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Monday, May 27, 2019

In adventure island, small businesses prepare for disaster

SURIGAO CITY -- Creselina Palahang is a small drugstore dealer in Dinagat Island who is also a member of Dinagat Island Provincial Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DIPCCI). She said the Business Continuity Planning makes her realize that with careful and solid plans for any eventuality, her business can recover immediately to enable her to continue service to her constituents.

Her small enterprise was one among several Micro Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Caraga Region who were lucky to attend the first ever Business Continuity Planning (BCP) in Mindanao, hosted by new partners in Surigao City, on disaster risk reduction efforts of a national platform of the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Response and Management (A-PAD Mindanao).

Concepcion Paqueo, president of Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI), pointed out in her welcome address that "the products and services generated by MSMEs are critical in facilitating recovery and (in) normalizing the situation in disaster hit areas. Providing employment, goods and services on the ground where these are needed most can help the local economy bounce back quickly."

She added that all these can only happen if businesses are prepared to manage the effects of extreme climate events on the business, stressing that there is a felt need to start to incorporate business resilience measures into strategies to cushion the impacts of such disturbance (in) operations. Hence, she said she was grateful that the Business Continuity Planning Workshop was held in their city for disaster prevention, disaster preparedness, disaster response and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.

She recognized the fact that the Philippines has been among the top three of over 170 countries that are vulnerable to climate change and it affects the country's economy and the lives of thousands affected by typhoons, flooding and incessant rain.

Paqueo likewise acknowledged that among the most affected are the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across the country, comprising 98 percent of business employing more than 60 percent of the population.

SCCCI was established in 1985, following the destruction caused by Typhoon Kitang in 1984, and now ranked among top business organizations in the province.

The BCP activity, which was the first of its kind in Mindanao, was facilitated by A-PAD Mindanao Coordinator Danilo Gumanao.

The BCP workshop was also conducted by Rhiza R. Nery, manager of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), and Engr. Leoncio T. Cubillas of the University Extension Specialist III of the University of the Philippines Institute for Small Scale Industries.

Likewise recognizing the need to "systematically reduce the increased impact of disasters is gaining recognition and commitment among governments worldwide," Lourdes Louella Espadero Escandor, member of the Board of Trustees of CDRC and A-PAD Convenor, said that "with disaster risk reduction (DRR) as a cross-cutting and complex development issue, nations around the world agree that DRR requires collective wisdom and efforts -- from national policy and decision makers of the various government sectors, from representatives of the civil society, including academic institutions, from the private sector, and from the media."

Escandor said that in adherence to this call, as amplified by the Hyogo Framework for Action, Japan's invitation of DRR champions from Asian countries came into fruition four years ago.

She said Japan was joined by Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Bangladesh and the Philippines in creating a multi-stakeholder regional framework that can "help provide and mobilize knowledge, skills and resources required for mainstreaming DRR into development policies, planning and programs."

The Asia-Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management (A-PAD) was launched in October 2012 in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, during the 5th Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Member countries subsequently formed and mobilized their respective national platforms, with the intensive involvement of the private sector, together with civil society organizations and the government sector.

In the Philippines, the formation of A-PAD Philippines was assigned to the Citizens' Disaster Response Center, where the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporated (Misfi) in Mindanao was one among its 16 regional centers all over the Philippine that work with A-PAD in efforts at modeling the platform of collaboration in three pilot areas, namely, Albay, Cebu, and Davao.

As a result, DRR-based partnership with the private sector, MSMEs, the local government units and other government agencies, and with various civil society organizations is now established in these provinces and elsewhere in neighboring areas.

The BCP considers, among others, the following steps in Business continuity after a disruption that may be brought about by a disaster in the community: determining the purpose, scope and team of the business; prioritizing activities and recovery time objective; determining the needs to enable resumption of activities; Risk Assessment or laying down disaster scenarios; pre-disaster protection and mitigation; emergency response to disaster; strategies to early resumption; being financially prepared; making exercises or drills to make the plan functional; and, ongoing review and improvement.

Participants to the training include a number of MSMEs, the disaster risk reduction management of the province of Dinagat and Surigao, some government personalities, non-government organizations, and other individuals.
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