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Business

Philippine firms among strongest in disaster risk management in region

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines’ private sector is one of the most advanced in Asia when it comes to disaster risk management, but its citizens are at the bottom in terms of awareness on disaster preparedness.

In an interview, United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) Private Sector Advisory Group member Hans Sy told The STAR that Philippine firms are among the strongest in disaster risk reduction and management in the region.

“Different countries have different situations. Our country is really in the Pacific Rim of Fire so it is expected that there are natural disasters coming in although we don’t know when. So I would even say our disaster preparedness is much more advanced than other countries in Asia,” Sy said.  

“But the big difference speaking in general terms, other countries take it more seriously. Here, it is not much and it’s not quite there. But it’s good that little by little, they are starting to be more aware. And that is what we’re trying to do. It’s really just about awareness and some basic things that they can do. That’s what we are now trying to create,” he added.

Sy urged both the Philippine public and private sectors to increase collaborations aimed at improving the resilience of communities from disasters.

He said more local companies should step up efforts in implementing measures for disaster risk management.

“We all know that the private sector has strong interest in building resilience because of huge investments. Businesses are at risks not only from man-made disasters but from natural disasters and other risk concerns,” Sy said.

“As the frequency and severity of natural disasters have increased in the past years, preventing disaster by becoming more resilient is now an agenda to sustainable growth especially in developing countries like the Philippines,” he added.

Sy, who serves as president of publicly-listed integrated property developer SM Prime Holdings Inc,. assured the public that the company for decades now has been implementing disaster risk management measures.

As a result, he said losses incurred by the company from disasters have been minimal.

“This came out as a surprise in the United Nations but we’ve been at this for the last 20 something years. Since the 1990s we’ve been at it already. So most of our buildings that were designed after 1995 have already disaster resiliency in place, even before when disaster risk reduction was in fashion,” Sy said.

 

ACIRC

DISASTER

DISASTER REDUCTION

HANS SY

PACIFIC RIM OF FIRE

PRIME HOLDINGS INC

PRIVATE SECTOR ADVISORY GROUP

SO I

SY

UNITED NATIONS

UNITED NATIONS INTERNATIONAL STRATEGY

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