Integrated Disaster Management Program
Dumanga is a third class municipality with 45 barangays, an area of 12,870 hectares, and a population of 59,291 as of 2000. It is prone to two extreme conditions: flooding during rainy season, drought during dry season.
Crop damages from floods cover vast farmlands in more than 50% of the municipality and reach up to several million pesos. Damages to properties affect mostly individual households. But droughts have longer and more extensive damage. They bring huge losses to farmers, fishpond operators, and fisherfolk.
To address the problems, the local government reorganized the Municipal Disaster Coordinating Council (MDCC) in August 1998. It also organized a disaster coordinating council in every barangay to ensure the participation of community.
To set grounds for integrated disaster management, the local government organized and trained community volunteers; procured equipment, tools and materials; constructed infrastructures such as dikes, cut-off channels, irrigation facilities, water impounding stations, and schools and day care centers on high grounds with toilet facilities for evacuees; established the agro-meteorological station for vital information; established a community-based flood and drought forecasting and warning system; and institutionalized a communication system with a repeater VHF radio handsets in every barangay.
As the municipality developed the capability to analyze and forecast disaster, damages to crops and infrastructures were lessened. With less costs for reconstruction and rehabilitation, there are more resources for other endeavors.
Livelihoods are now more protected and have become gainful. Areas planted to crops (watermelon, mango, mongo beans, fruits and vegetables) increased from 276 hectares in 1998 to 1,642 hectares in 2003. The value of crops harvested in 2003 amounted to P165.5 million.
A lesson learned from the program is that an informed community becomes productive.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 2004 Galing Pook Awards.