Invoking “Indigenous Circumstances” in Disaster Governance Implications for Disaster Justice

Regina Macalandag: Philippines Institute, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

Published Date: Mar 27, 2024 | Accepted Date: Dec 11, 2023 | Submitted Date: Sep 21, 2022


In 2010 the Philippine government introduced a national policy aiming for safer, adaptive, and disaster-resilient communities. This article questions the assumption that the policy inherently benefits everyone in disaster governance. Focusing on the challenges faced during its implementation, particularly in the resettlement of sea-based Badjao indigenous people now living in urban areas, the study draws on a 2018–2019 case study. It reveals that the rhetoric of safety justifies resettlement, contrasting with the lived experiences that contest risk reduction, and argues that state-led resettlement intensifies vulnerabilities. Utilizing empathic recognition, this article explores how neglecting empathy toward indigenous communities can lead to disaster injustice.


indigenous peoples, Badjao, resettlement, rhetoric of safety, disaster justice

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