ABSTRACT

The written and statistical records provide ample evidence of a long history of repeated natural hazard that has exacted a high price on the peoples and communities of the archipelago in terms of broken lives, personal loss and property damage over the centuries. More recently, the rising impact and frequency of disasters has cost the nation dear, threatening its political stability, undermining its economic development and disrupting its social cohesion. The way the modern state attempts to deal with this chronic state of crisis and the activities of those who articulate power in that society provide new and valuable insights into societal and class dynamics within the Philippines. The management of natural hazard and the organization of disaster relief and rehabilitation have increasingly been considered primarily the business of government and the implementation of subsequent policy has effectively turned ‘disasters into political exercises’ (Feria-Miranda 1994: 249).