Philippines Recovery Efforts Led by Local Experts

by De La Salle University
Disaster resiliency challenges in Brgy 717, Manila
Disaster resiliency challenges in Brgy 717, Manila

De La Salle University (DLSU) is also conducting a series of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) activities in 7 pilot barangays in District 5, Manila. This is part of an umbrella initiative of the University on the Localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for its partner communities.


Related to this, last July 30, 2015 as the Metro Manila Shake Drill is being simulated in preparation for the “Big One” (West Valley Fault line), Barangay 717 together with the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA), also conducted their community-based shake drill through the participation of

parents, children, and Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (BDRRMC).


Barangay Captain Victoriano Barbosa and his council members sought COSCA’s expertise as well as the Manila CDRRMO in the preparing for the event. Activities include video showing, demonstration on how to do “duck, cover, and hold”, and presentation of “go bag” concept and its importance.

Local official explaining preparedness
Local official explaining preparedness
Report author input on DRRM
Report author input on DRRM
Awareness building through video presentation
Awareness building through video presentation

The De La Salle University Gokongwei College of Engineering (DLSU GCOE) is undertaking as part of its institutional Community Engagement, the Lasallian Engineers for God and Country (LEGACY) Project. Its major objectives are the following: to allow the students to practice their field of specialization based on the needs of the partner communities; venue for knowledge and intellectual exchange among other engineering fields; to develop the expertise and the sense of professionalism; and enhance the culture of service using the field of engineering.

As a response to the incident in Leyte in 2013 where the super typhoon Yolanda took thousands of lives and caused enormous damage to properties, a composite team from LEGACY was formed. The focus of this group is to provide basic assistance to priority communities in Leyte with the help and network of DLSP (De La Salle Philippines) in the form of information, education and campaign (IEC) on disaster risk reduction. Priority Communities Recipient of the project are Barangay San Miguel located in the Municipality of Dulag and Barangay Diit in Tacloban City, Leyte.

Members of the team include the following: Dr. Leonila Abella, Dr. Susan Gallardo, Dr. Mario de Leon, Ms. Kathlene Marie Gaurana, Stephanie Denise Suarez, Mr. Louise Patrick Pambid, Kevin John Lee, and Ezekiel Bernardo.

Based on an assessment conducted during an earlier visit, the team found out that the two communities are not resilient against various hazards of earthquake, extreme wind, storms, tsunami and flood among others. These were supported by their observations during the reconnaissance survey which highlights the following; (1) lack of community awareness in disaster risk resilience practices in the grassroots level (barangay), (2) vulnerable structural typologies in the form of makeshift houses built on hazardous area (beach front), and (3) lack of integration of DRR principles as perceived in the city government on its application and policy making.

The highlight of this particular CE intervention is the mapping of their critical infrastructure with the support of the CE department led by Engr. Jason Maximino Ongpeng, Drs. Maricel Paringit, Lessandro Estelito Garciano and Mario de Leon.

Dr. Paringit generated seven (7) maps consisting of Barangay Diit Administrative Map, Fault Line, Liquefaction Susceptibility, Storm Surge, MGB Flood Susceptibility, MGB Landslide Susceptibility, Waterways and Roads. These maps were made as basis of identifying four specific workshop activities that will be implemented by the two priority communities, to wit; (1) Location of Lifeline Support Structures/Facilities (2) Validation of Position/Location of Waterways and Roads, (3) Validation of Landslide and Flood Susceptibility Data (4) Structural Typologies of Houses and Soil Condition.

Dr. De Leon presented the initial activities of reading and interpreting the maps and the validation of data which are the plans of action that the two communities will have to perform in preparation for the design of their disaster management activities. The activity ended with a short presentation of initial findings and results of the field survey.

The generated maps were donated to Barangay Diit with the intention to use these in the information and education dissemination in the barangays and to continue the work on validation of data.

The DRR presentation and workshop activities were first-hand experience by the participants on community engagement with academic institution and exposure on use the GPS equipment and field survey. They recognized the importance of reading and understanding maps, interpreting what the maps convey and the validation of data useful in disaster risk reduction management.

The Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA), joined the continuing effort of the De La Salle Philippines (DLSP), in their project, “One La Salle after Typhoon Yolanda” last April 20 to 24, 2015.

The Earthquake, Tsunami and Storm Surge Drill and Training on Early Warning System aims to contribute in the hazard preparation efforts of the five barangays in Tubabao Island, Guiuan, wherein Barangay Trinidad was identified as the pilot barangay.

Ms. Isabel Lanada of COSCA provided valuable input that heightened the community members’ knowledge, skills and attitude in terms of disaster risk reduction, mitigation and preparedness.

Residents of the island were primed of the furtive occurrences of earthquake that may trigger tsunami in the sea-bound province. Also as a typhoon belt province, they are clued-up with the occurrence of storm surge. The residents participated in the drill in which they fled from a simulated storm surge and tsunami attack and ran on the 500-meter road from Barangay Trinidad to its highest peak. Demonstrations on how to do the “duck, cover and hold” were presented to the community members.

Other participants include the barangay officials from the four barangays namely: San Juan, Camparang, San Antonio and San Pedro. These individuals were tasked as evaluators of the exercise.

Before the actual drill, a popular version of a primer on tsunami disaster posters and brochures for advocacy purposes was printed, posted and distributed to the public, including tarpaulins directed at enjoining vulnerable communities to be disaster-prepared communities.

The barangay officials also committed to conduct regular disaster drills, continuously utilize indigenous early warning systems to test the communities’ alertness and proper responses in simulation to the onset of disasters.

Report on the current Relief Operations and renewed call for Assistance

De La Salle University (DLSU) through the Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) conducted relief operations in the Municipality of Borongan, Eastern Samar and Brgy. Apolonio Samson, Quezon City last January, 2015.

1. Operations in the Municipality of Borongan (Typhoon Ruby)

Typhoon Ruby hit the Municipality of Borongan last December 2014 and resulted in loss of lives and damaged properties and livelihood.  COSCA, in partnership with an alumnus of DLSU and field personnel from De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) provided calamity assistance to a total of 730 households from barangays Nena San Julian and Oras. Local youth volunteers from the brgy helped in the re-packing and distribution of family packs. 

2. Efforts in Brgy Apolonio Samson, Quezon City (Fire)

Approximately 2,000 families in Kaingin Bukid, West River Side, Brgy. Apolonio Samson, Quezon City loss their homes due to a massive fire in early 2015.  COSCA, in partnership with a local Peoples’ Organization provided relief assistance for a total of 273 families.

3. Renewed call for assistance for the Municipality of Borongan

Due to the extent of damages and effects to the livelihood of the residents of Borongan, their local Chief Executive is still asking for our continued support.  

For web-based donation

Please click on 

On the donor search, type in Philippines Disaster Relief (project # 3916)
Make sure you choose the Philippine Disaster Relief Project being implemented by De La Salle University.

COSCA temporarily does not accept in-kind donations since the campus has limited space for storage.

For DLSU Manila and DLSU STC related inquiries, please contact Mr. Joseph Rosal, Coordinator for Community Engagement, COSCA at +6302-525-4267 or local 147 and via

Thank you.

the center for social concern and action provided assistance to 1074 families affected by the recent typhoon glenda. most of these sites are located within metro manila.

to further streamline the relief assistance process of the center, we are now implementing several improvement to the mechanism to increase effectiveness and efficiency. these include among others the delivery of relief items in bulk to the local development partners; encouraging these local peoples' organizations and non-governmental organizations to create their own appropriate system of repacking relief items, identification of direct beneficiaries and distribution to the survivors.

these are being done in line with the principle that the center is engaged in a partnership with like minded developmental institutions and thus is advocating continued capacity building for them. this is also done to ensure that activities done with them are liberating and not building dependents on cosca.

to emphasize the point, most of the partner ngo-po had to pick up the items at the center using their own vehicles. 

the center for its part, is now doing intensive monitoring to ensure that these relief items are provided to those truly in need. 

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Organization Information

De La Salle University

Location: Manila, NCR - Philippines
Project Leader:
Lourdes Melegrito
Director, Center for Social Concern and Action
Manila, National Capital Region Philippines
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