DepEd urges family engagement in disaster preparedness

In its continuing efforts to ensure safety and readiness of learners and teachers, the Department of Education (DepEd) in partnership with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) held a joint workshop on earthquake preparedness, highlighting the importance of school preparedness and family involvement in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) efforts. 

"We strongly believe that disaster preparedness should be anchored on family preparedness not just individual readiness. We want families to imagine scenarios and prepare with their communities,” said DepEd Assistant Secretary Reynaldo Laguda in a statement. 

DepEd has issued DO 27, s. 2015 promoting family earthquake preparedness through school activities. The activities involve the following: (a) learners answering a series of questions highlighting family preparedness in the form of a homework to be done with their families; (b) all advisory teachers are expected to discuss the results and cull out the learnings appropriate for their respective communities; and (c) principals are required to discuss the summary of their findings with the parents-teachers associations and barangay officials for consideration in the school and community preparedness planning.

Laguda said, “Families should engage and should prepare for emergencies, such as a major earthquake.”

DO 27, s. 2015 supports previous DepEd orders on school-based preparedness measures such as the conduct of drills, identification of risks, among others. 

Laguda added, “DepEd will also be meeting with public school principals from NCR and surrounding provinces affected by the Valley Fault System in the coming week to ensure that this is fully complied with.”

DepEd is coordinating with local government units and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to prepare for the July 30 Metro Manila earthquake drill. “We already issued a memorandum requiring teachers and students to participate in the metro-wide earthquake drill on July 30,” Laguda added.

PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum, Jr. emphasized the importance of imagination in disaster preparedness, saying, “We need to imagine these different hazards and what can happen to us. In your school or classroom building, you need to imagine your environment after the earthquake.” 

COCOPEA Executive Director Rene San Andres underscored the importance of sharing the best practices among schools to further strengthen each institution’s programs for school safety. In this light, Miriam College presented their “Think Safe” program for DRRM to address the different natural and human-induced risks in their school. 

“We hope that everyone continues to seek the right information and to act appropriately and proactively to increase the level of preparedness not just for earthquakes but for other risks as well,” Laguda said. 

Over 180 participants from different private schools, with some coming from as far as Baguio City, attended the joint workshop on earthquake preparedness. 

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