A strong part­ner­ship for a dis­as­ter-re­silient coun­try

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Due to the Philip­pines’ ge­o­graphic po­si­tion, it is con­sid­ered one of the most haz­ard­prone coun­tries. Nat­u­ral catas­tro­phes such as ty­phoons, floods, vol­canic erup­tions and earth­quakes are a na­tional is­sue, threat­en­ing the lives of its cit­i­zens and ham­per­ing its progress.

Eco­nomic losses from these dis­as­ters are now reach­ing an aver­age of $250 bil­lion to $300 bil­lion a year, ac­cord­ing to the 2015 Global As­sess­ment Re­port on Dis­as­ter Risk Reduction pre­pared by the United Na­tions Of­fice for Dis­as­ter Risk Reduction (UNISDR). This will likely con­tinue — and pre­sum­ably get even worse — in the years ahead if no in­ter­ven­tion is made by the gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor.

In the past years, at­tempts to ad­dress the im­pact of nat­u­ral calami­ties on the Philip­pines have been made. The na­tional gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor are work­ing side by side in im­ple­ment­ing dis­as­ter risk reduction plan­ning and ac­tiv­i­ties to make the coun­try more re­silient to na­tional dis­as­ters.

One syn­er­gis­tic pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship (PPP) was formed be­tween Al­liance for Dis­as­ter Re­silient So­ci­eties (ARISE) and Philip­pines and the Na­tional Re­silience Coun­cil (NRC). Hans Sy, chair­man of the Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee of SM Prime, cochairs NRC to­gether with Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fense Sec­re­tary Delfin Loren­zana. Am­bas­sador Roberto Ro­mulo of the Car­los P. Ro­mulo Foun­da­tion acts as con­venor.

ARISE Philip­pines is a UNISDR-led net­work of pri­vate sec­tor en­ti­ties whose mem­bers share in­for­ma­tion, ex­pe­ri­ences, ac­tiv­i­ties and projects with the pub­lic sec­tor and other stake­hold­ers to cre­ate risk-re­silient so­ci­eties.

NRC, on the other hand, is a sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy-based PPP that en­hances the ca­pac­i­ties of lo­cal gov­ern­ment units (LGUs) to un­der­stand risk and pre­vent or re­duce im­pacts of dis­as­ters and en­sure de­vel­op­ment con­ti­nu­ity. It aims to fur­ther boost the coun­try’s risk reduction and readi­ness to mit­i­gate the ef­fects of dis­as­ters and calami­ties.

Re­cently, the United Na­tions lauded the Philip­pines for its cru­cial role in dis­as­ter risk reduction. Dur­ing a meeting with mem­bers of ARISE Philip­pines held at the SM Mall of Asia Com­plex in Pasay City, Mami Mizu­tori, the new Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral for Dis­as­ter Risk Reduction, com­mended the ef­forts of the na­tional gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to­ward mak­ing the Philip­pines one of the most dis­as­ter-re­silient coun­tries.

“I have been want­ing to come to the Philip­pines be­cause of the im­por­tance of what your coun­try is do­ing pro­mot­ing dis­as­ter risk reduction not only here and in the re­gion but also glob­ally. You are one of the most ad­vanced coun­tries in terms of prevent­ing dis­as­ter risks from af­fect­ing you tremen­dously,” Ms. Mizu­tori said.

She shared that the SM Prime-led ef­forts of the busi­ness com­mu­nity to­ward dis­as­ter risk reduction in the coun­try is a suc­cess.

“In­deed, ARISE Philip­pines is one of the most vi­brant na­tional ARISE net­works in the world and I must men­tion the per­sonal lead­er­ship of Mr. (Sy) in mak­ing this pos­si­ble,” Ms. Mizu­tori said.

More im­por­tant, she added that ARISE Philip­pines and NRC are a “shin­ing ex­am­ple of PPP hailed as a good prac­tice and de­serve to be repli­cated in other coun­tries.”

For his part, Mr. Sy said that SM Prime will con­tinue to make dis­as­ter risk and reduction man­age­ment the core of its op­er­a­tions, a pur­suit he has adopted even be­fore dis­as­ter re­silience be­came a na­tional pol­icy.

“SM Prime as a re­spon­si­ble prop­erty developer places DRR (dis­as­ter risk reduction) as one of its core strate­gies. We have to pro­tect our busi­ness and prop­erty and en­sure the safety of our ten­ants, cus­tomers and em­ploy­ees. To­day, dis­as­ters have be­come more fre­quent and se­vere. We have to do our share with the gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor to work to­gether to find so­lu­tion to­ward build­ing greater re­siliency than ever be­fore,” Mr. Sy said.

