PWDs undergo disaster preparedness training in Benguet

BAGUIO CITY – Dozens of persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the Province of Benguet underwent a one-day training on disaster preparedness.

Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Cordillera regional director Andrew Alex Uy on Friday said the participants came from the 10 towns of Benguet including Buguias, Bokod, Atok, Kabayan, La Trinidad, Tuba, Tublay, Mankayan, and Itogon, out of the 13 municipalities.

He said the participants were given tips on disaster prevention and mitigation and emergency preparedness which are specific to the sector.

The training, which was held Tuesday, was conducted by the OCD-CAR in partnership with the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (DRRMO) and the Department of Education (DepEd) Division of Benguet, together with local DRRM officers.

“As they say, disability does not mean inability. PWDs must also be fully equipped before, during, and even after disasters. We continue to implement programs like this for us to increase community-level support and participation,” said Uy.

He added that one step to making DRRM efforts more accessible to PWDs is to come up with disability-inclusive means by making current DRRM activities more responsive to their needs such as provision for the necessary survival skills which include setting up a “buddy system” where a PWD has a designated able-bodied person who will see to his safety in case of an emergency.

Uy urged local government units (LGUs) to create a database, providing the demographics of PWDs in their respective areas, making it easier to craft evacuation plans for them.

Our primary objective is to increase the DRRM awareness of the whole of the society, including the communities, and strengthen their capacities. We are considering this initiative as the foundation to achieving community resiliency,” Guadaliva Panitio, OCD-CAR training chief said in a separate interview.

Since 2016, OCD-CAR had been conducting capacity-building programs for vulnerable groups including the PWDs, one of the most marginalized sectors in our community.

This year, it will continue to raise awareness among basic society sectors – farmers, students, disaster survivors, children and including non-government organizations.