Indigenous Knowledge in Disaster Risk Reduction

The Tales of Three Islands (San Miguel, Camotes and Alabat) in the Philippines

  • JOSEPH ANTHONY L. REYES
  • KISS ALEXIS R. AYO
  • MARIA PAULA M. BALUYAN
  • ALAN SAM RALEI B. BALAGUER
Keywords: indigenous knowledge, disaster risk reduction, natural hazards, island communities, Philippines

Abstract

The importance of indigenous knowledge in reducing risk from disasters and natural calamities has been widely discussed in the social sciences by scholars arguing for integrative frameworks and participatory processes. This type of knowledge is vital for archipelagic developing countries, such as the Philippines, situated in a geographical area exposed to natural hazards. However, despite its potential contribution to disaster prevention, mitigation, response, rehabilitation and recovery, along with possible combination strategies with western scientific knowledge towards reducing vulnerability and disaster risk management, the literature on the integration of specific communities' indigenous knowledgebased disaster preparedness and adaptation is still limited. The novel contribution of this article is in the discussion of the unique indigenous knowledgeidentified in the cases of San Miguel Island, Camotes Island and Alabat Island, which is utilized even up to the present. Particularly, this study identifies substantial aspects of indigenous knowledge that contribute to disaster risk reduction in the three selected cases. Findings reveal myriad indigenous knowledge pertaining to intensity, height, direction and movement of ocean waves; intensity of winds; sudden surfacing of deep-sea creatures and unease of animals; different patterns of clouds, darkening of skies and foggy horizons, among others. In closely examining indigenous knowledge, this study sheds new light by providing meaningful insights for its contribution to disaster preparedness.

Author Biographies

JOSEPH ANTHONY L. REYES
JOSEPH ANTHONY L. REYES has research interests and recent publications on environmental attitudes, behaviours, discourses and sociodemographic indicators. He obtained his PhD in Environmental Studies from Tohoku University. He will be doing postdoctoral work in behavioural insights for low-carbon and resource efficient economies at the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University. He was a Research Fellow in Coastal Communities and Health in South East Asia at the University of Exeter, a Research Specialist for the Foreign Service Institute, and an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Studies at De La Salle University.
KISS ALEXIS R. AYO
KISS ALEXIS R. AYO, MARIA PAULA M. BALUYAN, and ALAN SAM RALEI B. BALAGUER completed their Development Studies Bachelor's Degree programme in De La Salle University, with research and professional experience in development policy, environmental risk assessment, demographic analysis, research methodologies, communications, economics and management.
MARIA PAULA M. BALUYAN
KISS ALEXIS R. AYO, MARIA PAULA M. BALUYAN, and ALAN SAM RALEI B. BALAGUER completed their Development Studies Bachelor's Degree programme in De La Salle University, with research and professional experience in development policy, environmental risk assessment, demographic analysis, research methodologies, communications, economics and management.
ALAN SAM RALEI B. BALAGUER
KISS ALEXIS R. AYO, MARIA PAULA M. BALUYAN, and ALAN SAM RALEI B. BALAGUER completed their Development Studies Bachelor's Degree programme in De La Salle University, with research and professional experience in development policy, environmental risk assessment, demographic analysis, research methodologies, communications, economics and management.

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Published
2020-01-07
Section
Articles