06 DECEMBER 2019, MANILA—The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), the country’s major private sector coordinator for disaster resiliency, recently partnered with the Israel-based Community Resilience Partners (CRP) to conduct a knowledge exchange on the disaster management best practices and policies in Israel.

This week-long visit, which was supported by the Russell Berrie Foundation (RBF) and which included ten delegates from the Philippine public and private sectors, consisted of tours and discussions with Israeli organizations utilizing technology for emergency response. Among those visited were Israel’s Home Front Command, Israel’s top hospital, National Emergency Management Authority, private organizations mandated to respond to medical emergencies and accidents, counselors and community organizers, desert search and rescue teams, and Startup Nation, which showcases Israel’s technology startups.

“The success of this trip strengthened the partnership not only among CRP, RBF, and PDRF, but also between the private sector and the government in the Philippines. This is just the beginning of our collaboration with Israel, and we look forward to more missions and fruitful activities with them in the coming years,” said PDRF President Butch Meily.

“We observed that volunteerism was strong in the preparedness and response system. Everywhere we went, a combination of professional and volunteer staffing was present. This sense of purpose and community combined to give Israel’s disaster preparedness ecosystem a high-touch feel to go with their high-tech strengths. We came away after one week inspired and full of insights, and asking ourselves what lessons we can apply here in the Philippines and within our own organizations,” said PDRF Chief Resilience Officer Bill Luz, who led the delegates alongside CRP’s David Gappell and Hemi Banner and PDRF Executive Director Veronica Gabaldon.

The tours also sought to strengthen public-private collaboration in disaster risk reduction and management by ensuring the active participation of partners from the government and government agencies in international fact-finding activities.

Among the delegates were NDRRMC Executive Director and Office of Civil Defense Administrator Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, DSWD Undersecretary Felicisimo Budiongan, DILG Undersecretary Nestor Quinsay, Jr., DOH Health Emergency Management Bureau Director IV Dr. Gloria Jacinto Balboa, Office of Civil Defense CBTS Director Susana Juangco, Philippine Air Force 505th Search and Rescue Group Commander Col. Jose Bonifacio Calub, Makati Medical Center Emergency Preparedness Unit Head Dr. Bernardo Cueto, and Energy Development Corporation Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Unit Lead Dr. Teofredo Esguerra.

Advocating for a whole-of-society approach in disaster risk reduction and management, PDRF has been partnering with the government and international groups since 2010 to develop the country’s capabilities in emergency preparedness and response. Founded in 2010, it is co-chaired by PLDT-Smart Communications Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, and Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle.