Facing Uncertainty Head On: Disaster Risk Management Forum

On November 29, 2017, the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) hosted the its first Disaster Risk Management Forum with an emphasis on how we handle disaster in the age of climate change and how big data can assist the efforts of the public and private institutions in planning, responding, and executing operations where it is needed. The Forum was attended by approximately 500 people from the private and public sector, professionals and academe, the police and ordinary citizen.

The overwhelming attendance was a clear sign that people are keen on knowing more on how we could prepare ourselves for disasters, recognizing the urgency and impact of climate change. The event kicked-off with a short warming note by the President and Dean of AIM, Dr. Jikyeong Kang and the school head for Stephen Zuellig School of Development Management, Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go followed by formal opening remarks by Dr. Mara Warwick, Country Director, World Bank.

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Dr. Go’s welcoming remarks came with a clear message – the unpredictability of climate change that makes us all vulnerable to its wrath is felt not only by our nation but also by other neighboring countries. Moreover, he talked about the role of future leaders and re-affirming the school’s role of producing a generation of managers that would lead this country in an age of unpredictability and using cutting edge methods like data technology utilization. He called on for actions that would help preserve and strengthen the resilience of governing bodies and the affected people.

The event was made meaningful by distinguished speakers ranging from government organizations to private institutions covering respective sectors such as banking, insurance, airlines, healthcare, and security. The occasion was graced with the presence of Senator Loren Legarda as a distinguished speaker of the High Level Forum Discussion who shared the importance of policy making in risk management. In addition, Senator emphasized how to operationalize policies to all government units calling for more action on all respected bodies. It is worth knowing that the Philippines is “rolling up its sleeves” taking risk management pro-actively in its programs as commended by World Bank’s Country Director, Ms. Mara Warwick, and Practice Manager, Mr. Abhas Jha.

The current context of climate change and how it affects nation’s growth, resources, and people was laid out. This was followed by a showcase of solutions and updated programs from resource representatives coming from the Philippine Red Cross, National Security Council, and United Nations to name a few. The need for preparedness as a community was a recurring theme throughout the forum which is certainly timely in facing current and future threats whether the source is man-made or from mother nature.

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The task is daunting even for any government agency. The Philippines alone faces threats not only from natural calamity but also from insurgence aiming to destabilize government and peace. Fortunately, innovations in data gathering, early detection, live monitoring, and response time have occurred over the years and are continued to be developed to face such crisis.

One field that has been gaining traction lately in our country is the field of data science and utilization of big data. As such, AIM is spearheading the program in the country under the leadership of the School of Innovation and Technology Head, Dr. Christopher Monterola, and Master of Science in Data Science Program Director, Dr. Erika Fille Legara. The Data Science team of AIM hopes that the Philippines can move to a more data driven decision making process for a more effective policy creation, coordination, and implementation. This vision is also shared by some of the country’s agencies in monitoring the weather and seismic activity as they utilize such methodologies in gathering and forecasting trends though respective agencies calls for more improvement.

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Overall, our distinguished speakers can’t stress enough on the need for the community to be involve in these times. More so on policies and programs that would lead to benefit the community especially to far flung areas. Not only should policies be easily implemented but must be adaptable taking into consideration what is beyond the scope of its design to prevent catastrophic results. More importantly, the opportunity to open more dialogue in talking about risk management, and an avenue to share best practices such as this Forum is crucial for spreading knowledge and urgency.

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Finally, the event ended with a message from none other than Ms. Regina Lopez, Chair of the Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission that it’s not about the money that makes the difference but the heart to do so. It’s what our future government and industry leaders need to apply in their works that would affect the lives of millions.

This event was a success because of our sponsors – Boysen & ASSIST, event coordinators and student volunteers. Three Cheers to the entire AIM Community for pulling off such a big event so gracefully!

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