July 25, 2016

SM hosts UN-led series on disaster resiliency


“It is time that we level up Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and put it into disaster management. We are all stakeholders and we all should do our part.” --- Defense Undersecretary Alexander Pama, Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and Executive Director, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
Disaster resiliency experts are pushing for more public-private partnership (PPP) projects to further boost risk reduction and management efforts to make the country better prepared in times of calamities and other emergencies.

This is was the consensus taken during the ARISE Philippines Forum hosted by SM Prime held last June 23 at the Mall of Asia Arena Annex (MAAX) Building to discuss the best practices on disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM). The forum was held in partnership with United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies.

Risk Reduction experts led by Defense Undersecretary Alexander Pama, Administrator of the Office of Civil Defense and Executive Director, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; Dr. Renato Solidum Jr, Director of Philippine Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS); Dr. Mahar Lagmay, Executive Director of Project NOAH, Noel Gaerlan, Commissioner of the Philippine Climate Change Commission; and Rene Meily, President of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) agreed that there should be more government-private sector collaboration in DRRM.

Pama stressed that there should greater cooperation with the private sector not just to save lives but also protect properties and livelihood.

The one-day forum is geared towards providing businesses with an outline of the role of the private sector in disaster risk reduction and management. Middle to top managers of the leading companies attended the forum attended by industry experts to aid them in formulating strategies and making sound decisions in developing disaster-resilient companies, i.e., companies that can guarantee the continuity of provision of their products and services even in times of disaster and also sustain profitability and security of investments.

Gaerlan said the Philippines has become a role model in DRRM because of the strides it had achieved for the past several years but noted many still need to be done. One, he pointed out, is to make businesses better prepared for emergencies.

“Other countries admire our DRR initiatives but still a lot more room for improvement. We need stronger PPP partnerships because we are a lot stronger when we’re all working together,” he said.

Solidum, for his part, said an area which the private sector can make its impact felt in disaster resiliency is making sure its buildings and places of operations can withstand a 7.2 earthquake and the possible effects that may go with it including liquefaction and tsunami.

“Making sure that business survive a 7.2 magnitude earthquake and its aftereffects should be a main consideration of every business today because we have to make sure we are up and running the minute an earthquake stops,” he said.

Annie Garcia, President of SM Supermalls, said that with ARISE Philippines, SM is aiming to help energize DRRM by making businesses and the private sector better prepared to face emergencies.

“SM Prime’s long standing commitment to safeguard the areas in which we operate has led to our tireless pursuit towards a resilient, sustainable and responsible community for all. We invite more members of the private sector to promote UNISDR’s call to invest in DRR and to align with the Philippine government to create a risk-sensitive private sector to make disaster-resilient societies,” she said.

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