The consortium is called Project CHIC (Capacity-building for Humanitarian Initiatives in Capiz) and is consisted of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI), Philippine Relief and Development Services (PHILRADS), and International Care Ministries (ICM).
The project proposal was approved 10 months ago and actual implementation has been going on for the past 9 months. The funding partners include StartNetwork, ChristianAid, TearFundUK, OxfamUK, and UKAid under a program called Financial Enablers Project. Tala Bautista has been authorized to represent PBCI to this consortium and to serve as our field manager.
Objectives of the Consortium. Project CHIC is enabling more than 200 pastors to establish a network of faith-motivated leaders and local churches acting as first responders to a disaster impacting Capiz. The consortium is focusing on the poorest LGUs and most vulnerable barangays, especially coastal towns and isolated upland communities. The responses will be rapid, compassionate, culturally appropriate, using indigenous strategies, people, assets, and other locally available resources. The goal of the training for disaster preparedness is to create local capacity to mitigate a disaster’s mitigate on loss or damage to life and property. The vision is to create a local model that could be replicated in Iloilo and scaled-up nationwide. To achieve the above, Project CHIC will support the following interventions and activities:
- create a database and communications platform through which consortium members will be able to relay and receive information from other actors
- convene and train pastors and other church leaders to work collectively, and to liaise effectively with LGU disaster response authorities on disaster contingency plans
- train church leaders in disaster preparedness and response, psycho-social support, using a framework of peace
- empower people of faith as participants in disaster decision-making and response management
- improve the prioritization of the most vulnerable, including the elderly, mothers and their young infants, persons with disabilities (PWD) and the ultrapoor within disaster management plans and actions.
Why Capiz? The Philippines is considered the second most disaster-prone country in the world, being prone to storms, earthquakes, fires, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Each year, humanitarian events result in excess mortality and morbidity, and destroy infrastructure, crops and property. The damage caused by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 – which included 6,300 deaths, injured 12,000 people, affected more than 15.6 million Filipinos, and caused physical damage worth USD21 billion – set back the country’s GDP by 1.9 percent during the year.
Capiz was one of the provinces where Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, but minimal relief assistance arrived because the damage was concentrated on crops, shelter and infrastructure. Since there was no reported mortality, and there was only sporadic urban destruction, it was largely invisible to the media and the larger community.
Capiz has Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils (DRRMC) with offices at provincial, municipal, and city and barangay levels. As functional arms of local governments, these offices are responsible to create Local DRRM Plans aligned with the National DRRMC Framework which covers disaster preparedness, response, prevention and mitigation, and rehabilitation and recovery. However, the capacity of each LGU to organize and deploy response teams is limited to the level of LGUs’ political will to build preparedness, and the resources available. Further, civil society often has a minimal role that is not clearly defined, causing them to be mostly marginalized in decision-making or in the response.
During large-scale disasters, the faith community can be mobilized as a reservoir of manpower and goodwill for response. But its capacity to participate effectively in humanitarian response needs to be organized, built and planned in coordination with other actors – well before they can be deployed as an effective force for good when disaster strikes. We see our role as faith-inspired organizations catalyzing the strengths of many grassroots evangelical congregations in Capiz that could show the faith community in action, and to eventually develop replicable relief-to-development-to-peace and reconciliation continuum models that could be replicated elsewhere and scaled up throughout the country.
The twin outcomes planned by Project CHIC are the following:
- An engaged and effective network of pastors and churches in Capiz that are reliable partners of local DRRMCs during disasters.
- Faith communities leading local contingency planning and implementation, prioritizing the most vulnerable through disaster training integrated with community development.