At the Top Leaders Forum in Manila, (from left) Mami Mizutori, UNISDR head and co-chair of ARISE, Senator Loren Legarda, and Hans Sy, chairman of SM Prime and co-chair National Resilience Council, Philippines
By Denis McClean
GENEVA, 6 December, 2018 - The Philippines is emerging as a role model for engaging the private sector in building resilience to disasters under the leadership of Hans Sy, the executive chairman of SM Prime Holdings Inc.
Mr. Sy announced last week the launch of SM Prime’s Business Continuity Program Facility which targets small and medium size enterprises exposed to business disruption following a disaster.
“This facility will serve as their back-up or redundant set-up to recover and restore important data as part of their business continuity and disaster recovery plans,” he said.
Mr. Sy is co-chair of the National Resilience Council and has played a leading role in establishing the national ARISE group in the Philippines.
ARISE is the global private sector alliance for disaster risk reduction promoted by UNISDR.
The strength of ARISE Philippines was acknowledged by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutori, who spoke at the recent 7th Top Leaders Forum in Manila, which brought together the private and public sector to discuss “Building a Culture of Resilience Through Public-Private Partnership.”
Ms. Mizutori said: “These Top Leaders Forum meetings have acquired a reputation as an example to others of what can be achieved by bringing together key players in a national economy to focus on building resilience to disasters.
“In particular, it is good to see the worlds of politics and business coming together to accelerate implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction here in the Philippines.”
Ms. Mizutori who co-chairs the global ARISE board, also highlighted the importance of the work on resilience being carried out by the cities represented at the meeting.
She cited the work of the National Resilience Council (NRC) in adapting a localized Scorecard from the Disaster Resilience Scorecard developed for UNISDR’s 4,000 strong Making Cities Resilient Campaign.
“We have with us today local government representatives from seven cities which have been using it and I look forward to hearing more about how it is aiding their efforts to reduce disaster risk,” Ms. Mizutori said.
Local government representatives were participating in Top Leaders Forum for the first time. These included Gov. Albert Garcia of Bataan Province, Mayor John Bongat of Naga City, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco of Zamboanga City, Mayor Oscar Moreno of Cagayan De Oro, Mayor Madelaine Alfelor of Iriga City, and Mayor Richard Gomez of Ormoc City who gave an insight into progress on tackling urban risk.
Dale Sands, co-chair ARISE, also attended the Top Leaders Forum which he described as “a unique gathering of public and private sector decision makers to further progress disaster risk reduction in the Philippines.”
Mr. Sands said: “So many excellent presentations were delivered of progress made and good practices to be shared in both the public sector and the private sector, and in building public/private sector partnerships such as the National Resilience Council, supported by ARISE Philippines."
The meeting was also attended by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana of the Department of National Defense and co-chair of NRC representing Government, Senator Loren Legarda, a well-known advocate for disaster risk reduction and Dr Weisen Li of APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center, Taiwan.