Manny Pacquiao on their mind.
Even the serious discussions on disaster risk finance at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting attended by more than 100 delegates from 21 economies at the SMX Convention Center in Bacolod City yesterday, could not quell the excitement over the upcoming Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight.
Emmanuel Dooc, Philippine Insurance Commissioner, in his welcome remarks, said he was glad the APEC meeting was being held yesterday and not Sunday, Manila time, because, otherwise, the hall would be empty and everyone would be glued to their TV sets for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight.
“If our national fist, Manny Pacquiao, loses this mega boxing event, it will be the biggest disaster ever that will hit the Philippines. It will be more devastating to our nation than Typhoon Yolanda, Typhoon Pablo and Typhoon Ondoy combined,” Dooc quipped.
Dooc then went on to the serious discussion on the theme of the APEC gathering - disaster mitigation and financial inclusion, where he said microinsurance is the principal tool in the insurance world.
Governments and businesses should invest in disaster preparedness and mitigation, he said.
Both public and private sectors in Asia Pacific are vulnerable to natural disasters, he said.
“No country or business is spared from the increased risks disasters pose to livelihoods and communities”, Dooc noted.
“This means we cannot wait for disasters to happen before we take action. Risks are costlier and deadlier after a disaster happens”, he said.
“The staggering costs of disasters impinge on our scarce resources. Without preparation, funds that would have gone to investing in growth are instead channeled to repair and rehabilitation, disrupting our economic development plans,” he added.
Thus it is imperative to have a roadmap to build resilient economies around the region, he added.
Dooc said he sees insurance as the main tool to promote inclusive growth and an inclusive society.
“We think that every individual can contribute to our national development if we provide financial security regardless of their economic status in life,” he said.
The Philippine experience shows that microinsurance offers hope, he said. While typhoon Yolanda wiped out communities and caused so much loss of life, thousands of households benefited from microinsurance coverage, which totaled P.5 billion, he said.
Insurance benefits are not dole-outs that impair the dignity of those who receive them, he added.
Microinsurance will continue to be a major thrust of the Philippine insurance program, Dooc said.
The poor should not remain poor, he said, pointing out that it is not a sin to be born poor, but it is if you die poor.
“A successful financial insurance program should lift the poor from poverty. It provides opportunities not just for the elite few but for the broad cross section of our population. No one should be left behind,” Dooc said.*CPG
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