposals to the board of the People’s Survival Fund, chaired by the finance secretary, which will shortlist and approve projects (GOV.PH, n.d.[37]). Activities eligible to be supported through the fund include adaptation in water resource management, agriculture and fisheries, forecasting and early warning systems, contingency planning, in particular, for droughts and floods, and more. The fund may also serve as a guarantee for risk insurance needs for farmers, agricultural workers and other stakeholders.

Despite the amount of funding available in the PSF, only 6 projects have been approved so far. This reflects the difficulty in getting the balance right between accessibility of funds and fiduciary standards. It is currently technically challenging to get a proposal approved, as proponents need to demonstrate a stringent vulnerability assessment and the effectiveness of their proposed interventions before submitting a proposal. At the same time, projects that receive funding must be well thought out and include a clear adaptation component, as it was noted in a few interviews conducted for this study that LGUs have applied for PSF funding for other priorities with no climate change component. Given the high adaptation needs of the country, it will be important to find ways to improve uptake of the fund, by both potentially easing requirements and supporting LGUs in their applications. One way of providing support would be by making applications of successful projects publicly available, so other LGUs could learn from precedent. Projects that have been approved thus far include addressing the challenge of saltwater intrusion in water supply in the Camotes Islands, in Cebu.

The 2015 Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Strategy

In 2015, the government formulated a Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Strategy. The strength of this approach is that it takes stock of existing disaster risk financing measures in the Philippines and positions them within a broad framework of disaster resilience for the country. This reveals key gaps, for example around financial protection at the local level, and availability of funds that can be dispersed quickly. The strategy, elaborated in Table 6.2., proposes potential instruments that could fill these gaps. The on-going Sunset Review of the DRRM Act should be used as an opportunity to strengthen the standing of the Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Strategy by incorporating it into the Act. This could also be used as an opportunity to make sure climate change considerations are incorporated.

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Table 6.2. Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Strategy



Measure in place

Gap identified in the strategy

Donors involved


Improve the financing of post-disaster emergency response, recovery and reconstruction needs

  • Two contingent credit lines totalling USD1 billion: the first DRM Development Policy Loan with a Catastrophic Deferred Drawdown Option (Cat-DDO) provides the government with up to USD 500 million in rapid liquidity in the aftermath of a disaster. The Cat-DDO was disbursed in December 2011 after Tropical Storm Sendong (Washi), and the World Bank approved a second USD 500 million Cat-DDO (CAT-DDO 2) in December 2015. This new credit line can be accessed following “a state of calamity” declared by the President. The CAT-DDO 2 gives the Philippines flexibility to use the funds as needed.

  • Use risk transfer to access international private reinsurance and capital markets. Php 1 billion in 2017 and Php 2 billion in 2018 were allocated for risk insurance under the national budget, and were reinsured under a parametric insurance scheme.

  • The need to take stock of the contingent liabilities facing the government by gathering and developing the necessary risk information to analyse likely government spending for future disasters.

The World Bank, JICA

Subnational/ Local

Improve the financing of post-disaster emergency response, recovery and reconstruction needs

  • A pilot to establish a Local Disaster Insurance Fund. The government is currently working with provinces to establish a catastrophe risk insurance facility to improve access to quick liquidity for emergency response and early recovery.

  • A pilot to establish a city-level risk pool.

  • The need to improve compliance of LGUs in terms of purchasing insurance from the GSIS for public property.

ADB, the World Bank


Empower poor and vulnerable households and owners of small and medium-sized enterprises to quickly restore their livelihoods after a disaster.

  • n/a

  • The need to create private property catastrophe risk insurance for homeowners and small- and medium-size businesses

  • The need to strengthen the link between disaster risk financing and social protection by establishing a post-disaster emergency income support programme which integrates a post-disaster component in the national conditional cash transfer programme

Note: Php: Philippine Peso

Work on the DRFI strategy has also highlighted the general challenges that remain around the rollout and uptake of financial protection instruments. These include the social acceptability of insurance, the ability of LGUs and individuals to pay for premiums, the limited practice of saving in the country and low awareness of existing products.


