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Top Leaders Forum bridges gap between private and public sectors in disaster risk reduction

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“Resilience is not just a word, it is a way of life. It is a commitment to ensure that we have the responsibilities to others and that no one is left behind,” said SM Prime Holdings, Inc. (SMPHI) Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chairperson of ARISE Philippines and the National Resilience Council (NRC), Hans Sy.

In celebration of the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) last October 13, 2023, Mr. Sy underscored the collective action and commitment of the private and public sectors toward achieving a sustainable and resilient nation during the 10th Top Leaders Forum held at the SMX Convention Center in Manila. 

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Maria Antonia  Yulo-Loyzaga

Organized by ARISE Philippines, SMPHI, NRC, and its partner agencies, the Top Leaders Forum centered around the theme of “Transforming Victims to Victors: A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Inclusive Resilience” emphasizing collaborative efforts for disaster resilience.

Policies into action

One of the event’s highlights was the panel sessions, which brought together experts and leaders to discuss critical topics related to resilience. These topics included Environmental, Social, and Governance; Food-Water-Energy Nexus and DRR; Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Resilience Framework; Synergy for Inclusive Resilience; and Innovative Technologies and Resilience.

Shaila Shahid from Bangladesh is an environmental lawyer working globally to reduce the disaster risks for the urban poor.

Disaster risk reduction innovations

The Marketplace showcased DRR solutions from various sectors, such as government, embassies, and local establishments. Each participant had a booth to showcase their diverse DRR tools.

The Ignite Stage allowed selected participants to present their DRR initiatives. Sessions covered five themes: The Power of Resilience; Global Resilience Initiatives: Discussing Efforts and Strategies for Building Resilience on a Global Scale; Private Move, Private Action: Private Sector Initiatives to Resilience; Local Moves, Local Action: Local Government Units Resilience; and Resilience 301: National Government Action to Resilience.

From left: Xavier University Vice President for Social Development Engr. Dexter Lo, Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. President Maribeth Marasigan, Philippine Space Agency Director General Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano, Jr., and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Dr. Renato Solidum

Recognizing women’s resilience

The 2023 Women’s International Network (WIN) for DRR Leadership Awards acknowledged the remarkable women in the Asia-Pacific region for their achievements in DRR. This initiative is an integral part of the pioneering WIN DRR program, supported by the Australian government.

From left: Broadcast journalist Ces Oreña Drilon, Department of Energy Chief of Solar and Wind Energy Management Ferdinand Binondo, International Institute for Rural Reconstruction Country Director Emelita Monville Oro, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources Undersecretary Carlos Primo David

It encompasses two categories: the prestigious Excellence Award, sponsored by SMPHI, and the promising Rising Star Award. SMPHI endorsed the 2023 WIN DRR Excellence Award, offering a substantial USD 10,000 prize to recognize an exceptional woman excelling in the realm of DRR.

From left: Philippine Disaster Foundation President Rene ‘Butch’ Meily, former Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, and Unilever Chairman Benjie Yap

This year, Shaila Shahid from Bangladesh received the esteemed 2023 WIN DRR Excellence Award. Her exceptional contributions to DRR have made a resounding impact across the Asia-Pacific region.

Abia Akram from Pakistan, a dedicated advocate for women with disabilities for over 25 years, was honored with the prestigious 2023 WIN DRR Rising Star Award.

Abia Akram from Pakistan is a disability rights activist, known for founding the National Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan.

To know more about SM Supermalls’ disaster risk reduction programs, visit or follow @SMSupermalls on social media.


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