Philippine Daily Inquirer: Property Giant Puts Premium On Disaster Preparedness

July 10, 2017 - Philippine Daily Inquirer

SM Prime Holdings, the country’s largest integrated property developer, is no stranger to massive flooding.

SM Prime recognizes the devastation this causes and the lives it puts at risk.

To address the concern, the company built underneath select SM malls enormous catchment tanks designed to help mitigate the impact of typhoons on both lives and property.

“Investing in disaster risk resilience (DRR) is definitely one of our key strategic goals. While the cost of DRR continues to rise, let us see it as an investment that translates not only to immeasurable returns but a greater safeguarding of our communities, our customers and the general public,” SM Prime Director Hans T. Sy said in The Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, a biennial forum by the UNISDR held recently in Mexico.

Today, these catchment tanks can hold rainwater equivalent to about 45,328 cubic meters of floodwater or about 18 Olympic-size swimming pools. The latest in its roster of flood-re- sistant malls, SM CDO Downtown Premier in Cagayan de Oro features a catchment basin able to hold 13,650.00 cubic meters of rainwater, equivalent to about 13.6 million 1-liter soda bottles or about five Olympic-size swimming pools.

While it was building the CDO mall, SM Prime paid careful attention to the area which has seen its fair share of heavy flooding. In fact, the catchment tank capacity was based on the maximum recorded rainfall in CDO City for 24 hours which reached 237.2 millimeters and the 24-hour rainfall intensity of 455 millimeters experienced during Typhoon Ondoy in September 2009.

SM City Marikina, for its part, stands on stilts and allows the free flow of rainwater to the Marikina river through its two-level basement parking. When Typhoon Ondoy dumped over a month’s volume of rain in Metro Manila in 2009, SM Prime’s investments in disaster resilience for SM City Marikina helped prevent massive damage to stores and loss of merchandise for its tenants.

For SM Prime, understand- ing and recognizing disaster risks in areas of business are important because of both the direct and indirect impact they have on lives and property.

“By investing in resilience, SM Prime minimizes vulnerability, improves safeguards to physical assets, reduces recovery expenses and contributes to local government efforts. Ultimately, we are able to better protect lives, and have safer, healthier, happier communities,” Sy said.

This attention to detail and commitment to mitigate the im- pact of disasters have been evident in most of its malls.

Beyond the unique and iconic designs, SM Prime allocates 10 percent of its capital expenditure for disaster resilience features when building malls.

SM Prime continues to lead the country’s private sector in advocating disaster resilience and business continuity.

As more malls open under SM Prime, it will continue to innovate on its sustainability approaches, disaster resilience initiatives and corporate social responsibilities.