Pacific Ring of Fire

Image via Wikipedia

The Philippines is a risky country.

This could mean ‘overall risk profile’, but I’d like to limit my point to ‘Natural Perils’ like Earthquake, Typhoon, Flood, and the likes; touching on other risk items like politics, economics, or legal are not in my comfort zones so I’ll leave these to the ‘experts’ (but I do have strong opinions regarding them).

In terms of natural risks, we are in the ‘Ring of Fire’ or the ‘Pacific Ring of Fire‘ – an imaginary ring or boundary populated by volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and other risks brought by nature (some would call this AOG or Acts of God).  ; in terms of political risk, the Philippines had been compared to some countries in Latin America, in Russia, or in Africa – but I could not make any useful comment now, perhaps in one of my upcoming posts.

We/Filipinos are forgetful people.  The local language would say, “Sanay na kami diyan” (We are used to it): when a calamity or catastrophe hits us, we become aware and suddenly become too concerned that all types of programs come-up but implementation is either too sudden (we have a word for that – “Ningas Cogon”) or half-hearted, bordering towards indifference.  Local leaders scamper for budgets or come up with committees or groups!  Heck, I just heard yesterday evening that there is now a “Regional Risk Reduction and Control something” in Northern Luzon (I’d assume there are similar ones in other regions: we have a word for that, too – “Gaya-gaya”).  Then give it some months (or a year) and we forget; we are back to our old non-risk aware or indifferent ways (sanay na kasi).

We are also a resilient people.  We fall, we pull ourselves together, dust ourselves up, and continue on – not only that, we always sport a smile (others call it, a “Smirk”).

Being resilient is an important characteristic that has to be harnessed if we are to have a Country-wide Risk Management Program.  Not some disparate, independent or regional or localized initiative run by the mayor or governor, or by some wanabee, with FYI only the National Disaster Coordinating Council (OK, I might be stretching myself here – but my point is that I am not aware that there is a concerted effort – TOP-to-Bottom approach – to manage risks in the Philippines).

It is time to have a Country Risk Manager.

Shall he be the president?  Technically, he is.  But given his daily chores, he should not be but someone who knows and understands “risks”.

Should he be in the military or the industry?  Whatever.  Wherever.  For as long as risk management, country-wide is formulated, disseminated, taught, inculcated, indoctrinated, and tatooed in our thick skulls into something called a “brain” – then that does not matter where he is coming from.

But his job can be monumental – so a management-savvy man is it. The rest is like running a corporation – Corporate Philippines – and this Country Risk Manager is the equivalent of a Chief Risk Officer/CRO running a country-wide Enterprise Risk Management /ERM initiative


Can we do it?

Of course we can!