Private sector alliance signs partnership agreement with Asean disaster relief body

SINGAPORE - In its first official partnership with the private sector, the Asean Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance on disaster management (AHA Centre) signed a Memorandum of Intent with the Singapore-based Corporate Citizen Foundation (CCF) on Sunday evening.

"Today is the first step of the closer relationship between AHA and the CCF, but also with the private sector," said AHA Centre executive director Said Faisal at the signing ceremony at the Grand Park Orchard hotel.

With their resources, expertise and ability to move quickly, private firms are important in disaster relief efforts, said Mr Said. Furthermore, achieving the "One Asean One Response" vision of the region responding to natural disasters in unison "can only happen when the private sector becomes an active player", he added.

The partnership agreement allows both parties to share their networks and resources. It was signed at the observance ceremony for CCF's first anniversary, with Asean deputy secretary-general Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee as a special guest and Singapore's Acting Minister for Education ( Higher education and Skills) Ong Ye Kung as guest of honour.

Set up by engineering firm HSL Constructor, the CCF's other constituent partners are Pacific Flight Services, Golden Season and Channel NewsAsia.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Ong praised CCF's efforts in disaster relief and how their work helps to "uphold and reinforce the human spirit" in times of crisis. "I'm very glad that more and more companies are thinking like HSL and getting involved in such causes."

In its first year, the foundation provided disaster relief in the Philippines after last December's Typhoon Hagupit, in Kelantan during the December floods, and in Nepal following April's earthquake.

During these missions, the corporate partners' personnel on the ground learned about their respective strengths and constraints, noted CCF chairman Lim Choo Leng. "This understanding and appreciation helps the CCF to better strategise future deployments."