Transformations of, for, and by Flood Governance in the Philippines: Evaluating the Transformative Capacity of Policies and Projects in East Bank Manggahan

Authors: Samuel Geldin*, University of Pennsylvania
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Water Resources and Hydrology, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Transformation, Disaster Risk Reduction, Flood Management, Capacity Building, Philippines
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In just six hours during September 2009, Typhoon Ketsana unleashed a record months-worth of torrential rain upon Metro Manila, killing hundreds and racking up over US $1 billion in damage. Ketsana served as the impetus for internationally-lauded “transformative” mandates in the Philippines, requiring, among other actions, capacity building for disaster management at the local level and relocation of settlers residing in “danger zones.” But persistent flood impacts, implementation gaps, and contentious resettlement campaigns continue prompting public debates over the efficacy of such goals. This study investigates the transformative capacity of flood management reforms since 2009, using one infrastructure and resettlement project on the East Bank of the Manggahan Floodway as a case study. Document analysis of news articles and government reports, interviews with key state and nonstate project stakeholders, and indicators derived from interdisciplinary literature evaluate both the project and policies’ transformative potential, desirability, and outcomes. Evidence suggests that between 2009 and 2019, increased risk reduction initiatives and local autonomy over flood management failed to consistently produce inclusion, reflexive learning, awareness, foresight, and innovation across relevant organizational sectors and scales. However, these results highlight entry points for meaningfully empowering stakeholders, identifying shared alternative goals and processes, and selectively decentralizing or re-centralizing flood management responsibilities, when stakeholders seek transformational outcomes.

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