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Energy tycoons team up for disaster ops center

/ 01:21 AM December 20, 2015
PDRF PHOTO

PDRF PHOTO

THREE industrialists leading the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) have pledged a combined P42 million from their energy businesses to establish the world’s first private disaster relief center.

PDRF president Rene Meily said in an interview on Friday that the group’s cochairs, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and Manuel V. Pangilinan, as well as Edgar O. Chua of Shell Companies in the Philippines, committed P10 million from each of their business groups to establish and operate the Disaster Operations Center (DOC).

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Zobel is chair and CEO of Ayala Corp., which is growing its energy business. Pangilinan is chair of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Metro Pacific groups, which lead power distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). Chua is country chair of Shell Companies in the Philippines.

Meily said Zobel and Pangilinan also committed a yearly contribution of P2 million each from their business groups over a period of three years to firmly establish the operations of the DOC.

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Chua has yet to confirm Shell’s yearly contribution to the PDRF, Meily said.

To be located in Clark, Pampanga province, with a satellite office at Shell House in Makati City, the PDRF-run DOC will coordinate the efforts of private companies during calamities.

The satellite office at Shell House will likely be established first, “by early next year,” and the DOC may be up and running by end-2016 or early 2017, Meily said.

When there are no calamities, the DOC headquarters will be used as a training center and as an office for disaster preparedness planning, he said.

The pledges followed commitments made during the launch of the PDRF in April, when business leaders announced they would establish a high-tech disaster operations center and a quick-response system to help businesses prepare for disasters and resume business quickly after one.

Complementary work

The aim, Meily said, is to complement and not to replicate government disaster risk reduction and response work.

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Aside from Zobel and Pangilinan, the PDRF is cochaired by Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, who was present during the PDRF board meeting on Dec. 18 that discussed plans for the DOC.

Board members present during the discussion were Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. president and CEO Erramon I. Aboitiz, First Philippine Holdings chair and CEO Federico R. Lopez, Phinma CEO Ramon del Rosario Jr., National Competitiveness Council cochair Guillermo Luz, who will head the DOC task force, Coca-Cola vice president for public affairs Adel Tamano and Manila Water Co. Inc. group director for operations Geodino Carpio.

Board adviser George Consunji, president and COO of DM Consunji Inc., was also present.

Science Secretary Mario Montejo attended the meeting as a resource person presenting the work of Project Noah (Nationwide Operational Assessment of Hazards) and how it aids the government in responding to disasters.

Launched in 2012, Project Noah uses airborne light detection and ranging (Lidar) technology to map the country’s terrain down to the barangay level.

Learning series

The proposed learning series to be offered at the DOC includes rapid earthquake damage assessment system training from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology; weather 101 and tropical cyclone 101 from Weather Philippines, and disaster preparedness training for small and medium enterprises in Metro Manila from the University of the Philippines Institute for Small-Scale Industries.

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