Aside from mak­ing dis­as­ter risk reduction and man­age­ment the heart of ev­ery busi­ness op­er­a­tions, bring­ing it to the lo­cal level is a sig­nif­i­cant move to help the coun­try build a re­silient fu­ture. In this re­gard, NRC has launched the Dis­as­ter Re­silience Score­card for LGUs.

The score­card aims to as­sist in mon­i­tor­ing and re­view­ing progress of each LGU in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of dis­as­ter risk reduction and man­age­ment to achieve de­vel­op­ment con­ti­nu­ity.

Ac­cord­ing to NRC Pres­i­dent Ma. An­to­nia Yulo-Loyzaga, the score­card pro­vides a set of as­sess­ments based on five pil­lars — ef­fec­tive lead­er­ship and gov­er­nance, re­silient hu­man de­vel­op­ment sys­tem, sus­tain­able lo­cal econ­omy, re­silient in­fra­struc­ture and en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.

“The Re­silience Score­card 1.0 presents a set of lo­cal­ized met­rics for the use of in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal stake­hold­ers of lo­cal gov­ern­ment units. It is to be used in com­bi­na­tion with a three-year Re­silience Lead­er­ship pro­gram. While it was in­ten­sively vet­ted by a com­bi­na­tion of over 800 in­di­vid­u­als from na­tional gov­ern­ment agen­cies, LGUs, the pri­vate sec­tor and academe, it is a live doc­u­ment and will con­tinue to be re­fined as we do a deep dive into the risk pro­files of each lo­cal gov­ern­ment part­ner,” Ms. Yu­loLoyzaga ex­plained.

Mean­while, the use of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy as a tool for build­ing re­silience is be­com­ing more im­por­tant to un­der­stand the pro­cesses be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter dis­as­ters and re­duce losses of lives and prop­er­ties.

Ms. Mizu­tori be­lieves that be­cause of the coun­try’s ad­vance­ment in the field of dis­as­ter re­silience, it is in the best po­si­tion to in­tro­duce in­no­va­tions that will al­low com­mu­ni­ties to adapt and trans­form their way of life.

“The Philip­pines has a unique and im­por­tant role to lead the way to sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy-based pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ships in or­der to adopt a cul­ture of dis­as­ter pre­ven­tion. (It) can drive in­no­va­tive ways to build adap­tive and trans­for­ma­tive ca­pac­ity even among the marginal­ized,” she said.

HANS T. SY (seated fourth from left), Chair­man of SM Prime Hold­ings Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee and Board Mem­ber, UNISDR ARISE, wel­comed Ms. Mami Mizu­tori, the new Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral for Dis­as­ter Risk Reduction (seated fifth from left) who graced ARISE Philip­pines’ Fo­rum on Dis­as­ter Re­silience. Oth­ers in the photo are of­fi­cials from the na­tional gov­ern­ment, lo­cal gov­ern­ments and part­ners and heads of ARISE mem­bers.

UN Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral for Dis­as­ter Risk Reduction, Mami Mizu­tori (4th from left) led the Board Meeting of UNISDR ARISE (Pri­vate Sec­tor Al­liance for Re­silience So­ci­eties) last Sept. 3 in Geneva, Switzer­land. The Board Meeting cov­ered strate­gies of the pri­vate sec­tor in sup­port of the Sendai Frame­work, as well as ex­pand­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion to build dis­as­ter-re­silient com­mu­ni­ties. SM’s Hans Sy, lone Filipino mem­ber of UNISDR ARISE International Board is seen 4th from right.

NRC Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Malu Erni

Butch Hi­dalgo of PIRA, Mr. Hans Sy, SRSG Mami Mizu­tori, DPWH Un­der­sec­re­tary Ma. Catalina Cabral and Bill Luz, PDRF Chief Re­silience Of­fi­cer

NRC Pres­i­dent An­to­nia Yulo Loyzaga

Mami Mizu­tori, the new Spe­cial Rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral for Dis­as­ter Risk Reduction

UNISDR Re­gional Of­fice for Asia and the Pa­cific Deputy Chief, An­imesh Ku­mar

Bataan Gov­er­nor Al­bert Gar­cia, NRC Part­ner

PDRF Pres­i­dent Butch Meily

SM Prime and NRC Con­sul­tant Alexan­der Pama

Zam­boanga City Mayor Ma. Is­abelle Cli­maco, NRC Part­ner

Su­san Valdez, Chief of Cor­po­rate Ser­vices, Aboitiz Eq­uity Ven­tures

BCMAP Pres­i­dent Mel Ca­bodil

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