MANILA, Philippines — SM Prime Holdings Inc., the property arm of
SM Group, called for investments on disaster risk reduction (DRR) management
yesterday, saying this helps not only businesses but communities as well.
“A lot of people would even challenge if you can really do
something about natural disasters. I cannot promise anything, but if we don’t
start doing something then that’s gonna be even worse,” SM Prime Holdings Inc.
told The STAR on the sidelines of the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster
Resilient Societies(ARISE) event yesterday.
Sy is also executive committee chairman of ARISE led by the United
Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), which is urging more
members of the privatesector
to collaborate with local government units to raise awareness and deliver
impacts on DRR management and resilience.
SM Prime serves as the secretariat for ARISE Philippine chapter.
Sir HTS addressed on disaster risk resilience
“That’s why I encourage people, no matter how small or big your
share is, if we combine everybody together it will make impacts and save
lives,” he added.
The Philippines remains on top of world risk indices based on
several vulnerability factors including geographic location, population growth,
urbanization, income inequality and socio-cultural conflict.
Sy said DRR management is at the forefront of the company’s
investment, allocating at least 10 percent to disaster risk resilience in every
“In every project that we do, it is really part of our program and
I can say that it gave us peace of mind, we can sleep and eat better. Investing
on disaster resilience makes good business sense,” Sy said.
“There were incidents that happened like the one in Marikina
recently where we were able to save a lot of money because if we had not done
those things, we may have suffered a lot more,” he added, referring to the
flooding in the city and other parts of Metro Manila due to heavy monsoon
UNISDR Special Representative of the Secretary-General Mami
Mizutori, for her part, lauded the Philippines for being at the forefront in
dealing with disaster risk reduction, saying the country is in an “excellent
track of accomplishing national and local strategy for DRR.”
However, she said the problem on informal urbanization, which is
gaining prevalence in the country, should be addressed as this might lead to
chain of disasters.
“Urbanization is happening very rapidly but there are also a lot
of informal urbanization happening where people (are) living in houses which
are not built resilient enough and that is becoming one of the big risks
globally,” Mizutori said.
“In the Philippines too, there is informal urbanization happening
so we need to find a solution to this in order to protect those people who are
more vulnerable,” she added.
Meanwhile, ARISE as a whole continues to collaborate to achieve
the outcomes and goals of the Sendai framework.
Adopted in 2015, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
is a 15-year voluntary, non-binding agreement that recognizes the role of
states and the shared responsibility of local government units, private sector
and civil society groups.
It aims to reduce global disaster mortality and economic losses,
at the same time increasing international cooperation of developing countries
and access to multi-hazard early warning systems and disaster risk information
Apart from the SM Group, other ARISE Philippine members are
Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Double Dragon Properties, Jollibee Foods Corp., Manila
Electric Co. and The STAR Group of Publications, among others.