DepEd exec cites importance of disaster preparedness

DepEd exec cites importance of disaster preparedness

MANILA — An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday stressed the importance of readiness during times of disaster, especially earthquakes.

“The threat of the ‘Big One’ always looms in the distance”, DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua said in his speech at an earthquake resilience forum held in celebration of the National Disaster Resilience Month at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office.

Pascua added that learners, teachers and non-teaching personnel must know what to do when a 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes during school hours.

Joan Salcedo, supervising science research specialist of the Department of Science and Technology–Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (DOST-PHIVOLCS), discussed the science of earthquakes and history of major earthquakes in the Philippines.

Renato Solidum Jr., DOST-PHIVOLCS Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, who was also in the forum, said that “earthquakes do not kill people, but (collapsing) buildings and structures do.”

“And who has control on these? Nature doesn’t. We have,” Solidum said.

“The ‘Big One’ scenario is certain, but the day and time cannot be predicted. There’s a need for a public service continuity plan as most of the decision-making during disasters is centered in Metro Manila,” he added.

‘Laging handa’

In connection, the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Services (DRRMS) launched the DRRM jingle, “Laging Handa,” to increase public awareness and urge the public to have a proactive stance in responding to disasters through preparedness.

Students from Capiz National High School wrote the jingle as their entry to the 2017 National DRRM Jingle Making Contest.

Joey Ayala arranged the jingle and World Vision co-produced it.

“Regardless of the impending hazard, public schools are being equipped through earthquake preparedness initiatives like drills and DRRM integration in the curriculum, processes, systems, and programs of the department. Facilities are also being upgraded in accordance with the Public Schools of the Future framework,” Pascua said.

He added that Administration and Climate Change Emergency Storage and Shelter buildings are being constructed in schools, which are one-floor facilities that will serve as safe spaces for DepEd equipment, tools, materials, and supplies that are easily damaged or destroyed when floods and natural calamities happen.

The DepEd’s DRRMS has partnered with national government agencies and non-government organizations to provide learners, teachers and non-teaching personnel more information on disaster resilience.  Ma. Teresa Montemayor / PNA –