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Understanding the Role of the United States in the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) System

Issues & Insights Vol. 22, SR1, pp. 30-37


The United States and the Philippines have been security treaty-allies since 1951. Given the risk profile of the Philippines, the partnership included significant support for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR), which has evolved to more proactive and comprehensive support in disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). This includes disaster preparedness, risk mitigation, early warning, community, and family-based DRRM planning, and rehabilitation and recovery. This study analyzes the role of the United States in strengthening the Philippine DRRM system and highlights the significance of U.S. military support for HADR operations and disaster readiness. This study also fills a key knowledge gap in bridging the disaster, human security, and conflict nexus. The contributions of the United States in three aspects are analyzed: pre-disaster, disaster, and post-disaster. Although data show that the United States has been active in disaster response operations in the Philippines, most of its programs focused on disaster risk reduction or the pre-disaster component. The policy direction in DRRM has raised several important aspects that are discussed in the study.

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About this Volume

Authors of this volume participated in the inaugural U.S.- Philippines Next-Generation Leaders Initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines. With backgrounds from academia, public policy, civil society and industry, the cohort brings rich insights on the past, present, and future of the U.S.-Philippines bilateral security relations.

The statements made and views expressed are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective organizations and affiliations. Pacific Forum’s publications do not necessarily reflect the positions of its staff, donors and sponsors.

Rachelle Anne Miranda is a disaster risk reduction (DRR) practitioner and has devoted her professional life as a public servant in the Office of Civil Defense. She is currently assigned as a Training Specialist- building capacities in civil defense and DRR in the Philippines, and concurrently, the Deputy Spokesperson of OCD and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. Rachelle holds a master’s degree in Disaster Risk and Resilience from Ateneo De Manila University and currently, a master’s candidate in Master in Public Administration Major in Health Emergency and Disaster Management at Bicol University. Her research specialization and interests are in Incident Command System, risk communication, DRR localization, disaster statistics, and international and local humanitarian work.

Photo: Hospital ship USNS Mercy sits anchored off the coast of Legazpi City, Philippines, with Mount Mayon in the distance during the Pacific Partnership 2016 to conduct cooperative health engagements, community relation events and subject matter expert exchanges focusing on responding to natural disasters. Source: U.S. Navy photo by MC1 Elizabeth Merriam/Public Domain