Philippines to join ASEAN disaster risk facility

The Philippines Government has announced its intention to join with Japan and five other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states in an insurance facility designed to strengthen resilience against climate and disaster risks.

The announcement was made by finance secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who stated a commitment to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the establishment of the Southeast Asia Disaster Risk Insurance Facility (Seadrif).

Mr Dominguez assured Japan’s deputy prime minister and finance minister Taro Aso that the signing would take place at the next meeting of ASEAN Finance and Central Bank Deputies, along with those from Japan, South Korea and China, which is scheduled for some time later in May in Fiji.

Mr Aso had urged his Philippines counterpart to commit the Philippines to the Seadrif initiative, at a bilateral meeting held during the Annual World Bank International Monetary Fund spring meetings in Washington DC.

The Japanese minister noted that Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Japan all signed the MoU back in December 201,8 and he urged the Philippines to similarly commit to this “insurance against natural disasters”.

Mr Dominguez said the Philippines is already engaged in similar initiatives involving the use of parametric insurance to protect public sector assets against natural disasters. “We are already doing the parametric insurance with the World Bank so we are quite familiar with this, and we will definitely sign the MOU in Fiji,” he said.

Seadrif is also backed by the World Bank and was initially set up as a trust and insurance company based in Singapore, and will be initially chaired by Singapore and Japan. It has been described as “Asia’s first regional facility to provide climate and disaster risk financing and insurance solutions, including a regional catastrophe risk insurance pool”.

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