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Building Metropolitan Manila's Institutional Resilience in the Context of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

In light of the anticipated dreadful scenarios in the occurrence of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Philippines' national capital region or Metro Manila, this study specifically probes into the status, challenges, and opportunities of establishing intergovernmental linkages, that is, with the so-called assisting regions that are vital in making and keeping the region resilient.

Case development was done initially through a review of relevant documents in order to set the legal context and establish the current efforts and plans of the cities and agencies in preparing for that mega earthquake or the Big One. Determination and validation of the processes of the national and regional disaster risk reduction and management (focusing on earthquake) plan formulation to implementation, alongside plan protocols, were done through the conduct of key informant interviews and focus groups discussions using semi-structured questionnaires.

A comprehensive review of related official documents reveals that while most of the legal frameworks and instrumentalities like both the national and regional contingency plans are already in place, these policies have not yet been operationalized at the local level. Furthermore, various more specific questions like: Who is the proper authority to lead the establishment of the inter-LGU/regional relationships? What exactly are the needs and capacities of each side (the responding regions and Metro Manila LGUs)? What or whose protocols must be followed? and other operationalization issues still abound. This study proposes that collaborative leadership is essential in addressing these issues.

While most studies and current efforts are focused on community resilience, and with a valid reason, this study introduces another equally important dimension--the institutional resilience of, in this particular study, Metro Manila local government units' ability to effectively and efficiently reduce risks and manage disasters. This research focuses on one of the aspects, which is intergovernmental linkages. It posits that one way to build and strengthen institutional resilience in the context of disaster risk reduction and management is through partnerships with key stakeholders, in this particular case, government actors from all levels, that can complement the available resources of a given region or locality prior, during, and after a disaster.


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