PLDT, the country’s largest telecommunications, and digital services company, strengthened its role in establishing a disaster-resilient Philippines by helping create a disaster preparedness hub through the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF).
The disaster preparedness facility was recently inaugurated in Clark, Pampanga and identified as the world’s first private sector-led emergency operations center.
“Disaster resilience and disaster preparedness have always been an advocacy of PLDT, both in our business services and our corporate social responsibility projects. We believe that these are imperative in nation-building and in creating a sustainable future,” said PDRF co-chairman and CEO of PLDT-Smart and Metro Pacific Groups Manuel V. Pangilinan.
According to the 2017 World Risk report, the Philippines is the third country with the highest exposure to natural hazards such as earthquakes, flooding, and hurricanes and the third highest disaster risk worldwide.
As a result, the Philippines also ranks high in the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction list of countries with high social expenditure due to annual damage caused by disasters.
Due to the frequency of typhoons and hurricanes as well as being along the Pacific Ring of Fire, natural disasters are a regularity in the country and disaster resiliency continues to be a major challenge.
PDRF is the country’s major private sector driver for disaster resilience and works towards disaster preparedness, response and recovery throughout the country. The Foundation creates a collaboration among the private sector, public sector and civil society geared towards the vision of a resilient and disaster-ready Philippines.
“PDRF was formed based on the premise that disaster management is not solely up to the government but must be a synergy among all the stakeholders involved and affected, which at times of immense disasters, is the whole country,” stated Pangilinan.
The 1,288 sqm. Emergency Operations Center acts as a self-sufficient operations hub geared towards training for disaster preparedness and the coordination of relief and response efforts during major disasters.
Manned by at least 12 personnel, the minimum requirement of a resilience command center, the center can also map data on public infrastructure to help protect them from hazards.
In the instance of a storm, the facility will rely on PAGASA and international weather bureaus for reports.
The EOC has seven sectors- the Disaster Recovery Hub composed of 27 workstations, the Resource Center which houses 20 seats, the Training Room with a 32-seating capacity, the Staff Office made up of 15 workstations, a 23-seat Boardroom, and the Command Center made up of 22 workstations, as the heart of the facility.
Strategically located at Clark, Pampanga the EOC’s location was chosen for its proximity to Clark International Airport and the port of Subic Bay. Clark is also one of the recovery sites identified by the government in its continuity plan in cases of disaster. PRDF has launched a smaller operations center at Shell House, Makati City two years ago.
Since 2009 PLDT has been involved in disaster resilience advocacy projects such as helping the Government rebuild communities ravaged by Typhoons Ondoy and Peping.
For the country’s leading telco disaster resilience initiatives are a long-term commitment for the benefit of the country and the Filipinos in pursuit of effective disaster management strategies.
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