DILG develops handbook for building disaster resilient infrastructure

Stepping up its efforts in disaster preparedness, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has come up with a handbook for designing and building safer public infrastructure and facilities amid the increasing impact of climate change.

The technical handbook, Designing Resilient Structures: Mainstreaming Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, introduces risk-based designing to enable the construction and retrofitting of structures that can withstand the adverse impacts of natural disasters.

DILG Secretary Ismael D. Sueno, who is also the Vice-Chairperson for Disaster Preparedness of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), said that with the challenges and uncertainties posed by climate change, it is important not only to rebuild damaged structures but to put up sturdier and safer facilities that can withstand the worst disasters and calamities.

"Through this handbook, we are introducing new approaches in building stronger and more resilient structures with the end in view of protecting our communities against the ill effects of extreme weather disturbances," said Sueno.

During the project's handover ceremony held recently at the Sequoia Hotel in Quezon City, Director Anna Liza F. Bonagua of the Department's Bureau of Local Government Development (BLGD) said the DILG's initiative shall pave the way for the updating of existing laws and guidelines governing the implementation and evaluation of structure projects, especially among local government units (LGUs).

"We hope that in the longer term, this project will somehow influence the review of our National Building Code for the improvement of infrastructure not just at the national but as well as at the local level," she said.

Echoing the idea is the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) - Australian AID, a partner organization that funded the handbook project together with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).

"We hope that the handbook would be fully utilized by LGUs, help DILG in designing and evaluating local structures, and supplement the Philippines' national recovery and reconstruction framework," said Anne Orquiza, Portfolio Manager for DRR, CCA and Urban Resilience of DFAT - Australian Aid Program.

Upholding the Building Back Better (BBB) principle, the new handbook is now set to guide and enhance the capacity of LGUs in planning and managing their built assets toward making communities more disaster resilient.

The DILG's handbook project is a product of collaboration among partner organizations and national government agencies, including the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Project NOAH, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Several LGUs were also involved in the various consultations and stages of handbook development, while the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB), Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Climate Change Commission (CCC), and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) provided data and insights.

Source: Philippine Information Agency