Persons with disabilities and senior citizens were enlightened on the proper response to calamities especially earthquake and flooding during the Emergency Preparedness Forum 2019.
The forum is an initiative of SM Supermalls through SM Cares and is a yearly event aimed at supporting communities, especially the most vulnerable groups like the PWDs and the elderly, to become more resilient and prepared in times of disasters.
From what used to be held in a single venue, SM Cares now brings the forum to five SM Malls nationwide which started on June 21 and will run until July 12.
The project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 11: To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
It is projected that by 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities, making sustainability a critical priority.
SM, together with government agencies and community members, are collectively engaged in pursuing objectives to make cities safer, more resource-efficient, resilient and inclusive.
Participating malls included SM City Clark (June 21), and now in SM City Marikina (July 2). The next leg will include SM City Dasmariñas (July 5), SM City Batangas (July 9), and SM Center Muntinlupa (July 12), all happening at the mall’s event centers from 10 am to 12 noon.
Facilitating the forum are Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., DOST undersecretary, PHIVOLCS Director and leading expert in geology and seismology, and ABS-CBN’s resident rescue analyst Dr. Ted Esguerra, who is an active member of numerous emergency preparedness and disaster response units around the globe.
Both highly-regarded experts will impart knowledge about natural disasters and how to properly respond to them.
“Our senior citizens in the community may face challenges during an emergency, especially if they are misinformed. It is our goal to eliminate most, if not all, anticipated obstacles,” said Danilo Chavez, SM Cares Program Director for Senior Citizens.
“We will start with the proper orientation on how to properly respond to situations like earthquakes or flooding. Whatever the limitations, we need to be prepared,” he added.
The forum supports initiatives of ARISE Philippines of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
It aims to create risk-resilient societies by working with the private sector to incorporate DRR in the core of their business and stakeholder engagement.
Hans Sy, SM Prime Holdings executive committee chairman, is the only Filipino Global Board Member of the UNDRR ARISE Private Sector Alliance for Resilient Societies.
“There are possibly a lot of unheard solutions that are appropriate for persons with disabilities,” added Engr. Bien Mateo, SM Cares Program Director for Persons with disabilities.
“Now that we have our subject experts, Dr. Solidum and Dr. Esguerra, closer to our communities, I am sure that many things will be brought to clarity. From there, we can better plan what’s best for us and our friends who may have physical or mental challenges,” he said.
SM continues to promote a barrier-free and disability-inclusive environment to ensure that SM becomes a place for all, and where everyone is cared for.
SM Cares advocacies include Environment Sustainability, Programs on Persons with Disabilities, Children and Youth, Women and Breastfeeding Mothers, Senior Citizens, and Overseas Filipino Workers (SM Global Pinoy).
As a responsible member of the community, SM Supermalls, through the CSR Programs of SM Cares, aims to serves as a catalyst for positive change in society.