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July 11, 2015

Public schools along Valley Fault System strengthen readiness for earthquake

The Department of Education (DepEd) is doing a series of orientations on earthquake preparedness for principals and school administrators from 1,134 public schools from the National Capitol Region, Region IV-A, and Region III, surrounding the Valley Fault System. 

The orientation aims to equip school heads and administrators with the right information to increase the level of preparedness of schools not just for earthquakes but also for other possible risks. 

“There is no such thing as overdose of information. We need to cascade this disaster preparedness information,” Noel Bagano, Muntinlupa City Assitant Schools Division Superintendent (ASDS), said.

DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) Project Officer Mariel Bayangos explained the comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework. 

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) geologist Mabelline Cahulogan discusses the geologic hazards of earthquake to school principals and administrators from Las Pinas, Paranaque and Muntinlupa during the orientation of schools along valley fault system on earthquake preparedness.

“Why is there a need for us to have a common framework? We need to establish an overall strategy para kahit saan mang school tayo magpunta, we have a common language,” Bayangos said.

The Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education is guided by education outcomes and, at the same time, anchored in the four thematic areas: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery, and rehabilitation. Specifically, DepEd has adopted the Comprehensive Safe Schools Framework to align DRRM implementation in basic education, which is presented in three pillars: safe learning facilities, school disaster management, and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in education. 

Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework discussion encompasses the structural and nonstructural measures such as the adopted disaster resilient classroom design, the strengthened construction monitoring process, enhanced design of temporary learning spaces, the establishment of DepEd DRRM offices nationwide, and the policy on student−led school watching and hazard mapping.

Bayangos added that DRRM and CCA are already integrated in the K to 12 curriculum and the DRR reference materials are being uploaded in the learning portal.

Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) Geologist Mabelline Cahulogan also discussed geologic hazards like the occurrence of ground rupture and liquefaction.

“We all know that the Philippines is situated at the Pacific Ring of Fire and it is crucial for us to be disaster prepared,” Cahulogan said.

“Everyday, our instruments at PHIVOLCS record at least 20 earthquakes. Hindi lang natin sila nararamdaman… We can live with the fault as long as we are prepared and ready. Hindi po natin kailangan mag-panic. Sa halip, kailangan lang po natin maging prepared,” she added. 

The geologic hazards discussion was followed by an open forum to address questions from school principals and education administrators relative to disaster preparedness.
Department of Education Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DepEd DRRM) Project Officer Mariel Bayangos explaining the Comprehensive DRRM in Basic Education Framework.

Family earthquake preparedness

The orientation ended with the briefing on the Family Earthquake Preparedness Homework in line with DepEd Order No. 27 entitled “Promoting Family Earthquake Preparedness.” The homework requires all students to answer a set of questionnaires with their parents to assess their family preparedness before, during and after an earthquake. The class advisers will discuss each of the questions and shall tabulate and summarize the answers which will be submitted to the school administration. The school heads shall be the one to discuss the results to the Parents−Teachers Association (PTA) and barangay officials.

Over 400 school principals, administrators and DRR coordinators from six Metro Manila cities (Las Pinas City, Muntinlupa City, Paranaque City, Pasay City, Taguig City, and Makati City) and Region III (Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan) participated in the five first batches of the said orientation. 

The orientation on earthquake preparedness will continue tomorrow at Jose Rizal Memorial School in Calamba City for those school administrators, principals and DRRM coordinators from BiƱan, Carmona, Calamba, Rodriguez, San Mateo, San Pedro, Sta. Rosa and Silang, Laguna. More than 200 participants are expected to attend tomorrow. The last leg of the orientation on July 13 will be participated by principals from Manila, Navotas, Caloocan, Malabon and Valenzuela cities. 

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