THE chief of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has called on business establishments in the metropolis to work with government and other private stakeholders in implementing a business continuity plan in case an earthquake hits following movement in the West Valley Fault.

MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino, in a recent consultative meeting with business groups held in Makati City, urged companies to develop not only an individual plan but also an area business continuity management (BCM) scheme to ensure the quickest recovery for the community should a devastating temblor hit the National Capital Region.

The goal of BCM is to be able to resume business activity "by doing whatever is necessary to protect a company's production, information, equipment, and people," explained Tolentino.

But he pointed out that in a major disaster, efforts by individual companies are not enough to get them back on their feet.

This is because the damage usually extends to roads, power supplies, and other infrastructure, affecting the entire supply chain. "These elements are crucial for production and distribution. Therefore collaborative efforts are required between the public sector, private sector, and local community," he added.

Only then, said Tolentino, can the continuity of local economic activity in times of disaster be guaranteed and the overall resilience of an area be enhanced.

Area business continuity management "refers to efforts of an area that, no matter what the circumstances are, aim to prevent the economic stagnation of the area," said Tolentino.

The first step to economic resilience is for private companies, local governments, and infrastructure and utility operators "to sit down together and have a common understanding of the weakness of the area in times of disaster," said the MMDA official.

"Then the stakeholders can identify bottlenecks for the disruption of business, and come up with measures that will lead to a plan for the business continuity of the area."

"The challenge is for the business sector to show that they could provide services to the people" even in periods of chaos, Tolentino said. (PR)