Insurance of public assets is mainly provided by the state-owned Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) which indemnifies the government for any damage to, or loss of, its properties due to fire, earthquake, storm (including typhoons) or other casualty (OECD, 2015[38]). Indemnity insurance provides payouts in accordance with the actual losses suffered by a policyholder. For this to function properly, LGUs must share detailed information on the assets covered under the policy in order to enable GSIS to assess and price the risk to those assets. As the damage assessment process for an indemnity policy can be complex, it can potentially take a long time for LGUs to receive a payout, and once the payout is received, it can typically only be used to repair or replace the specific assets insured under the insurance policy and cannot be “diverted” to support other post-disaster needs. Notwithstanding the GSIS, government assets, particularly those of local governments, are often uninsured or underinsured. While LGUs are legally required to purchase insurance from the GSIS, currently only around 30% of local government properties are actually insured (GOV.PH, 2018[37]).

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Box 6.7. Parametric insurance pilots in the Philippines

The Philippines, along with development partners, is working on two parametric insurance pilots to fill gaps in the financial protection of the country against disaster risks. Parametric insurance makes a specified payment upon the occurrence of a triggering event, satisfying pre-agreed characteristics, such as the magnitude of an earthquake or the intensity of a typhoon. Since the payment of claims depends on parametric triggers (and not on actual losses, which take time to assess), claims can be made within weeks compared to several months for traditional insurance. The rapid payouts available through these pilots complement existing post-disaster financing arrangements, such as indemnity insurance purchased through the GSIS which is targeted at longer-term financing needs during the post-disaster reconstruction phase.

The two pilots are:

  • The Philippines entered a reinsurance arrangement intermediated by the World Bank in July 2017. Under this pilot, the GSIS will provide USD 206 million in aggregate coverage for national government assets against earthquakes and severe typhoons, and protection against severe typhoons for 25 provinces. This type of insurance acts as the last line of defence, complementing other funding sources such as the NDRRMF, LDRRMF and contingent credit that protects against less severe events.

  • The Department of Finance is with technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank exploring the feasibility of a Philippine City Disaster Insurance Pool (PCDIP). Initial coverage would include earthquakes and typhoons that in the future could be expanded to also include flood coverage. Upon the occurrence of a triggering event, payments would be made within 15 business days (ADB, 2018[39]).

Budget Tracking

The DBM, CCC and DILG have established an initiative on Climate Change Expenditure Tagging (CCET) at the national and local level that came into effect in 2015. The purpose of this initiative is to track, monitor and report climate change programmes, activities and projects. This is to support the assessment of the status of the country’s response to climate change and ideally to guide improvements of its effectiveness. The amount tagged for each budget year has been increasing: from PhP 137.1 Billion (USD 2.64 Billion) in 2016 to PhP 204.6 Billion (USD 3.94 Billion) in 2017 and to PhP 276.1 Billion (USD 5.32 Billion) in 2018 (GOV.PH, 2018[40]). The same tagging arrangement for climate change expenses between the CCC and the DBM could be adopted by the NDRRMC/OCD and the DBM to get a better sense of DRRM-related spending. This would also enable more coherence between the two areas.

Monitoring, evaluation and learning

In terms of climate change adaptation at the national level, monitoring and reporting on the NCCAP implementation progress has been challenging, as systems are not in place to collect and integrate results from various line agencies. The CCC has overall responsibility of monitoring, reporting, and evaluating the progress of the NCCAP implementation. While national agencies do report on the activities they are implementing, they do not necessarily collect or provide information on the results. Further, there are no guidelines to ensure that the collected information can be aggregated across activities.

For disaster risk management, the DRM law assigns the task of monitoring, evaluation and co-ordination to the OCD. The OCD faces similar challenges as the CCC, where line agencies report on implementation but not results. The OCD is also tasked with monitoring local implementation, however, interviews noted that the DILG is in a better strategic and resource position to review and make recommendation on LGU plans. While the OCD has the mandate for this work under the DRRM Act, the task requires some actions and resources that may be better suited to the capacities of the DILG.

