WEF goes to Cebu | Inquirer Business

WEF goes to Cebu

/ 07:52 AM May 25, 2014

Mactan Cebu International Airport FILE PHOTO

MACTAN, Cebu—The 23rd World Economic Forum on East Asia (WEF-EA) may have ended in Manila on Friday but discussions on the Philippines’ social and economic progress ran well into the weekend in Cebu province, as critical ideas, like a promising solution to post-disaster relief involving mobile hospitals, were revealed for the first time.

The gathering, known as the Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN), organized by communities under the WEF, was meant to bring the spirit of discussion and perspective-sharing that the WEF is known for to the rest of the Philippines.


The event, however, was not a venue for mere talk, as the organizers, consisting of the WEF Young Global Leaders (YGL), Global Shapers and Global Growth Companies, said the aim was to create lasting policies and change.


“The World Economic Forum has a track record in accomplishing things and we are applying that to the Philippines,” said tech entrepreneur Winston Damarillo, a YGL awardee. He said the ideas gathered during the event will be evaluated and eventually presented to policymakers.

Talking points

Forum topics ranged from inclusive entrepreneurship, empowering the creative society to sustaining the environment—all time-tested talking points but, with the backing of the WEF, should result in concrete action, Damarillo said.

A key issue was the Philippines’ disaster preparedness in the face of natural calamities that have grown more powerful, like Supertyphoon “Yolanda,” which claimed thousands of lives in Eastern Visayas last year.

That event has stirred some in the private sector to take more action. Manuel Osmeña, a wine producer and owner of Moevenpick Hotel and Resorts that hosted the OCEAN summit, said he was collaborating with the likes of Teresita Sy-Coson, daughter of the SM Group’s founder Henry Sy Sr., and Gawad Kalinga founder Antonio Meloto to establish mobile hospitals using specialized trucks.

“Many people who didn’t have to die still died because there was no medical facility,” Osmeña said.


Mobile hospitals

The mobile hospital idea is simple: The special trucks will be carrying crucial medical equipment and supplies, which can be deployed anywhere in the country via barges or roll-on, roll-off vessels.

Osmeña said he had already poured $500,000 into the plan but would need to raise $30 million to acquire and customize 30 trucks, equivalent to about 10 mobile hospitals.

Pledges of support started to pour in after Osmeña revealed the plan, scaled down from his original vision of a 1,000-bed hospital ship, and it may soon be getting its biggest endorsement yet.

Osmeña said WEF founder Klaus Schwab suggested recently that the mobile hospitals be presented at the prestigious WEF annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Damarillo said this was the reason why the support of the WEF was needed for events like the OCEAN summit.



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TAGS: Global Growth Companies, world economic forum

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