1.1 Philippines Humanitarian Background

Disasters, Conflicts and Migration

Natural Disasters



Comments / Details



Country heavily dependent on agriculture and thus affected by extreme weather patterns.



Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Major fault lines lie near heavily populated areas, such as Metro Manila.



Outbreaks of malaria, dengue, polio amongst others occur with regularity.

Extreme Temperatures





Rainy season causes flash floods and land-slides as well as localised flooding.

Insect Infestation





Localised during rainy season.

Volcanic Eruptions


Philippines has many active volcanos with population living in proximity.

High Waves / Surges


Tsunami threat as a result of tectonic activity.




High Winds



Other Comments

The country is considered the third most disaster-prone country in the world.

Man-Made Issues

Civil Strife


Some instability due to internal armed conflict with non-state armed groups.

International Conflict


Issues around South China seas are unresolved.

Internally Displaced Persons


As a result of armed conflict with non-state armed groups.

Refugees Present


Landmines / UXO Present

No N/A

Other Comments


For a more detailed database on disasters by country, please see the Centre for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters.

Seasonal Effects on Logistics Capacities

Seasonal Effects on Transport

Transport Type

Time Frame

Comments / Details

Primary Road Transport

From June to November

Rainy season can cause road transport disruptions as rivers over flow their banks, bridges become impassable, and landslide cut off roads.

Secondary Road Transport

From June to November

Same as above

Rail Transport


Air Transport

From June until January

Rainy season can affect flights and typhoons can ground planes.

Waterway Transport

From June to January

Rainy season can affect flights and typhoons can make water passage dangerous.

Sitting along the Typhoon belt the Philippines see over 20 storms a year hitting the PAR (Philippine Area of Responsibility). Most storms that make landfall hit the north-eastern parts of the country. The frequency of these storms has been a trigger for the Philippines to set up early warning systems and invest in disaster preparedness and response.

The Philippines has a distinct rainy season which covers the period June to end of October. During that time flooding and mud slides are common, although they are localised. As a result, there are occasions where roads and bridges become impassable. Additionally, water transport is affected as storms can make travel/transport unsafe.

November to February is considered a cool and dry period. Mountainous regions can become cold.

March to May is the hot season and the temperature can become oppressive.

Humidity is a presence all year round.

Seasonal Effects on Storage and Handling

Activity Type

Time Frame

Comments / Details


From June to November

Rainy season and typhoon season can put at risk storage structures and make offloading and loading difficult.





Due to the rainy season and typhoon season, handling of commodities can become difficult. Additionally, storage structures can be affected by storms resulting in damage to stored commodities. Storms also affected the safety of loading cargo to be transporter on water ways. Cold chain storage is problematic and does not cover the entire country. Also due to distances movement of cargo needing cold chain becomes complicated and risky. Cargo should always be protected against rain or clearly marked to prevent possible damage. The post-harvest period, late October alert November, can see a scarcity of storage capacity and transport as farmers need to move and store their commodities.

Capacity and Contacts for In-Country Emergency Response


The Government of the Philippines has a long history of preparing for and responding to disasters. As time has gone by, they rely less and less on the international humanitarian community for assistance during response. There is a move within country to handle response without calls for international assistance. There is still willingness to accept assistance, but it of course must respect Government-identified priorities. Disaster preparedness and response is enshrined in law and a National Disaster Response Plan has been adapted. The central Government is much aware of and trained in preparedness and response. Local governments have been less exposed to the same degree of training. 

Links to NDRPs from the NDRRMC: 

NDRP for Earthquakes and Tsunamis

NDRP for Hydro-meteorological Hazards

NDRP for Terrorism Incidents 

The Philippines Government has adapted the Cluster System as their modality to organise responses, creating their own clusters. It’s important to be aware of the difference between the two cluster systems. Currently, the Philippine Government recognises the following eleven (11) Emergency Response Clusters, and their respective lead agencies:

  1. SRR: Search Rescue and Retrieval (AFP)
  2. HEALTH: with Sub-Clusters on: Medical and Public Health Services, Water-Sanitation Hygiene (WASH), Mental Health and Psycho-Social Support Services (MHPSS), and Nutrition (DOH)
  3. IDPP: Internally Displaced Persons Protection (DSWD)
  4. CCCM: Camp Coordination and Camp Management (DSWD)
  5. FNFI: Food and Non-Food Items (DSWD)
  6. LOG: Logistics with Sub-Clusters on: Warehousing, Transportation, & Services (OCD)
  7. LAO: Law and Order (PNP)
  8. ET: Emergency Telecommunications (OCD)
  9. EDU: Education (DepEd)
  10. PIHA: Philippine International Humanitarian Assistance (DFA)
  11. MDM: Management of the Dead and Missing (DILG)

For more information on government contact details, please see the following link: 4.1 Philippines Government Contact List

Humanitarian Community

The humanitarian community in the Philippines is in transition, from a direct responder to a capacity builder and supporter of the Government-led responses, as a result of the Government taking on a bigger role within disaster response and also as a result of the country moving towards an upper middle-income status. Needs remain but transitional humanitarian actors find the Government able and willing to fill the gaps.

As the Government becomes more capable and willing to lead disaster response the overall role of the humanitarian community continues to shrink. Although when a disaster strikes there is a knowledge base remaining in country through years of collective experience. The Humanitarian Cluster system has been used in many responses and is known by all actors, including the Government. Therefore, scaling up should not be a problem. Furthermore, more private sector originations are becoming involved in response and their capacities and impact will grow.

Organizations have invested large amounts of resources over the last decade in disaster preparedness. Through trainings, stockpiling of goods, and structure reforms organisations have worked to build the capacity of Government. Disaster preparedness initiatives are required to roll-down at district and community level to ensure strengthened response mechanisms are in place across the country..

For more information on humanitarian agency contact details, please see the following link: 4.2 Philippines Humanitarian Agency Contact List

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