The new resilience project between CADIS International and Visayas Primary Healthcare Services, Inc. (VPHCS) is already in its third quarter of implementation.
VPHCS is a non-government organization based in Cebu City, Philippines, working with over 100 people's organizations in marginalized communities organizing community-based healthcare programs and delivering primary healthcare services to the poor. The VPHCS also conducts health and social science research and tackles urgent health issues in the health sector. It has contacts with government agencies, non-government organizations, local and international groups, and health professionals to support the people’s health endeavors in the communities.

Financed by CEI (Italian Bishops Conference), the 24-month project will benefit 972 households in four areas (barangays) of Cebu City namely Pasil, Inayawan, Mambaling and Quiot Pardo.

The Philippines is considered as one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world due to its hazard-prone location, physical characteristics, dangerously close proximity to the Pacific Ring of Fire, and a poverty-stricken and highly at-risk population, impoverished socially, economically, and in terms of overall public health.

Metro Cebu is the second biggest region in terms of economic growth in the whole country. With a total population of 964,169 (PSA, 2020), the population density in Cebu City is estimated to be at 3,061 inhabitants per square kilometer. The city population steadily grows at high rates as the transition from agriculture to industry has prompted a consistent flow of countryside folk. Jobs and various means of income in urban conglomerations naturally attract people from rural areas, where job opportunities and sources of income are scarce and limited.

Cebu’s rapid population growth and urbanization make it vulnerable to multiple types of disaster risk-related threats and problems. Dense concentrations of communities in a particular area increases the degree of disaster vulnerability and exponentially multiplies the extent of damage and disruption caused by any kind of disaster. Moreover, social welfare services, infrastructure building, job-creation, labor-market growth, and industrialization cannot keep up with the high levels and ever-increasing rates of urban population growth, density, immigration, and movement.

Urban population of low-income wage workers, urban-poor residents, and informal settler migrants — constituting the majority of Metropolitan Cebu’s human population — reside in unsafe areas. Generally, these communities are often located in areas of high hazard exposure and frequently affected by nearly all classes of disasters.

One of the main disasters that inhabitants of Cebu City are confronted with is controlling and putting out fires and responding to emergencies involving life, property, and the environment resulting from fires. Fires often hit urban areas where the urban poor settlers live. Among other significant risks for causing fires include using oil lamps, candles, mobile phone chargers and electric-fans connected to and powered by improvised electrical wires. Informal settlements usually lack basic power outlets, or simply cannot afford the services offered by electricity-providing companies or cooperatives.

During the Typhoon Odette on December 16, 2021, houses that were made of light materials of plywood, wooden planks, plastic sheets, amakan (dried palm leaves woven into sheets), and old, rusty iron sheets for roofs were easily damaged by the strong winds. Power and communication lines were destroyed, and the water supply which depended on electricity, became very limited. Many stores and micro, small, and medium enterprises that were physically severely damaged and without generator sets had to close down. Affected families were already living in difficult situations even before the typhoon struck, enduring the brunt of economic hardships brought about by the pandemic, and their conditions worsened even more after nature’s unexpected wrath. Government aid was insufficient and did not meet the essential needs of all the thousands of families affected.

The four urban poor settlers in the project areas are generally economically hard-pressed and spend much of their time selling their labor power, earning subsistence wages and taking on debts to make ends meet, and making sure that one has enough just to survive and live another day. With inflation and increased tax burdens, prices of basic commodities have increased in alarming proportions.

The project was conceptualized together with leaders of the Panaghugpong sa mga Kabus nga Taga-Dakbayan sa Sugbo, which has organized the people’s organizations in the four project areas and continues to work with the leaders of these organizations in their endeavors to improve their living conditions. In order to build disaster-resilient communities, the residents need to be empowered first to cope with the adverse effects of natural hazards. In order to generate preparedness and response within the people, a Community Based Disaster Preparedness Plan (CBDP) has to be developed.

Project Goal
By the end of 2025, the people in the four urban poor communities shall have developed resilience in disaster management.

The project aims to achieve the following objectives:

1. Formation of Community Disaster Management Committees in the four communities, consisting of 15 members in each committee - Health Committee and Livelihood Committee.
2. Community profiles of the communities are produced which include their physical, administrative, geographic, demographic, socio-economic, and infrastructure characteristics.
3. Resource inventories of the communities are made which identify the locally available resources that can be harnessed and enhanced for disaster preparedness and response.
4. Risk analysis and hazard maps that identify vulnerable and hazard-prone areas on the basis of previous experiences, groups of people who are most vulnerable, such as the elders, disabled persons, pregnant women, widows and small children, livestock, weak structures, standing crops and livelihood assets.
5. A Community-based Disaster Preparedness Plan (CBDP) is made by each of the communities that contain the main CBDP components.
6. Two disaster mock drills are conducted to check the people’s preparedness to handle disasters.
7. An emergency directory for each area is prepared to include phone numbers and contact details of all government agencies that are involved in disaster risk reduction and management, details of local NGOs, contact details and names of all the task forces members, trained manpower, and resource persons.
8. Coordination is established between the people’s organizations and their respective Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committees in all activities.
9. Promotion of food security for the residents through livelihood programs that are established in each community depending on the interests of the residents, profitability and availability of market products.

1. A series of three trainings on Community-based Disaster Management Program (CBDM) to be undergone by the Committee on Community Disaster Management.
2. Trainings for the health committees on first aid, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and trauma counselling and stress management.
3. Organization of disaster mock drills that will let the people use the safe route identified, come out from their houses within 3 – 4 minutes to the open spaces identified in the community maps.
4. Meetings with the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committees and government agencies involved in disaster management to avail of technical assistance from them for the trainings as resource persons, disaster mock drills, and other resources they can provide to the project, especially in coming up with measures to address the hazards and hazardous practices identified.
5. Trainings for the committees on livelihoods.
6. Community mobilizations to develop measures to address the vulnerable and hazard-prone areas as well as practices that make the residents prone to disasters particularly fires and floods.

Project Outputs
1. Community Disaster Management Committee in each community who are adequately trained lead in the Community-based Disaster Management Program in their area.
2. Community-based preparedness plan in each community that contains the community profile, resource inventory, hazard map, and emergency directory.
3. Trained health committee in each community, composed of 15 members each.
4. Two successful disaster mock drills are launched in each community.
5. Technical assistance rendered by the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Committee in each barangay and government agencies involved in disaster management.
6. Information drives and mobilizations of the people to address hazards and hazardous practices such as clean up of garbage in the rivers that cause flooding, and fire safety precautions and fire prevention practices.
7. Livelihood programs to promote food security among the residents.