• Private sector sees bigger role in disaster management

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    Two giant figures in Philippines business are taking the lead in forming a permanent private sector vehicle for disaster management.

    Philippine Long Distance Tel-ephone Co. (PLDT) and Metro Pacific Investments Corp. (MPIC) chairman, Manuel Pangilinan, and the Ayala Corp. chairman and chief executive officer, Jaime Agusto Zobel de Ayala, see the need for the private sector to also do its part in disaster management.

    “Recent events have highlighted the fact that the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world,” said Pangilinan.

    He added that, “We must become much more adept at dealing with calamities—both natural and manmade. The private sector has an important role to play in making our country more resilient.”

    Business groups, major compa-nies in the Philippines and nongovernmental organizations are consolidating their initiatives under the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), which Pangi-linan and Ayala co-chaired together with Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.

    The PDRF shall serve as year-round permanent private sector vehicle for disaster management covering preparedness, relief, recovery and reconstruction. It shall act as a major point of contract of the business community with the government, international aid agencies and the NGO community.

    In the wake of Yolanda, PDRF has identified five key sectors for early recovery efforts—shelter, livelihood, education, environment and water, infrastructure, sanitation and health.

    The group will focus its activities in eight areas—North Cebu, Northern Negros, Northern Panay, Leyte, Samar, Palawan, Bohol and Zamboaga City.

    To further consolidate efforts, PDRF is in the process of creating a Crisis Response Mapping facility to map out the ongoing commercial and corporate social responsibility activities of its core participants in the disaster areas.

    This aims to provide visibility on what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done, and help determine how resources can be efficiently and effectively allocated. The mapping facility will also help in monitoring and auditing projects on the ground.

    Long-term reconstruction plans would include developing an urban planning strategy together with better climate change risk assessments, to help rebuild the typhoon-hit areas.

    “This is a huge undertaking. We know we cannot do everything. But it’s important for the private sector to come together and work with the government to facilitate recovery and rehabilitation,” said Rene Meily, PDRF president.

    Reboot the economy
    “The business community’s first task, through PDRF, is to help reboot the economy in disaster-affected areas and accelerate recovery through investments in both commercial operations and corporate social responsibility projects,” said Guillermo Luz, executive director of the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and co-chair for the private sector of the National Competitiveness Council.

    Luz also said that, “There is a need for private sectors to invest in an institution like PDRF and invest in a big way. In fact, the common trait that just keep on coming into the discussion is that the companies needs to pool in investments.”

    PDRF other members are Erramon Aboitiz, president and chief executive officer of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.; Energy Development Corp. Chair-man Federico Lopez; Edgar Chua, country chairman of Shell Com-panies in the Philippines; Doris Magsaysay-Ho, president and chief executive officer of Magsaysay Maritime Corp.; Gilda Pico, presi-dent of the Land Bank of the Philippines; and Ramon del Rosario Jr., president and chief executive officer of the Philippine Investment Management Inc.

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