“The Philippines, through the Department of Education recognizes that schools are at the heart of our communities, therefore we commit to keep our schools safe,” said Assistant Secretary Reynaldo D. Laguda as he addressed participants of the 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in the city of Sendai, Japan earlier today.
During an intergovernmental plenary session on Comprehensive School Safety, Laguda expressed DepEd’s solidarity with the global community in discussing and adopting a new framework for action on disaster risk reduction. He notes however that DRR must be rooted in community and fostered in schools because, “no school can be safe without the involvement of its host community and no community is safe if its schools are not safe.”
In his statement, Laguda shared how DepEd now uses the Comprehensive Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Management in Basic Education to guide school-based DRRM planning and preparation. He stressed that, “education helps achieve DRR outcomes and conversely, DRR helps achieve our education outcomes of access, quality and governance.”
Recognizing the need for inclusivity and noting the importance of community-led efforts at building resilience, DepEd stressed the need to engage with host communities in ensuring the success of projects. Infrastructure alone does not guarantee strength or safety.
In the presence of international partners, Laguda also mentioned that partnerships with different stakeholders are crucial in achieving the common goal of safer schools and resilient communities.