Real estate and property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI) is paving the way for private sector disaster resiliency efforts in the Philippines with the launching of the National Resilience Council (NRC).
Speaking during the 2017 Top Leaders’ Forum (TLF) at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City, Hans T. Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SMPHI and member of board of Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) ARISE International, said NRC is Philippines’ commitment to the global alliance on disaster resiliency.
“We are honoured to be part of the continuing effort to make the Philippines more disaster-resilient because in so doing, we save lives, we save properties, help our economy and build our nation. This group is part of our commitment towards our goal of making DRRM the heart of our operations and developments,” Mr. Sy said.
The NRC is the first public-private partnership on DRRM engaging both the government and private businesses with civil society communities to contribute to national and local legislation and policy development to make the country better prepared to cope with disasters.
According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), economic losses from disasters currently average close to US$300 billion a year and with climate change, will likely continue in the years ahead if no intervention is made by the government and the private sectors working together.
Sy stated the council will be engaged in the identification and multi-year capacity-building of local government resilience leaders and introduction of evidence-based resilience metrics applicable to the Philippine context. Selected cities and provinces are invited to join the program and complete the three-year journey to prepare, adapt and transform towards disaster resilience.
It has been convened by Ambassador Roberto Romulo Chairman of Romulo Foundation and Chairman of Zuellig Family Foundation (ZFF). It is co-chaired by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana representing the national government and Mr. Sy representing the private sector. Mr. Sy is also the only Filipino ARISE Global Board Member.
Other members of the NRC are some of the country’s most prominent organizations in DRR such as the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), National Competitiveness Council (NCC), Manila Observatory, Makati Business Club (MBC) National Cities Cooperation (NCC), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE), Philippines Insurer and Reinsurer Association (PIRA), among others.
The members from the government agencies come from the Climate Change Commission (CCC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), among others.
The Top Leaders Forum (TLF) is a private sector conference convened by the UNISDR and SMPHI to find concrete measures that would make businesses more resilient against disasters. In the 2015 TLF, the group established the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE) with SMPHI as the secretariat for the Philippine Chapter.
Dr. Robert Glasser, the new Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, also graced the event and noted the many achievements of SMPHI in disaster resiliency.
To personally see for himself SMPHI’s DRRM efforts, Glasser took a trip to SM City Marikina, the site of one of pioneering efforts at DRRM.
Glasser was shown the stilts built to support the mall as it was constructed within a known flood-prone area. Lauding SMPHI’s efforts, Glasser said “SM Prime has shown how DRRM could be done even on areas considered to be high-risk zones. They have built a mall on top of stilts which is a pioneering example on disaster preparedness and proper planning and how investing in DRRM could achieve sustainability and avert the loss of lives and property.”
Firm Commitment on Disaster Resiliency