At the local level, some LGUs have begun to develop and implement LCCAPs (often as part of their CLUPs). However, no system is in place to monitor, review and learn from these plans, within LGUs, but also across LGUs. The situation is quite similar for local DRRM implementation; while policy development (e.g. the creation of a plan) is reported, their implementation and the subsequent results are not (COA.GOV.PH, 2014[7]). Noting that capacity constraints consistently are cited as an important barrier to implementation, an approach in addressing these constraints could be to monitor the progress and challenges of local implementation, to guide the CCC and NDDRMC in tailoring their support to the LGUs. In addition, communities often have their own mechanisms to manage disaster risks, and documenting and sharing the experiences of communities from previous disasters could contribute to a sustainable disaster management system with strong community ownership.

copy the linklink copied! Focus on the Tourism sector

Tourism is a fast growing sector in the Philippines (see Figure 6.4.), and contributes to the economic growth and well-being of local communities. In 2017, the tourism industry contributed 12.2% to the country’s economy, playing an important role in advancing development (GOV.PH, 2018[2]). Employment in tourism was estimated at 5.3 million in 2017, and share of employment in tourism to total employment in the country was recorded at 13.1% in 2017 (GOV.PH, 2018[2]).

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Figure 6.4. Share of Tourism to GDP, Philippines: 2012-2017
Figure 6.4. Share of Tourism to GDP, Philippines: 2012-2017

Source: GOV.PH (2018), Contribution of Tourism to the Economy is 12.2 Percent in 2017,

Given the overall exposure of the country to hazards, many popular touristic areas are highly prone to disasters and vulnerable to increasing impacts from climate change. As the Philippines is an archipelago, many of its tourist destinations are in coastal and marine areas, which are vulnerable to sea level rise, drought conditions, monsoon rains and sea surface temperature changes. Beach erosion is already occurring on many islands and is expected to become more pronounced with the effects of sea-level rise, compounded by seasonal typhoons and monsoons (Maguigad, King and Cottrell, 2015[41]). Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, and Western Visayas are projected to lose over 50% of their existing coastal wetlands by 2100 (Cruz, 2017[8]). Other changes already observed by locals include (i) damage to historically resilient property (e.g., hotels, resorts, houses) during tropical cyclones or low pressure area; (ii) a number of houses relocated due to coastal erosion; and (iii) older homes and established trees washed out during tropical cyclones and (iv) coral bleaching (Cruz, 2017[8]).

Climate change and disaster risks affect the lives and livelihoods of many who are dependent on the tourism industry. Disaster events have direct impacts – the devastation of Yolanda included closure of and damages to popular hotels, beach resorts and dive sites. Slow onset events can also bring long-term consequences. To illustrate, estimates of the impacts of coral bleaching in El Nido Resort are roughly USD 1.5 million a year in losses to the local economy (GOV.PH, 2014[9]).

Depending on how it is managed, the tourism sector can contribute to continued environmental degradation, which increases vulnerability. Large-scale developments have increased pressure on fragile ecosystems in the Philippines, especially in coastal zones. These impacts include destruction of local biodiversity (including mangroves and coral reefs which in turn increases vulnerability), pollution, introduction of invasive species and land erosion (Nitivattananon and Srinonil, 2019[42]). As reported in the NCCAP, as coastal populations have increased, so has excavation, dredging and coastal transformation to accommodate coastal development practices. The recent closure of Boracay provides an example of the potential damage from unrestrained tourism development (see Box 6.8).

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Box 6.8. Boracay closure and the enforcement of environmental regulation

Boracay is a small island in the Western Visayas, known for its striking natural beauty and white sand beaches. In 2017 alone over 2 million people visited it, many of them arriving en masse from cruise ships. Increasing numbers of visitors has put an immense strain on the islands’ fragile ecosystems. In addition to the mass influx of people, environmental degradation over the years has been driven by fast-growing development, encroachment of structures along the coastline and poor implementation and enforcement of environmental regulations. For example, a 2017 DENR survey found that 716 of 834 businesses and residences lacked wastewater permits and many were discharging sewage into the sea. Furthermore, unsustainable tourism and construction practices led to beach erosion, needing stricter regulations.

In April 2018, the President ordered the closure of the island for six months to undertake a large-scale clean-up operation. Authorities limited the number of tourists to 6,400 a day, required hotels and other businesses to install proper sewage treatment systems, mandated that tourists stay in government-accredited hotels with proper sanitation, banned single-use plastics, created steep fines for littering and required recreational vehicles to operate more than 100 meters offshore. The island partially reopened to tourists in October 2018, although full rehabilitation will take at least two years.

