Features

 

The DRRM Revolution

“Isa talagang malaking sampal sa mukha namin yung disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) dahil sa Yolanda.” (DRRM was really a huge slap in our face because of Yolanda.) Kuya Mifael, an area coordinator for Eastern Visayas Network (EVNet) remarks, reminiscing about his experience when typhoon Yolanda, one of the strongest typhoons in recorded history, hit his hometown of Eastern Visayas in November 2013.

Disaster preparedness was never really a priority for the people of Eastern Visayas, confessed some civil society (CSO) workers. And who could blame them? With the region being one of the poorest in the country, livelihood, housing, and education were more pressing concerns. Yet this time, the CSO community is determined to change this mindset with a revolution of their own; one that would put DRRM as a priority for every one – governments, families, and individuals alike.

The People’s Budget

These days, Visayas is not only home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It is also the site of a budding civil society and civilian movement. As such, civil society organizations (CSOs) and local government units (LGUs) in many communities are collaborating to come up with an innovative way of budgeting.

The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) or Bottom-up Budgeting (BUB) is one of the reforms introduced by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Under this alternative budgetary process, a community’s budget is created with a bottom-up approach, wherein members of the community, through different civil society organizations, come together in an assembly to voice out what they believe are the most pressing needs of the community. The body then deliberates on projects and issues, which they believe, should be prioritized in their area. A list of this is then submitted to the LGU, and this is used as the basis for creating the budget the community will receive from the national government.

PRO-TREES: MATALOM’S ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION PROGRAM

The Matalom municipality in south-western Leyte is blessed with an abundance of natural resources including vast forests, And so the local government and the community came to realize the importance of an environmental focus to sustain this blessing.

People’s organizations (POs) from the various barangays came together to form the Federation of Matalom community-based resource management (CBRM). Six POs from coastal areas and four POs from the uplands work actively with the local government unit (LGU) on various programs.

WEATHERING YOLANDA: A CALL FOR GOVERNMENT AND CIVIL SOCIETY PARTNERSHIP

“Typhoon Yolanda is an opportunity to build back better and to do things right.” Pauline Nayra, Regional Director of the Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs and POs (EVNet), is hopeful about the future of her home region.

She believes that there is no better time for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and people’s organizations (POs) to step up than now. Representing EVNet and calling on other members of civil society, she underlines the critical partnership that must be formed between them and the government.

MANG ROLAND: A HERO FROM THE FIELD

Meet Roland Lora, a simple farmer in his forties. Unlike Spiderman, he has limited knowledge of and access to technology. In fact, he has to borrow a computer and seek help in writing reports and creating presentations needed for meetings. Unlike Spiderman, he doesn’t have a fancy costume nor face mask. He dresses in workman jeans, slippers and a straw hat to stay comfortable under the heat while walking along fields and climbing mountains. Unlike Spiderman, he does not possess the status of an icon. He speaks plainly and from the heart. But like Spiderman, he has chosen to fight for the good.

With his unabashed commitment to make a difference, he gave the poor and previously divided residents of Hilongos the hope that they can be heard when they act as one. He managed to reach and organize civil society efforts for 44 out of Hilongos’ 51 barangays in less than a year. And in partnership with the local government, he is in the forefront of initiating and seeing through projects that address the community’s greatest needs.