Business continuity workshops, programs for MSMEs badly needed, says exec

The Philippines would do well to set up more business continuity programs to prepare the community, especially micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide, for disaster management, according to a business leader from Bicol.

Clarine Tobias, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) regional governor for Region 5, emphasized at a recent conference on disaster resilience that MSMEs have to be given more assistance in adopting a business continuity plan (BCP) in preparation for calamities, as most of them are not well informed about what a BCP is and why it is important to have one.

Tobias also shared how local business chambers in Bicol and other regions are being capacitated and strengthened to engage in disaster management through cross-sectoral collaborations and partnerships. These linkages, she explained, involve collaborations with local government units, nonprofit organizations and civil and interfaith organizations on getting everyone ready for when disaster strikes.

She added, for example, that some regions now have a one-page BCP in anticipation of any impending emergency or crisis.

“We already know what are the things that we are supposed to do, and who are in charge of these. We have identified the centers for all the churches, schools¡­ and also the people who will be contacted.”

Tobias said they are likewise in close coordination with the media and the Office of Civil Defense for any eventuality, and have partnered with the Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management or A-PAD, a trans-national aid platform.

She stressed how it is a necessity now for everyone to become part of the disaster resilience movement. “I think we have no choice but to be involved because we are the ones who are really affected, especially MSMEs,” she said.

What is also crucial now, Tobias added, is more government funding and support for business continuity programs “because not all of the micro and small [enterprises] are aware of it and they are not really informed about the BCP.”

She concluded: “I think we have to partner and we have to localize everything¡­ but right now it’s still lacking. We need more business continuity programs and workshops to capacitate our micro and small businessmen.”

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