The abrupt closure of Boracay gave weight to the governments renewed seriousness on environmental regulation, and could potentially serve as a signal that environmental policies elsewhere will be reinforced. However, while the closure of the island had great benefits for the natural environment and for the long-term sustainability of the tourism trade in Boracay, it had serious short-term social and economic repercussions for those whose livelihood depended on the income from the tourism sector.

Source: (Reyes et al., 2018[43])

At the same time, tourism can be leveraged to increase resilience. The town of San Vincente, in Palawan, provides a concrete example. The government’s Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza)9 has concentrated on a series of infrastructure investments in the area to promote tourism, which include the completion of San Vicente Regional Airport, as well as new sewage and water facilities. Tieza has additionally created a “one-stop-shop” for investors in the area, which streamlines permitting, enforces environmental regulation and insures investments follow the town’s vision of sustainable development (GOV.PH, 2018[44]). Funding from Tieza has additionally been used to hire consultants to develop San Vincentes CDP, which incorporated climate considerations. CCA measures include the imposition of a 50-meter setback at the principal beach, even when the national law on coastal easement requires only 40 meters of foreshore clearance for any structure being put up near the sea (GOV.PH, 2018[44]). This has both tourism (bigger beach) and climate change (bigger buffer against sea level rise) benefits.  Another measure is a restriction that coastal property owners keep at least half of their lots as green and open spaces. One of the main motivations for linking environmental protection, climate adaptation and tourism development was to limit the damage to tourism revenues caused by environmental degradation in other big sites, such as El Nido and Boracay (GOV.PH, 2018[44]).

There are many examples of positive initiatives where the DOR, the DENR and LGUs have worked to encourage initiatives where tourism revenues support environmental and resilience objectives. These include eco-tourism to help fund mangrove maintenance, hotels and fisher folk collaborating on enforcing marine protected areas, and green hotel certificates incentivising efficient water usage. Some examples include:

  • DOT, through its Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Employment in Tourism (GREET) programme, gives assistance to programmes and projects that demonstrate environmental sustainability in concerned regions throughout the country. This assistance is provided in the form of financial aid, provision of skills and knowledge, values formation and other entitlements. The programme seeks to empower communities to be leaders in protecting ecotourism sites by building up their micro, small and medium enterprises.

  • DOT has recently included agri-tourism or farm tourism as a priority tourism product in the Philippines. DOT is keen to include climate-smart agriculture in its promotion of agri-tourism, noting that climate-smart agriculture is a "fairly new concept to some" but it is something that the DOT could include in its promotion of farm tourism.

  • DOT, with support of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), launched an initiative called the Transforming Communities towards Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable Tourism (TouRIST). DOT, WBG and ADB identified the seven targeted destinations for the rollout of its program: Bohol, Siargao, Siquijor, Davao City, Samal Island, Coron and El Nido in Palawan. Among the objectives of the TouRIST project, is to develop the capacity of local stakeholders to protect and conserve healthy oceans and rehabilitate key biodiversity–based tourism sites in order to promote sustainable tourism in the country.

While positive examples exist, they remain on an individual project basis without an overall vision for or strategy to link tourism development with increased resilience. DOT has traditionally been a policy planning department and not yet obtained sufficient financial resources or know-how to implement projects or directly support resilience in the tourism industry. Given the important interlinkages between tourism development and resilience building, future efforts are needed to scale up this practice and shift demand towards sustainable tourism, including a greater level of co-ordination between DOT, NEDA, DILG, LGUs, associations of the tourism industry and development co-operation providers. Benefits of such greater co-ordination would also help the tourism sector pursue economies of scale for CCA and DRM initiatives, which have so far been done in a fragmented way with different actors involved and timeframes applied.

copy the linklink copied! The role of development co-operation

Development financing in the Philippines

In the Philippines, development co-operation – both bilateral and multilateral – has played an important role in the context of CCA and DRM in i) providing technical assistance, ii) piloting new initiatives and in iii) bringing initiatives to scale. Examples include support to pilots of parametric financing instruments, such as the Philippine City Disaster Insurance Pool (see Box 6.7), and technical assistance in developing relevant policy instruments. An example is the support provided by the World Bank in suggesting revisions to the National Building Code to include disaster risk reduction measures for earthquakes and to incorporate wind load related to typhoons.

