Reviewing 2017: How PH’s Private Sector Responds to Disasters


Andreas Klippe no responses February 3, 2018

We can reminisce the past year, 2017, through various points of view. However, one thing that should not be left out in 2017’s memories is how Filipinos braved several natural disasters like typhoons, flooding, and many more.

resilient_filipinos_natural_disasters

Since the beginning of time, Filipinos have been bearing the brunt of storms, typhoons, and monsoon rains. Against all these odds, Filipinos stood up to prove the resiliency of their spirit; I can prove it, since I’ve been in this country for such a long time.

What you will read now is just one of the numerous evidences of the Filipinos’ resilience. You probably don’t notice it, but the country is seeing a phenomenon that must be replicate in other parts of Southeast Asia — the cooperation between the public and the private sector.

Philippines: World’s Model in Resiliency

I would say that the world should learn from the Philippines, especially when it comes to resilience in times of natural disasters.

One time, I was reading old reports about the disasters that visited the Philippines in 2017. I came upon a report published by the Philippine Star on November 29, 2017 where the United Nations credited the Philippines for being a model of disaster resiliency.

According to the said report, Dr. Robert Glasser from the United Nations said:

The Philippines is in the best position to show the world the best practices in DRRM (disaster risk reduction and management).

Does the private sector have a role in disaster preparedness?

Businessmen found the said news encouraging because it showed they have a potent role in disaster preparedness.

It led me to another report by the ANC, a mainstream television channel in the Philippines, Glasser called on the private sector to enact measures that would parallel government agencies’ efforts in DRRM.

Glasser further said a disaster would only become devastating when people were not prepared to tackle them.

In truth, the private sector in the Philippines has always been active in the field of disaster resiliency.

I know that SM Prime Holdings Inc. (SMPHI), one of the country’s top corporations, is an active partner of UN’s Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies (ARISE). The company lists disaster resilience as one of its initiatives under corporate social responsibility.

institutions_disaster_preparedness_filipinos

At the same time that Glasser labeled Philippines as the world’s model in DRRM, Malaya Business Insight reported that Hans Sy, SMPHI executive committee’s chairman, was re-elected as the only Filipino board member of ARISE.

Such is a proof that in spite of many disadvantages (its location near the Pacific, its underdeveloped infrastructure, and its flawed government), Filipinos are finding ways on how to bridge the gap between the public and the private sector.

This “bridging of gap” becomes more evident when the need for disaster preparedness and response is pressing.

Conclusion: A More Resilient Philippines

So much for these realizations. At the end of the day, these are the points that I’ve gleaned from reviewing these news on Philippines’ public and private sectors’ cooperation:

  1. Philippines’ private sector is not lacking in its efforts to make the country disaster-resilient.
  2. The government can learn from the best practices of some private corporations or big businesses that put climate change in their agenda.
  3. The private sector’s initiatives are also good signs that Philippines will soon be strong enough not to buckle before any challenges brought by climate change.

If you’re in the private sector, what else are you waiting for? You might be the one big catalyst that the Philippines need to survive the challenges of nature!

Andreas Klippe

About the author

Andreas Klippe is founder of the Asian Center for Flood Control located in Clark Freeport Zone, Philippines.

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