In celebration of National Disaster Resilience Month, SM Cares recently launched this year’s Emergency Preparedness Forum for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs). The first of eight forums was held last July 5, Wednesday, at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall in Pasay City.
Prior to the forum, a pledge of commitment signing was held between SM Supermalls and its partner organizations. Present at the signing were SM Supermalls Senior Vice President Engr. Bien C. Mateo, Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Administrator Usec. Ariel Nepomuceno, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Acting Asst. General Manager Atty. Victor Trinidad, National Commission of Senior Citizens Chairperson Atty. Franklin M. Quijano, and National Council on Disability Affairs Executive Director Joniro F. Fredejas.
Meanwhile, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Loren Legarda, as well as Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Renato Solidum, gave special video messages addressed to the forum’s attendees.
Aside from being signatories, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) OIC Administrator Dr. Esperanza O. Cayanan, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Senior Supervising Science Research Specialist Jeffrey S. Perez, and University of the Philippines Resilience Institute Executive Director Dr. Mahar Lagmay shared their insights and observations in a panel discussion on understanding natural hazards, such as earthquakes, floods, and volcanic eruptions, and how to prepare for such situations.
Disaster Management Specialist, Emergency Medical Technician, and Wilderness Search and Rescue Philippines Instructor Gerard “Doki” Natividad was also invited to share survival tips and tricks tailored to the needs of the attendees.
Participants in the forum were provided an SM Emergency Pack, which consists of an emergency string bag, a 4mm rope, an emergency blanket, a whistle with lanyard, a mini-flashlight, and a survival tool card. Earthquake and flood simulators were also prepared by PAGASA and DOST to add to the participants’ learning experience.
“In preparing for emergencies and calamities, SM Cares believes that no one should be left behind. That is what inspires us to continue mounting this Emergency Preparedness Forum,” said Mateo. “Our goal is to empower our senior citizens and PWDs with the essential survival skills and know-how so that they will be ready for any circumstance.”
Since the forum first began in 2015, SM Cares has been able to provide training to 7,417 senior citizens and PWDs across the country since the forum’s conception, and was awarded Gold in 2020 and Silver in 2023 at the Public Relations Society of the Philippines’ annual Anvil Awards.
This initiative shows SM Cares’ support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly “SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being”, “SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities”, and “SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities”.
SM Cares is the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Supermalls, supporting initiatives focused on communities and the environment. Its advocacies include Programs for the Environment, Persons with Disabilities, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the SM Bike-friendly initiative.
To learn more about these programs, visit www.smsupermalls.com/smcares.