A team of recently graduated executive management students from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) presented “The MisOr Akay Fund: The Pathway to Sustainability and Resiliency”, one of the finalists in the OML Center’s first Climate Resilience Challenge, to the public last February 9. The event was organized by the OML Center in cooperation with Resilient.ph and the Municipality of Alubijid in Misamis Oriental.
The public presentation was attended by students, members of civil society organizations, academe, and representatives from the private sector, local government units, and national government agencies.
The MisOr Akay Fund seeks to co-create an inclusive and sustainable disaster risk financing solution for the province of Misamis Oriental. It was developed by Mr. Augustus Caesar B. Esmeralda, Mr. Tristan Lindsey Ares, Mr. Jonathan S. Biagtan, Mr. Randell Kitt Botero, Ms. Sheryl Joy Anne Gutierrez, and Mr. Walter Panganiban in the course of completing the requirements in their executive management program subjects at AIM.
In his welcome remarks, Dr. Rodel Lasco, OML Center executive director, emphasized the importance of evidence-based solutions in addressing climate change and in tapping the “ingenuity of people, especially the young.” Innovative ways to address challenges related to the climate crisis, he said, are crucial, adding that it should not be relegated to the sidelines as we deal with the pandemic.
According to OML Center Communications Manager Ms. Kato Sarmiento the Climate Resilience Challenge is among the Center’s endeavors to bridge the knowledge-to-action gap. Launched in 2020 and intended to become an annual program of the Center, the competition aims to surface innovative interdisciplinary and solution-oriented ideas that private and public sector actors can act on to build and enhance resilience in the Philippines with the themes for the maiden challenge focusing on Food and Water Security, Livelihood and Essential Services, and Climate-Health Systems.
Sarmiento explained that solutions that passed the submissions review processes proceeded in the ideation and development sessions where private, public, or civic sector representatives provided feedback. For the MisOr Akay Fund solution, the OML Center invited Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, founder of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development-Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD-MRI) and Mr. Jose Nuno Meira, integrated expert of the Centre for International Migration (CIM) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF) to meet the team and provide insights that could help them improve their solution.
Revised submissions were then reviewed and evaluated by a panel of science, private sector, and development aid representatives composed of National Scientist Dr. Lourdes J. Cruz, Ms. Agnes de Jesus of the First Philippine Holdings, Ms. Janice Dugan of First Gen Corporation, Ms. Floradema Eleazar of UN Development Programme Philippines, and Ms. Lourdes V. Tibig of Climate Change Commission – National Panel of Technical Experts.
DRF in the Philippines
To contextualize disaster risk financing (DRF) in the country, the Center invited representatives from the private and civil society sectors.
In discussing DRF in turbulent times, Dr. Marqueza Cathalina Reyes, academic program director of the Executive Master in Disaster Risk and Crisis Management Program of AIM underscored the importance of DRF especially when systems are overwhelmed due to unprecedented crises, such as the multiple, concurrent shocks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that DRF should be one of the strategies in disaster risk management, and that risk layering and evidence-based assessments are essential in identifying appropriate financial instruments.
Noting that the Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world Dr. Alip of CARD-MRI, discussed national mechanisms in place concerning DRF. Dr. Alip cited R.A. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Management Act of 2010 which provides the legal basis for DRF and insurance (DRFI) and the National DRFI strategy that the government formulated in 2015 which identified interventions in the national, local and individual level.
Dr. Alip recommended the amendment of regulations to lower premium tax on non-life insurance, to hasten claims payment and to build and improve on the capacities of local government units (LGUs) and communities in disaster preparedness.
Too much water, too little water in Misamis Oriental
The proponents identified the municipality of Alubijid in Misamis Oriental as the pilot area for the solution, noting the susceptibility of the province to two water-related hazards exacerbated by climate change: flooding and drought.
In their presentation, the team recalled how the municipality struggled with dry spells in 2019, causing a domino effect and not only affecting farmers but micro, small and medium enterprises as well. The team also referred to projected impacts of climate change in Alubijid which include severe flooding.
Drawing inspiration from the concept of “Bayanihan” or the spirit of communal unity, the proposed solution seeks to bring together stakeholders in the municipality to understand the problems confronting them, take accountability, and acknowledge their responsibility and collaborate on creating solutions.
The MisOr Akay Fund is one of the two solutions that emerged as finalists in the Climate Resilience Challenge. The team received a cash prize of PHP 50,000.00 to help further and support their proposed solution.
Welcoming innovative solutions
The Center also invited representatives from the public and private sectors to provide reactions to the solution.
Dir. Jerry Clavesillas of the Department of Trade and Industry-Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (DTI-BSMED) noted that the solution is aligned with efforts at the national level, specifically the tailored risk financing and empowerment of the Local Government Units (LGUs) in localizing interventions at the national level. He expressed that the Akay Fund model can also be leveraged in other municipalities all over the country.
Providing the perspective from the public sector, Ms. Liza Silerio of ARISE Philippines, a network of private sector entities under the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, expressed that the solution recognizes the value of DRR strategies, noting the many opportunities for collaboration, especially with the private sector. Ms. Silerio noted the need to create a continuing awareness and education campaign about the importance of resilience and suggested incentivizing work in disaster areas.
Alubijid Mayor Emmanuel Jamis welcomed new approaches such as the Akay Fund in helping the community address its problems. Aside from being devastated by the drought in 2019, Mayor Jamis added that they now have to bear the additional burden caused by the pandemic. “The government cannot solve the problem alone,” the mayor said, acknowledging the value in collaboration among the government, private sector, other institutions, and community members.
Closing the forum, Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, associate professor at AIM and a member of the Board of Trustees of the OML Center recalled devastation from recent tropical cyclones Quinta, Rolly, Siony, Tonyo, and Ulysses, noting that the disasters we experience will be amplified by climate change, causing consequential to social and economic loss. He stressed that climate resilience is everybody’s business, and while science provides the foundation for addressing risks, we need to act on the knowledge. He encouraged participants to have an open heart and mind and embrace innovative solutions.
Watch the public presentation on our Facebook page.
Follow the Akay team’s updates and developments through Resilient.ph.