By Rosenda Alluad
TUGUEGARAO CITY – About 700 senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) have been empowered to become more resilient in the face of disasters with the annual Emergency Preparedness Forum at the SM City Tuguegarao on August 5 here.
Initiated by the SM Cares and in partnership with Office of Civil Defense, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), it was one of the activities in celebration of National Disaster Resilience Month.
The Emergency Preparedness Forum was designed with the goal of helping vulnerable sectors like senior citizens and PWDs become better prepared for unforeseen events. The event included lectures from emergency preparedness and disaster resilience experts like PHIVOLCS Geoscience and DRR Communications Specialist Charmaine Villamil, and PAGASA Weather Specialist I Ranshelle Joy F. Parco.
Meanwhile, essential and practical survival tips tailored to the needs of senior citizens and PWDs will also be shared by rescue and survival expert, Dr. Ted Esguerra.
“SM Cares believes that emergency preparedness should be inclusive. Senior citizens and PWDs are the sectors that are most vulnerable and at risk during natural disasters, and we want them to be equipped and ready for whatever may come,” SM Supermalls Senior Vice President Engr. Bien C. Mateo said.
“The Emergency Preparedness Forum this year will be introduced to new locations with the goal of building more resilient communities,” he added.
SM Cares’ Emergency Preparedness Forum has shown consistent success and growth since it first began. In 2022, SM Cares recorded a total of 1,983 forum participants across 4 sessions. The initiative also shows SM Cares’ support of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly “SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being”, “SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities”, and “SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities”.
SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, supporting initiatives focused on communities and the environment. Its advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Persons with Disabilities, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the SM Bike-friendly initiative.