By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
SM PRIME Holdings, Inc. unveiled on Thursday a business continuity program (BCP) facility for its partners to enhance their protection and preparedness against natural disasters.
Speaking at the United Nations Strategy on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR)’s Top Leaders Forum on Thursday, SM Prime Executive Committee Chairman Hans T. Sy said the company is extending its sustainability practices to business partners, especially small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
“This BCP facility will serve as their back up and redundant setup to recover and restore important data among others as part of their business continuity and disaster recovery plans. This initiative is aligned with our business resilience program,” Mr. Sy said in a speech during the program at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
Through the facility, SM Prime will offer SME tenants a free data storage facility that will house their operational and insurance documents, allowing them to easily claim insurance and recover should a disaster affect their business.
Citing a report by UNISDR, Mr. Sy said the Philippines is the fourth most vulnerable country in the world in terms of disaster and calamity impact.
The launch of the program is in line with SM Prime’s goal to promote resilience and sustainable practices. The property giant said it has been one of the leading figures in bringing together the private sector to discuss disaster risk reduction issues in the business industry.
Through the National Resilience Council, the private sector led by Mr. Sy has partnered with the national government to enhance the capacity of local government units for resilience. The public side is headed by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana.
“Disasters derail progress and push communities further behind sustainable development. I firmly believe that active and actionable DRR (disaster risk reduction) collaboration with public-private partnership will strengthen the resilience of cities and provinces. DRR properly practiced will permeate stronger communities and cities, and ultimately create a safer population over time,” Mr. Sy explained.
For his part, Mr. Lorenzana said promoting resiliency is a shared responsibility between the public and private sector, noting that this calls for a change in mindset and behavior in addressing disasters.
“The Philippine government will always be at the forefront of disaster risk reduction and response, and disaster resilience. Over the past few years we have achieved successes, the latest of which is a legislative front is the proposal to establish a Department of Disaster Resilience,” Mr. Lorenzana said in his speech during the forum.
Special Representative to the United Nations Secretary General Mami Mizutori meanwhile lauded the private and public sector’s efforts, saying this will help the Philippines achieve targets in the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction adopted by the UN in 2015.
“We are pleased that SM Prime is in the process of creating a national disaster registry, which will help in the systematic collection of disaster loss and damage data. This is a very practical measure that can make a significant contribution in the Philippines towards achieving the targets of the Sendai framework,” Ms. Mizutori said in a speech.
Ms. Mizutori explained that the knowledge of the damage and losses after a disaster is critical in deciding comprehensive national and local strategies to ensure “inclusive, gender equitable, and climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction and thus leading to sustainable development.”