Coastal Urban Centers and Disaster Management in Iloilo, Philippines
Coastal areas play an important role in sustainable development. Subsistence and commercial fishing of marine resources have provided vital source of food, employment, and social stability in coastal communities. However, the fisheries sector is vulnerable to various development activities that dynamically interact with other sectors such as agriculture, forestry, and tourism. It is not yet clear if local governments in disaster risk-vulnerable countries incorporate environmental security components in their disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) plans and recognize vulnerable groups, such as fishermen and farmers. This paper presents the case of a coastal municipality in Iloilo, Philippines. We examine its DRRM plans using a coastal resource management framework. A combination of household survey and secondary information were used to identify the gaps and examine municipality spending to address disasters, estimated household flood damages, and legislation relating to disasters. Results showed that the local government was not using the required disaster spending (i.e., 5% of the internal revenue allotment) despite high and continued flood damages (estimated at PhP 1903 per household per year) in their municipality. General plans relating to environmental integrity were integrated but limited toward business expansion and solid waste management, with little emphasis on coastal sustainability. There are also evidences of well-structured and updated legislation relating to disaster, but they lack focus on marine environment and capacity building of fishing and farming households. Thus, the study recommends reassessing the DRRM plans of the municipality in order to improve the well-being of its residents.