In observance of National Disaster Consciousness Month this July, SM Supermalls remindscommunities and citizens to remain alert when it comes to calamities and emergencies, highlighting the importance of disaster preparedness especially amid the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
“As we remain embattled by the COVID-19 pandemic, let us not forget that we also need to be prepared for natural disasters given how often our country experiences them,” said Engr. Liza B. Silerio, SM’s Vice President for Corporate Compliance and head of ARISE Philippines.
“Whether these are typhoons, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions, disasters can strike at any moment, and being unprepared during these challenging times can make our current situation even worse.”Silerio added.
ARISE Philippines, a UNDRR-led program, is the country’s network of private sector organizations that are united in the cause of promoting disaster resilience. SM Prime Holdings is the country’s secretariat.
The Philippines is among the countries in the world that are most susceptible to disasters. In the 2019 report of the World Risk Index by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), the country was ranked ninth most vulnerable in its list of countries by disaster risk index.
SM has been at the forefront of disaster preparedness in the private sector, for many years now, continuously introducing initiatives that help promote readiness during emergencies. Among these is the annual Emergency Preparedness Forum for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens led by SM Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility program of SM Supermalls. The annual forum focuses on the resilience of the elderly and persons with disabilities, two of society’s most vulnerable sectors during emergencies, by giving them proper information and training on preparedness.
“From the previous years we made sure that PWDs and Senior Citizens were actively engaged in community-based resilience activities. It is important to us that they are provided with science-based information, as well as practical drills on how to be prepared for emergencies. Even if there are no mall events at the moment, we continue encouraging communities to be prepared for disasters,” said Engr. Bien C. Mateo, SM’s Senior Vice President for Operations and head of SM Cares Program on PWDs.
SM’s other initiatives on resilience include its rain water collection facilities in several of its malls that help prevent flooding in the community, a data storage and recovery facility for its mall tenants, regular training for its employees, service providers and business partners on disaster resilience and business continuity, and active participation in the government’s regular shake drill activities. SM Prime Holdings allocates 10% of its CAPEX for the disaster resilience features of its malls.