Disaster Risk Reduction in the Philippines, Status Report (July 2019)


Philippines is an archipelago state, consisting of some 7,100 islands and islets, and covering a land area of approximately 300,000 km2 . The country comprises three groups or large islands: (1) the Luzon group in the north and west, consisting of Luzon, Mindoro, and Palawan, (2) the Visaya group in the centre, consisting of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, Masbate, Negros, Panay and Samar, and (3) Mindanao in the South. Manila and nearby Quezon City, the country’s most-populous cities, are part of the National Capital Region (NRC or Metro Manila), located on the largest island Luzon (Cullinane, 2019). The islands and groups are divided into four main classes of administrative divisions, which consist of 17 autonomous regions, 81 provinces, 1,489 municipalities, and the smallest political units, 42,044 Barangays as of 2018 (PSA, 2018).The Philippines is governed by a presidential form, in which power is divided among three juridical branches; executive, legislative and judicial, which seek democracy and balance by carrying their equally weighted duties to uphold law, rights and representation of the interests of the people (GoP, 2019).

In terms of disaster risk, Philippines ranked third among all of the countries with the highest risks worldwide according to the World Risk Report 2018, with index value of 25.14% (World Economic Forum, 2018). At least 60% of the country’s total land area is exposed to multiple hazards, and 74% of the population is susceptible to their impact (GFDRR, 2017). This is largely due to the location and geographical context as the risk involving coastal hazards such as typhoons, storm surges and rising sea levels is high. Also, as the islands are located within the “Ring of Fire” between the Eurasian and Pacific tectonic plates, earthquakes and volcanoes are posing serious risks to the safety of the populace. Flooding, landslides, droughts and tsunamis further contribute to the exposure to natural hazards (CFE-DM, 2018). Of these, hydro-meteorological events including typhoons and floods, accounted for over 80% of the natural disasters in the country during the last half-century (Jha, 2018).

Given the local ecologies, agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing and services are major sources of people’s livelihoods. In 2019, employment rate was reported at 94.8 % (PSA, 2019), and out of the three key sectors of employment (industry, agriculture and services), workers in service providing comprised the largest proportion of the employed population (PSA, 2018) (figure 2).