Collaborating Across Business and Public Sectors for Community Resilience

At the recent forum in the Philippines, 2016 Ready: The Role of Microinsurance in Building Disaster Resilient Communities, the major topic of discussion was how best to bring together competing companies in the name of disaster preparedness and recovery.

Organized by Cebuana Lhuillier Microinsurance, with the Insurance Commission of the Philippines and the GIZ-Regulatory Framework for Promotion of Pro-poor Insurance Markets in Asia, the event provided an opportunity for discussion of the methods and techniques private industry could use to assist in both prevention and recovery in areas prone to natural disasters.

Rene "Butch" Meily, president of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), formed to coordinate the private sector's disaster preparedness and recovery efforts, offered many thoughts on the role of the organization. Said Meily, "our role is to bring together companies that don't necessarily like each other at times, or even talk to each other, because they compete commercially. But at least in PDRF, we can work together."

From its role as a central coordinator, the organization has overseen the contributions of the private sector in various fields:

  • Telecommunications, through the installation of fiber optic cable between the National Disaster Coordinating Council and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
  • Environmental, through the introduction of alternate industries in the Marikana Watershed to prevent deforestation.
  • Education, through the introduction of a school feeding program in the wake of disaster emergencies.
  • Health, through the construction and donation of health and e-health centers.

Observed Meily, "we are trying to push the business sector to find their niche ... They shouldn't be fighting over their roles, or elbowing each other, because everybody has their own niche. Collectively now, we will be able to address it in a holistic manner, reducing the risk, and giving resilience to our people”.