A review of adaptation-related commitments by bilateral providers and other multilateral providers10 reported into the OECD CRS show considerable variation over the period, ranging from a high of USD 586 million in 2014 to a low of USD 82 million in 2016. In general, the majority of commitments include a significant rather than principal focus on adaptation. This can in part be explained by the fact that over the period 2013-17, nearly half of commitments were targeting three broader sectors: i) general environmental protection, ii) water supply and sanitation and iii) government and civil society. An examination of the adaptation-related commitments show that only a small share, ranging between 1% and 11%, target the three DRM-linked sub-sectors. Again, this can be linked to the predominant focus on broader sectors that do not necessarily facilitate a focus on DRM. An exception is 2014, when Japan, ADB and the World Bank committed post-disaster stand-by loans following Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.

Despite its advanced economic status, it is interesting to note for illustrative purposes that the majority of climate-related commitments in 2016 and 2017 focused on adaptation rather than mitigation, for which the use of loans generally is considered more likely to generate returns than for adaptation. In 2016, adaptation accounted for 59%, mitigation for 18% and initiatives with a focus on both adaptation and mitigation for 23%. In 2017, these numbers were 91%, 4% and 5% respectively.

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Figure 6.5. Bilateral and other multilateral commitments for adaptation only (2013-17)
Figure 6.5. Bilateral and other multilateral commitments for adaptation only (2013-17)

Source: (OECD, n.d.[45])

In comparison, adaptation-related commitments from MDBs are recorded only in 2015 (one commitment of USD 498 million) and 2017 (USD 393 million), of which only the commitment from 2015 made by the World Bank includes a focus on disaster preparedness. For 2017, it is worth nothing that while none of the commitments by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the World Bank are recorded as including a focus on DRM sub-sector codes, all six are in support of flood management in Manila or Metro Manila. In all cases, these commitments are provided in the form of loans.

Examination of the CRS data of activities reported as having a focus on CCA and DRM illustrate that there are efforts to bring the two agendas together. While this analysis highlights the current level of overlap, it is hard to say whether the numbers could or should be different. A shared objective of the Paris Agreement and the Sendai Framework is the emphasis of country ownership and leadership. It is therefore important that support provided by development co-operation is aligned with and supportive of national objectives. Practice to date has shown that development co-operation has played a valuable role in supporting the government in piloting new initiatives that have proved effective in making the Philippines more resilient to climate risks.

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Table 6.3. Examples of commitments to the Philippines that include a focus on both Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management




Disaster prevention and preparedness


A loan, USD 498 million, from the World Bank for Second Disaster Risk Management Development CAT-DDO Policy


A grant, USD 6.6 million, from the Government of Australia and channelled via UNDP for the Philippines Disaster and Climate Risks Management initiative. Starting in 2005-6, and with a total value of USD 31 million, the objective of this eleven-year initiative is to strengthen the Philippines' capacity for disaster preparedness, by:

  • supporting institutional strengthening and capacity building for technical agencies on disaster response and monitoring, early warning and forecasting, hazard and risk analysis, climate science and adaptation options to better inform disaster and climate risk management in vulnerable areas;

  • providing government agencies with technical and policy support on integrating disaster risk management and climate change and mainstreaming across government and development sectors;

  • improving collaboration and information sharing by facilitating linkages between technical agencies in the Pwhilippines with their Australian counterparts and non-government organisations to support government priorities;

  • strengthening the capacity of communities to prepare for and respond to disasters;

  • enhancing the capacity of Post to better respond to disasters and GOP requirements.

Reconstruction, relief and rehabilitation


A loan, USD 470 million, from Japan following Typhoon Yolanda. This is a post-disaster stand-by loan with the objective of enhancing the capacity for disaster risk reduction and management


A 2014 grant, USD 15 million, from Germany to finance the reconstruction of public, social and economic infrastructure of Typhoon Yolanda affected areas

Emergency response


A grant, USD 1.1 million, from Sweden for material relief and assistance services. Following Typhoon Yolanda, this contribution is in support of UN Organisations and in the form of secondments, base camp material and medical teams


A grant, USD 140,000, from Iceland in response to emergency appeal of the Red Cross in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. The operation aims to deliver assistance to affected families, focusing on food and non-food relief, un-conditional cash grants, health, psychosocial support, water and sanitation, emergency shelter, shelter repair assistance, transitional shelter and early livelihoods recovery. In addition to meeting the direct needs of affected people, this operation will support the enhancement of PRC's capacity to respond to multiple disasters.

