The Philippines has begun sharing disaster risk information with its private sector in an effort to encourage fellow member states in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to build a region-wide database on disaster risk management and climate control.
By establishing a shared database, the Philippines hopes to mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure better coordination and risk management in the face of calamities.
The country’s finance ministers and central bank governors proposed the initiative after a recent joint meeting of ASEAN member-states in Singapore, which underscored the importance of cooperation in strengthening resilience to natural disasters.
“Within the existing capacity constraints, we are building databases and constantly improving on the quality and amount of data available to identify vulnerabilities and manage risks,” said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.
“This is a continuing effort,” he added. “Down the road, we are encouraging our partners in the ASEAN to participate in building a region-wide database for disaster risk management and possibly institutional structures that will enable timely cooperation in the face of calamities.”
Additionally, the Philippines is now pushing for legislation that will institutionalise disaster risk financing strategies like reinsurance and government-sponsored risk pools, with pilot studies for a parametric insurance scheme to cover the country’s most vulnerable communities already underway.
Dominguez stressed that the Philippine government would now be carrying out its disaster risk management with “a sense of urgency” to best safeguard communities against climate change and the damage wrought be erratic weather patterns.
He explained: “Typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions take a toll on our communities and on our economy. We are spending billions of pesos flood-proofing our most vulnerable areas in the face of more torrential rains. Building for a sustainable and resilient development is more than just an option for us. It is the only way to go.”
These initiatives build on the Philippines’ existing climate risk campaigns, such as the Green Jobs Act, which provides government incentives for the creation of environmentally-friendly jobs, such as those that preserve the quality of the environment or reduce pollution.
“Programs such as this one support the general effort to encourage our enterprises to adopt sustainable business practices,” Dominguez said. “When they comply with benchmarks set for sustainability, businesses qualify for insurable risks. Such incentives will go a long way towards building a more environmentally sensitive national economy.”