Safe, sustainable spaces for CDO and Naga

SM Prime

Posted at Sep 23 2022 02:04 PM

Representatives from the National Resilience Council and SM Prime Holdings together with former government officials, members of the Zuellig Family Foundation, and partner LGU constituents from Cagayan de Oro City and Naga City. Photo source: SM Prime
Representatives from the National Resilience Council and SM Prime Holdings together with former government officials, members of the Zuellig Family Foundation, and partner LGU constituents from Cagayan de Oro City and Naga City. Photo source: SM Prime

Behind the pristine white sand beaches, rich history, cultures, and hospitable communities, the cities of Cagayan De Oro (CDO) and Naga are no stranger to increasingly deadly typhoons and earthquakes because both cities are located in the Cagayan River Basin and the Bicol River Basin, respectively.

But that story has changed since the National Resilience Council (NRC) placed the two cities under its Adopt-A-City program which opens up opportunities for LGUs to partner with the private sector to help keep their areas secure. 

Naga and CDO partnered with SM Prime Holdings, one of the leading property developers in Southeast Asia that is committed to providing safe and sustainable spaces for its stakeholders.

Mr. Hans T. Sy, SM Prime Chairman of the Executive Committee and concurrently Co-Chair for the Private Sector of the NRC, explained that the partnership is as important to the company as its long-standing focus on sustainability and disaster resilience. 

"Participating in this program and supporting our local government units and like-minded companies to advocate for resilience are crucial to making this program more successful," shares Sy.

NRC's Adopt-A-City Program is a city-specific partnership model responding to the Philippines' commitments under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the agreements on Climate and the New Urban Agenda. 
 

In photo from L to R, SM Supermalls VP for Corporate Compliance Group Liza Silerio, Former DILG Undersecretary for Public Safety Nestor Quinsay Jr., EVP for Zuellig Family Foundation Austere Panadero, Naga City Public Safety Director Rene Gumba, former NRC President and incumbent DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, NRC Experts Pool and Project Leader for Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines Dr. Emma Porio, SM Prime Holdings Consultant for Disaster Resilience VAdm. (ret.) Alexander Pama, and SM Supermalls Vice President for Corporate Marketing Grace Magno. Photo source: SM Prime
In photo from L to R, SM Supermalls VP for Corporate Compliance Group Liza Silerio, Former DILG Undersecretary for Public Safety Nestor Quinsay Jr., EVP for Zuellig Family Foundation Austere Panadero, Naga City Public Safety Director Rene Gumba, former NRC President and incumbent DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, NRC Experts Pool and Project Leader for Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines Dr. Emma Porio, SM Prime Holdings Consultant for Disaster Resilience VAdm. (ret.) Alexander Pama, and SM Supermalls Vice President for Corporate Marketing Grace Magno. Photo source: SM Prime

Under this program, NRC matches the partners' resources: scientific knowledge, technology, funding, services, equipment and logistics – to the strategic needs of the LGUs undergoing the Resilient LGU Program. The 3-year program integrates science and technology, leadership and governance in rebuilding the community.

Cagayan de Oro: Rebuilding from the ruins

Amid massive damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Sendong in 2011, the city chose to focus forward and decided to finally address the recurring disasters by strengthening its disaster risk management system, and, in the process, it strengthened its resettlement program, redefined health and education governance, and managed their solid waste and water resources more efficiently. 

The city resettled the survivors of Tropical Cyclone Sendong and even awarded land titles to help ensure security of tenure of the affected families. This was complemented with programs to help ensure their health and well-being, as the LGU also upgraded its key health facilities and opened its own Center for Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases to monitor, and thus prevent, dreaded diseases.

The city also prioritized its education and environmental programs with the construction of school buildings, upgrade of their TechVoc Institute, as well as a P152.7-M investment in equipment and training. It was also among the first to implement a ban on single-use plastics and converted an old dumpsite into an eco-park. In addition to a water lab, it also launched Project Lunhaw, a climate adaptation program, and Hapsay Sapa Waterways Management Project, a model waterways rehabilitation project that has received the Asian Townscapes Award from the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat).

Naga City reformation

In early December 2019, Typhoon Tisoy (Kanmuri) severely battered the regions of CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, V, and VIII. In the Bicol region alone, its provinces Albay, Sorsogon, and Naga City were placed under a state of calamity because of the widespread devastation in agriculture, livestock and fisheries that reportedly reached several millions of pesos.

And just as Naga City and other affected regions were recovering from the onslaught of Tisoy, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared on March 11, 2020 a disease outbreak. Forced to craft individual strategies for the abrupt return of Metro Manila residents to their home provinces, City Mayor Nelson S. Legacion immediately mobilized a response strategy which included economic recovery. 

Naga City Mayor Nelson 'Son' Legacion presenting his report through a recorded message. Photo source: SM Prime
Naga City Mayor Nelson "Son" Legacion presenting his report through a recorded message. Photo source: SM Prime

"This ensures available assistance through formal and non-formal financing channels for small businesses to further secure people's livelihood and help the local economy," explained Legacion. 

Naga City reformed previous solutions, enhanced metrics and tools to better adapt to the evolving challenges compounded by the pandemic. It operated its very own molecular laboratory to enhance local testing. It also provided business stimulus loans to micro and small businesses, which intended to help the city to learn to live with the sickness while focusing on economic recovery. And like CDO, it invested more in health systems and resilient centers.

Shaping a better and brighter future

After two years under the NRC and SM Prime intervention, both Naga and CDO cities have officially moved on to the last stage of the three-phased Adopt-A-City Program. Having met the objectives for the Prepare and Adapt phases, the two cities are now transitioning into the Year 3 Transform phase which will allow substantial progress towards resilience. 

"This transition highlights the capacity and institutionalization of our partnerships," said Sy in a speech at the NRC Colloquium in March 2022. "Year 3 would be monumental as our efforts would bear fruit, producing good and lasting solutions from an open collaboration that can be improved over time."

As optimistic as he is about the future of the two cities, Sy is also confident that the Philippines is transitioning into a stronger nation. "We are now living in the 'better normal', as I prefer to see it. We see that more Filipinos are aware of the importance of living sustainably and keeping resilient during these crucial times." 

To know more about the projects of SM Prime and how they are helping the community visit their website.

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