Drought Risk Reduction in the Philippines: Actions and Issues

Commissioned Report

This is the summary of the country drought risk reduction assessment done as a part of the JICA-ASEAN project on integrating climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction into institutional and policy processes (CN 20). The Philippines has made significant progress in understanding the El Nino and transferring the weather information to farmers and other stakeholders at the local level, but the drought forecasting and monitoring systems that are developed using SPI are still not being used for operational purposes. As a result, the drought conditions in the country are still monitored through manual reporting procedures which could take time and prone to errors. Interaction with the stakeholders related to climate field schools and weather index insurance programs indicated the absence of adequate weather stations and there is a need to upgrade the existing weather stations with the automated weather stations especially in remote locations and with those LGUs who do not have sufficient resources to maintain their weather stations. Lack of dense weather stations is affecting the efficiency of climate field schools and the implementation of weather index insurance. LGUs also need capacity building in terms of use of weather forecasts to plan and mitigation the weather-related hazards as it was revealed that some LGUs have low trust on the weather forecasts. This is in particular the case with the day to day weather conditions forecasted by PAGASA since these weather forecasts are generic for a broad swaths of areas. There is a need for PAGASA to release location-specific weather forecasts to be relevant for the local stakeholders which means improvements in weather forecast models employed by PAGASA. Finally, the resource allocation for drought risk reduction is still very low compared to sudden onset disasters such as typhoons and floods. This is apparent especially in the comprehensive land use plans being prepared at the moment which have relatively focused on flood hazards.