In a significant step towards building a more resilient Cordillera Region, the National Resilience Council (NRC) and the local government of Baguio City, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), SM Prime Holdings, Inc, Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development, Inc., Zuellig Family Foundation, and ARISE Philippines, have gathered on June 16, 2023, in the Executive Lounge, Mall of Asia Annex Building, Pasay City to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at strengthening the city’s climate and disaster resilience with the implementation of the Resilient Local Government Unit Program (RLGUP) through the Adopt-a-City Initiative.
The National Resilience Council (NRC) is a science and technology-based public-private partnership that supports government, communities, the academe, and the private sector in advancing local and international frameworks and commitments for resilience. This occasion reflects the crucial role of the whole-of-society approach and marks the collaborative effort between national and local government agencies, the private sector, academe, and civil society, as champions for a sustainable and resilient future for Baguio City.
In his opening message, Jeffrey C. Lim, President of SM Prime Holdings Inc. stated that “along with NRC, SM Prime puts a premium on the safety of communities where we operate and continues our support in enabling our LGU partners in enhancing governance systems, as well as science and technology.”
The signing of the MOU signifies a shared commitment to enhancing the city’s preparedness and ability to withstand and recover from disasters, economic challenges, and other potential disruptions. Through this agreement, the parties involved pledge to work together in implementing comprehensive strategies and initiatives that promote resilience across various sectors.
In his vision of resilience for the City of Baguio, Hon. Mayor Benjamin Magalong shared, “We aim to be a smart, sustainable, and resilient city by 2027. Through an ADB study, we found out that ten years from now, there will be a 23% increase in innovation in the City of Baguio. That’s the reason why many of our projects are nature-based solutions.”
“Actionable projects within the DENR Project TRANSFORM (Transdisciplinary Approach for Resilient and Sustainable Communities) include locally-driven nature-based solutions, and I’m happy to hear that the City of Baguio is currently implementing such”, said Usec. Marilou G. Erni while expressing her message of support for the Baguio resilience program and its alignment with the mandate and priorities of DENR.
Present during the event are Mr. Jeffrey Lim, President of SM Prime Holdings Inc., Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong of Baguio City, Ms. Liana Elena Romulo, Member of the Board of Trustees of Carlos P. Romulo Foundation for Peace and Development Inc., VAdm. (ret) Alexander Pama, Board Member and Co-Chair of ARISE Philippines, and Silvestre Z. Barrameda, NRC’s Executive Director. The signatories are also joined by Marilou G. Erni, Undersecretary for Strategic Communications of DENR, Mr. Hans T. Sy, Chairman of the Executive Committee of SM Prime Holdings, Inc., and Mr. Austere Panadero, President of the Zuellig Family Foundation and NRC’s vice chair for Civil Society Organizations. Each partner, organization, and stakeholders bring valuable expertise and resources to the table, creating a strong foundation for collaboration and collective action.
The RLGUP for Baguio City outlines key focus areas, including enhancing risk governance capacities, water resource sustainability, business continuity, and advocating for evidence-informed and Gender equality, disability, and social inclusion (GEDSI)-mainstreamed policies and programs. Through these efforts, Baguio City aims to develop a holistic approach to resilience that addresses the unique needs and challenges faced by the city and the region.#