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The Importance of Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management

File photo: Flooding brought about by Typhoon Ondoy 2009

A person’s safety during calamities is mainly dependent on their community’s disaster preparedness. No matter how ready they are for all possible catastrophic scenarios, every bit of preparation can go down the drain if their community cannot respond effectively to such events.

It is why a community-based disaster risk reduction and management plan (CBDRRMP) is essential. It places the responsibility of being prepared for calamities and other emergencies on the community as a whole, ensuring that organizations, households and individuals can work together in making their community more resilient in the face of disaster.

CBDRRMP is important, especially for countries highly vulnerable to disasters, such as the Philippines. Situated within the Pacific Ring of Fire and typhoon belt, the Philippines is frequented by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and typhoons respectively. The country ranked 9th in the world in terms of vulnerability to calamities in the 2020 World Risk Index.

One of the most common events experienced by the Philippines is flooding, which underscores the importance of effective floodwater management. There are many ways that local government units are doing this. Efforts range from structural measures such as sizeable underground drainage systems, floodways, pumping stations, flood warning systems, and urban greening to non-structural measures such as minimizing plastic waste, a primary culprit in urban flooding.

SM City Masinag has a rainwater collection tank that can store 17,681 cubic meters of water.

With the country situated on five active fault lines, Filipinos must also prepare for earthquakes. It is why many buildings are equipped with earthquake-resistance features. Taking earthquake resilience in the country further are the periodic earthquake drills implemented at the national and organizational levels.

These are good examples of effective CBDRR, where both the authorities and the citizens work together to ensure the safety of life and property in their communities.

As a trusted and responsible developer of integrated properties, SM has always been committed to promoting Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) in its communities, which is evident in many of its malls that employ infrastructure design centered on disaster resilience. SM allocates 10% of its capital expenditures to incorporate disaster-resilient features, of which installing water management design features is one of them.

Artist’s illustration of SM’s rainwater collection facility in 22 SM Malls nationwide.

A few examples of these are SM City Marikina, elevated by several rows of concrete stilts to protect tenants and mall-goers during extreme floods. SM Mall of Asia was built with a storm surge barrier for added protection during storm surges, and several malls employ catchment tanks for recycling rainwater.

Across the country, there are 22 SM Malls that have rainwater collection tanks under the mall. All these malls combined can catch and store 79,880 cubic meters of rainwater, equivalent to 32 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

SM City Olongapo Central’s rainwater collection tank can hold up to 14,580 cubic meters of water.

“Wherever SM is, we try to help our communities become resilient to changing weather patterns,” explains Arch. Fides Garcia-Hsu, Vice President of SM Engineering, Design and Development.  “Nationwide, we have 22 malls equipped with rainwater catchment facilities that help rainwater management to avoid flash floods for surrounding communities.”

Supporting these are several initiatives focused on capacity-building for its stakeholders. It includes workshops & learning sessions on Disaster Risk Resilience Management and regular participation in the quarterly national simultaneous earthquake drills for its employees, and the annual Emergency Preparedness Forum for persons with disabilities and the elderly, two of the most vulnerable sectors of society during disasters.

SM City San Mateo’s rainwater collection tank can collect 10,800 cubic meters of potential floodwater.

Similarly, in line with its multi-stakeholder approach, SM Prime has also continuously built long-term partnerships with organizations that advocate for a disaster-resilient Philippines. It includes collaborations with ARISE-Philippines, the National Resilience Council, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Office of Civil Defense, and the Bureau of Fire Protection, to name a few.

Written by Village Connect

In a world where free quarterly print and online publications rule, Concept and Beyond Publishing (formerly, Tesmarias Publishing) a publisher of Village Connect (VC) stands out as a pillar and a trailblazer, raising the bar for complimentary magazines with quality reads that are tailored to discriminating Filipino urbanites.

As a print and digital publication, VC strives to provide readers an insightful glimpse into the ever-changing business landscape through relevant dialogue and inclusive coverage of trending news, information, and lifestyle tidbits within (and outside) the metropolis.

On a bigger scale, VC identifies and promotes Philippine innovations in various industries and connects them with Manila’s young and upbeat populace.

Since its founding in 2011, VC emerged as a household and business name, with a monthly circulation of 50,000 copies distributed FREE in Metro Manila, VC is targeted toward select villages, multi-dwelling outfits (condominiums, serviced apartments), banks, and lifestyle facilities including salons, wellness institutes, and beauty and fitness centers. It is also exclusively carried by Figaro Coffee Shops in Metro Manila – truly living up to its goal of connecting villages and businesses.

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