Genvi starts sustainability program

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014


HOMEGROWN property developer Genvi Development Corp. launched over the weekend its corporate social responsibility (CSR) project My Sustainable Cebu, which is aimed at helping communities of their housing project’s four neighboring barangays.

The company is the developer of the 300-hectare Monterrazas de Cebu. They tapped Alfredo Arquillano Jr., who is considered a United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) champion, to implement the project.

Genvi Development Corp. president and chief executive officer Dindo Antonio Perez said they tapped Arquillano as a consultant for the project so that they can implement it better and get sustainable results. He said Arquillano’s background in empowering local communities in reducing disaster risks and adapting to climate change through the Purok System is aligned with the company’s vision in uplifting the lives of the nearby communities.

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No casualty

Arquillano is a former mayor of San Fernando, Camotes, an area that had “zero
casualty” when super typhoon Yolanda hit parts of Cebu in November last year.

Under his leadership, San Francisco, Camotes won the UN Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction in 2011 for its community empowerment program to boost the resiliency of a mostly poor population, the UNISDR said in its website.

The UNISDR said the Purok System is an indigenous method of self-organization at the sub-village level. Under the Purok “Capital Build Up” program, the community deposits an amount agreed on by residents as initial capital for emergency purposes.

Arquillano also implemented a system of solid waste management that contributes to better sanitation and drainage, which considerably reduces the risk of floods caused by clogged waterways. It is now held up as a national best practice example and is also being shared with cities in other nations, such as Bangladesh.

Perez said My Sustainable Cebu aims to do a similar thing. They aim to implement alternatives in uplifting the lives of residents in four barangays: Guadalupe, Sapangdaku, Tisa and Buhisan. The project was formed last year and addresses three main areas: health and home, livelihood, and natural resources.

It kicked off with a cleanup of Linap Creek in Banawa. Residents from four barangays filled 100 sacks of garbages collected from the creek.

“Projects like this are actually an opportunity for transformation. An opportunity for people to change the way they think about their current situation,” said Arquillano.

Top priority

Of the three factors crucial to attain sustainability on the ground, Arquillano said disaster risk management should be the top priority of every local government unit.

“To achieve sustainable development, it should include disaster risk management, otherwise, without it, it is a failure,” he said.

Arquillano said he started small with one purok until its results attracted other puroks in San Fernando to participate. He said he will implement the same strategy with the four identified barangays of Genvi until neighboring areas will actively participate.

“Empowering local communities in reducing disaster risks would go a long way. It is only a matter of increasing awareness, educating the community and making them understand their role in disaster risk management,” said Arquillano, adding that the recent calamities that Cebu and Bohol went through should be enough reason for them to participate in the initiatives of the LGUs and the private sector.

During the launching, Genvi awarded P20,000 as capital buildup for Purok Kamanggahan, the pilot purok. Arquillano said they were given an incentive because they were the first purok to organize themselves, set up a purok hall and conduct initiatives relevant to the project. The company also donated trash bins to the barangays.

Genvi will also conduct a search for My Sustainable Champions. The company plans to present the project to the UNISDR.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 10, 2014.

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