DTI-Romblon Provincial Director Noel Dr. Flores explains the importance of MSME Development and Disaster Resilience forum to make sure that they will be prepared when a disaster hit the province. (Paul Jaysent Fos/PIA-Romblon)

ODIONGAN, Romblon — The Department of Trade and Industry – Romblon through Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED) gathered about 110 participants from the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and other public/private stakeholders to promote development and awareness to disaster resilience.

DTI-Romblon Provincial Director Noel Dr. Flores, in his welcoming remarks, reiterated the importance of such a forum to make sure that MSMEs are prepared when a disaster hits the province.

He further explained that Romblon province is vulnerable to disasters like typhoon, earthquakes, tsunami, floods, and even fire that may affect businesses.

“If a disaster strikes the province, who will be the first responders? Sari-sari stores, they are the first business establishment that will be available to support our needs. We need to be ready and make sure they are available even if there is a calamity. This program is also in support of the National MSME Development Plan 2017 – 2022,” Directo Flores said.

During the forum, Nathania Vida Abigail Guiang, Business Continuity Planning Officer of Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) discussed the Public-Private Partnership on MSMME Disaster Resilience Roadmap.

Meanwhile, Bersabe Fornal of the Odiongan Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), and May Angelica Famini of the Department of Science and Technology Provincial Science and Technology Center (DOST-PSTC) Romblon, discussed the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System and the natural hazards and risk in the province.

Marlon Babaan of Landbank of the Philippines (LBP) CaReS discussed their bank’s Calamity Rehabilitation Support Fund, while Iren Bello of Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Solutions presented the solution of building disaster-resilient communities through micro-insurance.

MSMEs also engaged in an action planning workshop regarding the development of a regional action plan for MSME Disaster Resilience.

They also signed a pledge of commitment together with other government agencies to strengthen the MSME Disaster Resilience in Mimaropa and in the Philippines. (PJF/PIA-MIMAROPA/Romblon)