Of stories that matter: The social construction of risk in planning for coastal areas in Antique, Philippines

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The recent shift in the Philippine Government’s emphasis from response to a more proactive approach came with the recognition that different stakeholders play important roles in the governance of disaster risk. The purpose of this paper is to look beyond the question as to whether all stakeholders are involved in disaster risk management planning and examines the extent by which the narratives of risk of actors at the margins shape how risk is framed in municipal DRM planning in Antique, Philippines.


This paper is based on a field study carried out in San Jose de Buenavista, Antique Province, Philippines. Data were gathered through key informant interviews and focus group discussions as well as a review of archival records and documents.


The narratives of CSOs and communities, which revolve around livelihoods and community life are conspicuously absent from the plans whereas that of government actors occupy a central position in the risk discourse. The study highlights the power-saturated process of defining and addressing risk to disasters, where knowledge is intimately linked to power as some voices shape plans and policies, whereas, others are excluded because their knowledge is socially constructed as less reliable and therefore irrelevant.


There is a dearth of studies that examine disaster risk as social constructions in the context of planning in the Philippines and in other disaster-prone countries.