Many history books and literary works call the Philippines the 'Pearl of the Orient Seas' because of its abundance in natural resources. But even as its geographical position in the Pacific allows it to be a tropical haven, the Philippines is also among countries most vulnerable to natural calamities.
The Philippines is no stranger to catastrophes. With overwhelming super typhoons, earthquakes, landslides, and hurricanes, projects and campaigns have persisted to pique general awareness and call for immediate action. The Adopt-A-City Program is one of those.
Bound and determined to reinforce a disaster-resilient Philippines, the National Resilience Council (NRC), along with its 47 affiliates, developed the Adopt-A-City Program, whose primary focus is to match the assessed strengths and resources of the private sector with the specific strategic needs of local government units (LGUs).
The program is replete with instances of collaboration among LGUs, the private sector, and other entities. Educational trainings are held to amplify disaster risk management strategies to lower exposure and vulnerability, and increase human, economic, infrastructure, and environment resilience.
Through the involvement of the private sector, science and technology-based solutions are collectively delivered to LGUs to add long-term and sustainable safe spaces within communities. Hence, participating private organizations inspire and encourage other private sector partners to offer the same service for the common cause.
At the Adopt-A-City Program’s genesis, SM became its first constituent, "adopting" Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental, Mindanao, followed by Naga City and Iriga City, both in Camarines Sur, Visayas region. Each of the cities' LGU, academic partners, and communities, receive immense support from SM through direct investment on risk reductions means, including structural interventions, and campaigns addressing specific social, economic, and environmental exposure and vulnerability.
A notable portion of the disaster resiliency and sustainability efforts SM has implemented over the years include its usage of catchment basins to prevent flooding within and outside the mall, and its surroundings; building malls on stilts (example, SM City Marikina, SM Cabanatuan) to allow flood waters from adjacent waterways to flow freely; harnessing solar power in 10 SM malls (7 in the Philippines, 3 in China); building Sewage Treatment Plants in all SM malls to recycle and conserve water; recycling through the program ‘Trash to Cash’ for nearby communities.
Furthermore, SM Prime Holdings Inc.'s establishment of the SM Resilience Center supplements the company's self-sufficiency and resiliency capacities.
Its business continuity plan facility in SM Clark serves as a sufficient storage for important data of the company and its stakeholders, including employees, consumers, suppliers, communities, and mall tenants which are classified as Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME). Documents to be stored and archived are those that are pertinent to MSMEs’ daily operations, such as business permits, stock inventory, human resources, and insurance.
Preparedness is the bedrock of a successful adversity confrontation. As initiatives like the Adopt-A-City Program abound, sustainable solutions are needed. Check out their collaborative effort to keep the Philippines disaster-resilient in the video below:
For more information on the Adopt-A-City Program, visit NRC’s official website at www.resiliencecouncil.ph.
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