Source: (OECD, n.d.[45])

Challenges and best practices

A good practice in the Philippines is that NEDA serves as a focal point for Development Cooperation, and has organized regular sessions with all Development Cooperation providers who were supporting CCA and DRM efforts. These meetings allow for strong communication between partners, and has minimized duplication in efforts. However, they have steadily decreased in frequency and importance in recent years.

One challenge that remains in the Philippines is moving from capacity building to projects on the ground that increase resilience over the long term. Many existing capacity-building efforts do not have long-term effects, which is in part due to broader systemic issues such as high staff turnover in LGUs. The three-year term of local chief executives, with a maximum of three terms, is also seen as a reason for the lack of continuity of certain LGU initiatives. One way to work on the sustainability of projects is to make sure development cooperation efforts are well aligned with domestic processes and priorities. Strong political commitment guided by clear development objectives has been critical in the success of local projects, coupled with the willingness of the LGU to allocate their resources for such. Development cooperation could help build capacity in a way that enables LGUs to understand new concepts and paradigms to better access the domestic funding that is available but largely unused in the People’s Survival Fund.

Another challenge that must be addressed is ensuring coherence across all development efforts. This means mainstreaming CCA and DRR considerations across all projects, and in particular those that could be maladaptive, such as infrastructure investment that could inadvertently increase vulnerability.

copy the linklink copied!Annex 6.A. Stakeholders interviewed
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National Economic and Development Authority, both national and regional office(Our project focal point)

Department of Tourism, both national and regional office

Climate Change Commission

National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council

Office of Civil Defense

Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Department of Finance

Department of Interior and Local Government

Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration

Region 6 Tourism Office

Region 6 Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office

Manilla Observatory

Development partners (GIZ, KOICA, Australia, ADB)


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[7] COA.GOV.PH (2014), Assessment of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) at the Local Level Commission on Audit 2014 1 Assessment of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) at the Local Level, (accessed on 15 July 2019).

[8] Cruz, R. (2017), 2017 Philippine Climate Change Assessment: Impacts, Vulnerabilities and Adaptation.

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[32] GFDRR (2017), Comprehensive Financial Protection in the Philippines, (accessed on 1 March 2020).

[11] GFDRR (2016), The Philippines: Country Profile, (accessed on 26 March 2020).

[17] GIZ (2018), Entry Points for Mainstreaming Ecosystem-based Adaptation The Case of Philippines, (accessed on 4 June 2019).

[34] GOV.PH (2019), Status of National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund, (accessed on 6 August 2019).

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[1] World Bank (2019), Philippines Overview, (accessed on 11 June 2019).

[4] World Bank (2018), World Bank Climate Change Knowledge Portal for global climate data and information: Philippines, (accessed on 25 July 2019).

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← 1. Disaster risk management (DRM) is used in this chapter rather than disaster risk reduction (DRR) used in Part I since DRM is better aligned with the terminology used in relevant policy documents in the Philippines.

← 2. The actions proposed under the NDRRMP and NCCAP must be incorporated in the PDP and the Public Investment Program in order to be included in the national budget. However, not all the projects in the Public Investment Program are given budgetary allocations. Agencies, together with the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) prioritise these based on certain development objectives or sectoral outcomes.

← 3. The cluster on Climate Change Adaptation, Mitigation was created in 2011, and Disaster Risk Management was added to the cluster in 2017 (GOV.PH, 2018[15])

← 4. i) Prevention/Mitigation, ii) Prepardness, iii) Response, iv) Rehabilitation and Recovery

← 5. Provinces are required to develop the Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan (PDPFP) under the guidance of NEDA, as there is no CLUP on provincial level.

← 6. In 2016, The Philippine Green Building Code was released, which aims to improve building efficiency to mitigate negative environmental impacts of the building sector.

← 7. The NDRRMF covers all disaster risks, including seismic, therefore has a broader scope than CCA in terms of types of hazards covered

← 8. A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for village, distract or ward

← 9. Tieza is an agency under the Department of Tourism responsible for implementing policies and programs of the department pertaining to the development, promotion, and supervision of tourism projects.

← 10. Other multilateral providers included CIF, GEF, GGGI, IFAD. Commitments from these four funds and initiatives accounted for 4% of total adaptation-related commitments over the period 2013-17.

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