Marikina’s PWDs and elderly receive disaster resiliency training through SM Cares’ Emergency Preparedness Forum

March 12, 2020
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Hundreds of Marikeneños, many of them PWDs and senior citizens, actively participated in SM Cares’ Emergency Preparedness Forum 2019, held recently at SM City Marikina, one of the most disaster prone areas in the country as it lies on the dreaded Valley Fault Line and the Marikina river cuts across the midwest portion of the city.

Facilitating the forum were Department of Science and Technology (DOST) undersecretary and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) director Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., a leading expert in geology and seismology, along with Dr. Ted Esguerra, who is a very active member of numerous emergency preparedness and disaster response units around the globe. Both highly-regarded experts imparted knowledge about natural disasters and how to properly respond to them.

We believe that it is very important for everyone to become more prepared. It is our mission to support communities in becoming more disaster-resilient through learning, so that we can properly respond to these kinds of situations wherever you are, whoever you may be,” said Engr. Bien Mateo, SM Cares Program Director for Persons with Disabilities. SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings.

Esperanza Cruz, office of the senior citizens affairs’ head, said the information she has gathered from the forum will allow her to teach her family basic and proper techniques for survival. “Napakalaking bagay na magkaroon kami ng kaalaman tungkol sa preparedness, at maibahagi namin sa aming pamilya.

During heavy rains, the city’s main tributary and several other creeks running through residential areas swell, with the overflows affecting more than 2,000 households. Gil Flores, Marikina PWD affairs officer shared that this initiative of SM Cares has given PWDs an advantage. “Malaking tulong ito para sa mga taong tulad namin na may kapansanan. Dahil may ganito tayong forum, aware na kami na mapaghandaan kung ano man mangyayaring disaster.

SM Marikina was able to withstand the super typhoon “Ondoy” as it was built on the foundation of resilience. By design, SM City Marikina is an elevated mall resting on stilts on a six-hectare property within the Marikina River Watershed. As part of its disaster resilience design, SM Prime built SM City Marikina 20 meters farther than the standard regulation of buildings – 90 meters away from the Marikina River centerline. The stilts are also cylindrical in shape, a science-based solution that allows water to flow through the mall structure. This distance helped reduce the risks of damaging the mall during floods.

These features allowed water to flow freely through the parking structure while the mall stands on the third floor lifted by supportive stilts during extreme floods. With these attributes, the mall is also able to open immediately for business while offering a safe haven and free parking to residents of the city during severe typhoons.

SM’s Emergency Preparedness Forum is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 11: To make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. It is projected that by 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities, making sustainability a critical priority. SM steps forward with the best efforts to work together with government agencies and community members, are collectively engaged in pursuing these objectives/

The forum supports initiatives of ARISE Philippines of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR). 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.

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. To know more about SM Cares, you may visit www.smacares.com.ph, www.facebook.com/OfficialSMCares or email smcares@smsupermalls.com.