Following the Super Typhoons Haiyan (2013) and Rai (2021) the volume of humanitarian assistance distributed in the Philippines using cash modality systematically increased. In response to STY Rai (locally known as Odette), a considerable proportion of the CERF was delivered using cash and voucher assistance (CVA), some estimations reaching 60%, the largest percentage to date1. The cash working group (CWG) - first established in 2014 - has once again risen to take the leading role on cash coordination in 2022. The revival of the CWG spurred discussions on harmonisation and systematisation of how cash assistance is calculated, delivered and monitored and how cash beneficiaries are targeted and their vulnerabilities assessed. The experience of STY Rai showed the need for further improvement in these areas.
Contextually, a lot has changed since version 1.0 of this “reference guide […]” was produced in 2016:
At the national level, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the World Bank released the first edition of the Operations Manual on the Implementation of the Emergency Cash Transfer During Disasters. 2.
The document presents a framework for distributing cash assistance by governmental institutions and other practitioners, including humanitarian agencies, in response to man-made and natural disasters. This reference guide was developed in order to formulate linkages with the Government while ensuring humanitarian principles, the quality of humanitarian assistance delivery, international standards and putting affected populations at the centre of program design. The CWG and its members must follow a humanitarian rationale for cash distributions that would harmonize within the acceptable boundaries of the Operations Manual.
At the international level, the Grand Bargain Cash Coordination Caucus3 proposed a new model for cash coordination, which was endorsed by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) in March 2022. The model sets forth. 1. The principles and functions of cash coordination; 2. The model for cash coordination, including the roles of the CWG,
ICCG and RC/HC; 3. The leadership of a non-programmatic agency (OCHA) in non-refugee settings such as the Philippines and its linkage with the global Cash Advisory Group (CAG); 4. the co-chairing CWG model with one non-programmatic and one programmatic co-chair and 5. a basic staffing model, adaptable to context and principles of resourcing. The CCC puts important new responsibilities on OCHA. As a Humanitarian Advisory Team (HAT),
OCHA Philippines may need to consider adapting the ambitious expectations to the reality of limited resources, but it is nevertheless going to position its cash coordinating structure with CCC in mind, and with possible support from ROAP.
In light of the DG ECHO Thematic Policy Document No 3 on Cash Transfers4 (March, 2022) the cash community was enriched by the thematic policy, which goes into great detail on the operational guidance to cash assistance based on global best practices and ECHO’s strategy to CVA, from which the Philippines may, and should, benefit.
Finally, considering the OCHA-led Anticipatory Action (AA) pilot for Typhoons in the Philippines under CERF and its recent After Action Review, it appears that the role of cash assistance is reinforced for preparedness activities. Most agencies that are part of the pilot declared engagement in the delivery of cash assistance.; where the Philippines AA CERF pilot for a Typhoon event is expected to deliver cash assistance at scale and in a very short time frame – 3 days before expected landfall. The reviewed proposal is expected to assume approximately 70% of all activities to be cash-based.
With all of this in mind, an updated and robust guidance to cash assistance delivery in the Philippines is needed.
OCHA, its stand-by partner CashCap and the CWG membership reviewed version 1.0 of this reference guide and concluded that a new revision of the document is necessary to reflect the many changes that occurred since it was originally released in 2016.