Businesses urged to invest in disaster preparedness

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - November 10, 2015 - 3:34am

MANILA, Philippines - The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Tuesday urged businesses to invest more on disaster preparedness and to contribute to efforts to strengthen the country’s resilience to calamities. 

NDRRMC Executive Director Alexander Pama said investing in pre-disaster measures would enhance the relations between companies and communities while ensuring the continuity of business operations.

“The challenge to the private sector is to find your niche in the DDR (disaster risk reduction) paradigm,” Pama told delegates of the Top Leaders’ Forum in Pasay.

“Disaster risk reduction is good business. Invest in it and let us work together towards a more resilient Philippines,” he added.

Pama said businesses are encouraged to contribute resources or expertise before and not just after a disaster strikes. 

“Their CSR (corporate social responsibility) should not only about relief goods. They should be actively involved as far as resilience is concerned.”

“Investments on disaster resilience will not only help them recover fast. It will also engender goodwill between them and the people, their market,” he added.

ARISE launched in the Philippines

Meanwhile, Philippine businesses welcomed a worldwide an initiative that emphasizes the role of the private sector in creating resilient communities.

The Alliance for Risk Sensitive Investment (ARISE) led by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) was introduced for the first time in Southeast Asia during the 2015 Top Leaders Forum at the SMX Mall of Asia in Pasay.

Business leaders who attended the forum pledged to be members of ARISE, which will serve as a platform for information sharing on disaster risks. The initiative seeks to protect investments and carry out strategies to reduce global disaster mortality, economic losses and damage to critical infrastructure. 

“The Philippines suffered so much from super typhoon Haiyan (locally known as ‘Yolanda’) and we are still trying to recover from its effects. However, we have learned some painful but valuable lessons and we hope that through this initiative, we will be able to make this world a better and safer place for all of us and the future generations,” said Hans Sy, president of SM Prime and organizer of the forum. 

ARISE, which was launched in London last September, was created to implement the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a 15-year global roadmap adopted in March 2015 that aims to curb disaster mortality and economic losses substantially. 

The framework is anchored on the belief that disaster risk factors through informed public and private investments are more cost- effective than primary reliance on post-disaster response and recovery.

Present during the Philippine launch of ARISE were Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Sandra Wu, Chairman of the UNISDR Private Sector Advisory Group, Sen. Loren Legarda, Science Secretary Mario Montejo, Metro Manila Development Authority General Manager Corazon Jimenez, Pama, Kate Landry, director of the group Build Change, and French Embassy Deputy Head of Mission Laurent Legodec. 

During the forum, business leaders shared views about mitigating the impact of disasters and discussed their possible contribution to the aim of building resilient societies.

Among the business executives who attended the event was Miguel Belmonte, president and chief executive officer of The STAR Media Group.

Belmonte said the media group can help strengthen the country’s resilience by publishing articles that can educate the public about disasters. 

“Since our newspaper group has a very wide range from all levels of society, from our English broadsheet to our business paper to our Tagalog tabloids, I said that if there is content that can help educate the reading public on environmental issues, risk management and things like that, I offer that we publish it in our papers even in the front page so that it would get attention,” he said.

Belmonte said the paper is also willing to publish articles about the resilience of Filipinos affected by disasters.

“We want to play our part to help disseminate information as a media company,” he said.

The Philippines has lost more than 13,000 lives and has suffered economic losses worth P285-billion due to disasters that hit the country since 2010, NDRRMC data showed.

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