The local network of the private sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies or ARISE-Philippines renewed its support and commitment to creating a risk resilient society amid the COVID-19 pandemic during its Annual General Meeting (AGM) onOctober 9.
Hans Sy, chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Holdings Inc. and co-chair of ARISE PH, discussed the important role that the private sector plays in espousing disaster risk preparedness.
“I always believe that the call for preparedness, prevention, and mitigation is at the forefront of disaster risk reduction. Our role as private sector members is to supplement public sector assistance with our expert knowledge and available resources. In doing our own DRR and forging partnership with the local and national government, we can lift the majority away from hazards of disasters,” Sy said in his remarks.
The first virtual ARISE PH AGM was attended by distinguished guests from the public and private sectors here in the Philippines, Geneva and Bangkok. They were joined by the newly elected ARISE- Philippines board of directors and over 100 CEOs and representatives from ARISE PH member companies. The organization focused on the efforts and initiatives that were done in the global, regional, and Philippine-setting, including the initiatives done by the government and the ARISE – Philippines member companies to help combat COVID-19.
In her recorded opening remarks, Mami Mizutori, the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and permanent Co-chair of ARISE, further zeroed in on the importance of preparedness in a world that is growing more uncertain.
“It is not enough to learn from the past but we must be able to do a lot of thinking into the future and planning against a variety of interconnected hazards and scenarios. Today, the world is dealing with a virus. Tomorrow, it could be something completely different. Only by bringing everyone together from all segments of the society can this be achieved. And this must include the private sector which is a key stakeholder and can contribute in many ways,” Mizutori said. ‘ARISE-Philippines is a shining example of an organization whose members take disaster prevention to heart across its free oral exchange of disaster management strategies, education and training, and urban risk reduction and resilience.”
Meanwhile, Timothy Wilcox, Private Sector Focal Point, UNDRR Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP), laid down the plans that the UNDRR has to help the region in response to the pandemic. “There is actually a need to assist small businesses with COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.”
The UNDRR has created tools which are geared towards supporting the MSMEs in the region. These tools include an MSME Business Continuity and Recovery Planning Toolkit specific for COVID-19 which has been translated into 11 languages including Filipino and Cebuano; an E-learning Course to supplement the business continuity toolkit; and, a Business Quick Risk Estimate Tool for MSMEs that will assess a business’ resiliency against risks and disasters at the end of a survey. All of which are accessible and can be downloaded online.