Mr. Hans T. Sy
Hans T. Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Holdings
Inc. (SMPHI) emphasized the importance of investing in Disaster Risk Reduction
(DRR) strategies for a disaster-resilient society during the convocation
program of the Asian Institute of Management’s Executive Master Class in
Disaster Risk and Crisis Management (EMDRCM).
“As we journey towards a
disaster-resilient society, we continue to invest in prevention, preparedness
and collaborative crisis management response, all critical components of DRR
strategy,” Sy said in his speech to the incoming EMDRCM students.
Sy’s expertise, involvement, and
contributions in DRR served as an inspiration to the private sector in leading
global initiatives to make businesses more resilient. His involvement with DRR
and the United Nations (UN) flourished into his being the first Filipino member
of the United Nations ARISE global board, the private sector alliance for
disaster risk reduction. “From a country’s development
perspective, DRR is vital to building a more equitable and sustainable future…
We are one in pursuit of resilience. The responsibility does not lie with the
government alone. It is a concern for everyone including citizens like you who
will be empowered to make decisions for the civil society as a whole,” Sy said.
Sy has been a staunch advocate of
disaster resilience in the private sector. Under his leadership, SM has been
taking great strides in reducing the company's environmental impact through
sustainable plans for its malls. Disaster resilient features made its way into
mall design as SM has been investing 10 percent of its mall capital expenditure
towards disaster risk resilient research and construction.
“During the storm surge that hit
Roxas Boulevard, all the businesses were affected except the Mall of Asia.
That’s because we already had this provision for a storm surge defense wall
that worked. We saved a few billion pesos because of this investment. If we did
not have that storm surge wall – imagine, all the merchandise and actually, all
on the ground level would have been greatly affected,” said Sy.
Some of his notable DRR projects
include the construction of SM City Marikina on
stilts as well as rainwater catchment basins in 20 other malls to alleviate
flooding in the surrounding communities; and the latest disaster resiliency
project, the construction of concrete decking instead of metal roofing where
they will put gardens to help the environment. These projects made an impact on
SM Supermalls’ capability to
manage natural disasters while contributing to their surrounding communities at
the same time.
SM construction under DRR
Sy also shared that, before these
projects were implemented, he had to justify the necessity of these disaster
resilient features. He noted, however, that DRR is not an issue of who is
correct and who is not, but an issue of awareness. “Disasters can happen anytime without
our knowing, so it’s wise to plan ahead,” he said.
Before he closed his speech, Sy
encouraged the students on this exciting and challenging path that they are
about to take. “Let us continue
to learn, to innovate, to look for ideas and solutions, and to follow our sense
of purpose... Let us keep DRR advocacy close to our hearts and continue to help
and care for one another to make the world a better, safer, and happier place,”
SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SM
Prime) is one of the largest integrated property developers in Southeast Asia
that offers innovative and sustainable Lifestyle Cities with the development of
malls, residences, offices, hotels, and convention centers.