Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company - Revival of the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation

The UPS International Disaster Relief Award, supported by the Department for International Development, Winner (Large Company) 2016

By working together with other companies to mobilise private sector resources in the aftermath of a devastating typhoon, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company provided vital support to communities and helped to restore markets.

What the judges said

  • This award entry demonstrated an innovative and collaborative approach to addressing international disaster relief and resilience in the Philippines.
  • The Philippines Disaster Resilience Fund (PDRF) programme is impressive for its powerful collaborative approach and for how it has brought together a disparate group of business that normally compete and inspired them to collaborate to address disaster relief and resilience in the Philippines.
  • The Philippines Long Distance Telephone company revived the dormant Philippines Disaster Resilience Fund (PDRF) as a national platform for disaster management and response, in order to mobilise the Philippine private sector into action, using its resources to help victims of the Typhoon Haiyan and of future emergencies and helping to get the economy back on its feet.

Good for society and for business

  • The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation effectively mobilised the resources of the private sector in response to Haiyan, working with other companies to deliver food, shelter, and healthcare to victims of the typhoon.
  • The platform established an effective method of collaboration between the private sector, national and local government, and international agencies.
  • The company and others involved in the coalition were able to quickly rebuild and expand their customer base in the affected region.
  • By playing an active role in relief and reconstruction, Philippine Long Distance Telephone were able to build a new and improved fibre optic network and quickly restore business operations and customer revenues.

Philippines Disaster Relief FundOverview

In 2013 super-typhoon Haiyan killed between 6,000 – 10,000 people in the Visayas region of the Philippines. Haiyan’s destruction overwhelmed the government’s capacity to respond and the private sector stepped in to support the response.

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) revived the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) to mobilise private sector resources to respond to the tragedy and build a broad-based coalition of companies from various sectors. Today, PDRF works with 66 member companies, plus partners in the government and international community.

In the aftermath of Haiyan, PDRF focused on helping victims by establishing livelihood programs and rebuilding key infrastructure including schools, health centres, and housing in the stricken region. Thousands of people were directly supported with food, shelter, and means to restore their livelihoods. PLDT restored telephone networks as fast as possible with improved fibre optic technology and provided free voice and data services to local government units, evacuation centres, and banks.

Today PDRF works with field experts and reputable humanitarian institutions to organize and coordinate private sector solutions to catastrophes. PLDT has improved its profitability and developed a large number of customers, benefiting from the reputation and its partnerships developed through the emergency response.

Investing in cooperation

PLDT has made a direct investment of approximately £690,000 in PDRF along with an indirect investment of approximately £1.2 million in seconded executives’ salaries, office space, legal, financial, human resources, public relations and other services.

Setting and meeting targets

PDRF is run on a corporate model, familiar to its private sector representatives. Each year, the management team presents the board with goals, programs and a budget. The goals are monitored by an executive committee of the PDRF board. Should these goals not be met consistently, a reorganization of the executive team is carried out, much as in a private company.  

Engaging employees

PLDT has worked to engage their employees in the work of PDRF through regular talks, articles in the company magazine.  As a result the PLDT Community Relations Department, regional managers, and individuals often participate in PDRF programmes as volunteers. The Human Resources department has also organised staff fundraising campaigns for PDRF, helping to raise money for housing, school supplies for students, Christmas presents and meals for typhoon victims.  

Building resilience in partners and supply chain

PDRF delivers business continuity training for PLDT's vendors and suppliers, along with training in tropical weather patterns, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. The company engages as many stakeholders as possible through open forums and by recruiting businesses of all sizes to its Disaster Operations Centre and disaster preparedness clusters. 

Inspiring new practice

PLDT’s lead in revitalizing PDRF has transformed a once small organisation into a leading private sector disaster management platform, not only in the Philippines but around the world, as PDRF has become a model in the international sphere as a private business network. Countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka are looking to PDRF in designing their own private sector-led consortiums focused on dealing with disasters, and a private sector consortium which helped during the Ebola crisis in West Africa was inspired by their model.

What the Chair of the Judging panel said:

"The Philippines Disaster Resilience Fund (PDRF) is an impressive example of collaborative business action to address international disaster relief and resilience. The PDRF has clear replicability, is already inspiring other groups around the world and has demonstrated great impact for the society in The Philippines, whilst also having clear business benefits. The programme also demonstrates a great collaborative effort taken by the private sector and the impressive multiplier effect of putting aside competitive rivalries. The huge value of private sector collaborative action is powerfully demonstrated by this programme and is an inspiration to others". - Luis Arriaga, Managing Director UK, Ireland and Nordics, UPS

What Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company's Chairman said:

“The Philippines faces many natural hazards. One of the key lessons of Haiyan is the need for collaboration, thus the need for PDRF. Super typhoon Haiyan is one of the worst disasters to hit the country. The business community owes it to our fellow countrymen to prepare for and to respond in the case of emergencies lest we one day wake up to the realization that we had the chance to act and did not.” - Manuel V. Pangilinan, Chairman, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company