DISASTER MANAGEMENT SERVICES
Disaster Management Services Office
G/F PRC Building, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila
Phone: 527-0000 loc 134 (Staff), 132 (Manager), 133 (Radio
The Philippine Archipelago occupies the western rim of
the Pacific Ocean, a most active part of the earth
characterized by an encircling belt of active volcanoes and
fault lines. Typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
are common. Human-induced disasters like bombing and armed
conflict are not infrequent either.
The roles of the Disaster Management Services (DMS) are
to provide relief in times of disasters and to carry on
measures to minimize the suffering caused by them. Disaster
preparedness is also a major component of its program that
aims to prepare especially the vulnerable communities in the
event of calamities.
The Philippine archipelago lies off the southeast coast
of the Asian mainland, a little above the Equator. The
country is situated within the so-called typhoon belt and is
visited by no less than twenty typhoons annually. In the
season of rains, floods and tidal waves are not infrequent.
The destruction of watersheds and forest during last tree
decades has increased the occurrence of flashfloods in many
areas across the country. The Philippines also lies within
the Pacific seismic belt and earthquakes of gravely
calamitous proportions have hit it time and again. Volcanoes
abound in the archipelago. At least ten of these are active.
The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 was the most severe in
the last 80 years.
Filipinos have had to cope with calamities since time
immemorial. U.S. colonial officials who took over governance
of the country at the turn of the century realized at once
the need for organized disaster relief. Col. W.C. Rivers,
Chief of the Philippine Constabulary and a member of the
Philippine Red Cross Board saw the urgent necessity for such
an organization when he headed the relief work undertaken by
the U.S. Army for victims of the Taal Volcano eruption in
1911 and of the typhoon which devastated Leyte and Surigao
When the Philippine Chapter of the American Red Cross was
established in 1917, Disaster Relief was a charter
obligation. By 1920, the foundations for a national disaster
relief program were already established. In 1929, a
Legislative Act signed by Governor General Dwight Davis gave
the Red Cross authority to assume leadership in relief
operations – a function carried by the Red Cross until the
outbreak of World War II.
After its establishment in 1947, the PRC has sought to
establish and maintain system of disaster preparedness and
relief that can be applied in meeting the emergency
situations that may be caused by typhoons, floods, fires,
earthquake, landslides and other natural hazards. The Red
Cross has further devised a carried out measures to minimize
the ill effect of both natural and human-induced disasters.
The DMS department has now adopted a two-pronged approach
in dealing with disasters. The department's work involves
Disaster Relief Activities (DRA) and Disaster Prevention,
Mitigation and Preparedness (DPMP).
DRA involves the provision of relief to victims of
natural or human-induced disasters. In 1994 alone, the PRC
extended assistance to some 608,510 families or 2.3 million
persons stricken by natural calamities. Ninety five percent
of those aided were victims of the 25 typhoons that visited
the country that year. The rest were victims of other
natural hazards as lahar flows, landslides, flash floods,
earthquakes and naval accidents.
As the Red Cross movement began as a response to the
horrors of war, Red Cross societies have always been at the
frontline of disaster relief operations involving
human-induced disasters including those caused by armed
conflict. In the Philippines, the Red Cross distinguished
itself during the Second World War by providing relief to
the injured and starving, especially children. In the years
that followed the PRC made its presence felt in various
battle zones of subsequent internal conflicts, providing
medical care and relief to victims and combatants on the
In 1994, DMS, then DPRS, assisted 22,579 families
affected by human-induced disasters.
DPMP involves improving the capabilities of grass roots
commodities to deal with disasters. Various projects such as
Disaster Management Training, Basic Disaster Management
Training and Integrated Community Disaster Planning
Programme are implemented in communities by the PRC with
funding from other Red Cross societies.
Whereas the Red Cross used to focus on what to do during
a disaster, the DMS now identifies hazard prone areas and
makes vulnerability assessment of these areas. Volunteers
assess the preparedness of a community to deal with
disasters and try to maximize.
The Disaster Response Team is a unit composed of
personnel from the various services who are sent to disaster
Aside from relief operations, the DMS is also involved in
rehabilitation efforts. Whenever funding is available,
housing units, livelihoods projects, health and sanitation
services are provided disaster victims.
Through the past years, the PRC has endeavored to
improve its effectivity by developing its own capabilities.
With the help of other Red Cross societies, the
transportation and communication facilities of 85 chapters
across the country have been augmented. The DMS now has its
own communication facilities, so that information can be
readily made available even during disasters. Warehouses
have also been set up in critical areas. Local chapters can
re-supply these warehouses and with the availability of
adequate transport all local chapters can now be re-supplied
Courses and Trainings Offered
- Disaster Management Course Training of Trainers
- Standard Disaster Management Training
- Basic Disaster Management Training
- Disaster Response Team Training (Disaster Response
- Community-Based Disaster Management Training
- Modular Training in Disaster Management
- Relief Operation
- Deployment of Disaster Response Teams
- Organization of Barangay Disaster Action Team
- Preposition of Relief Supplies