PIA press release: 2010/12/11
La Trinidad, Benguet - School heads and coordinators in identified pilot schools in Atok and Itogon expressed their support for the disaster preparedness project in a soft launching activity held last week at ATI-NTC, Benguet State University compound.
Philippine Red Cross Benguet Chapter Administrator Oscar Paris said 10 schools will be piloted in the 18-month project funded by the SIEMENS Foundation and the German Red Cross, in coordination with the Department of Education.
The project is aimed to increase resilience and reduce vulnerability in target schools that would enable them to better prepare for, mitigate and respond adequately to natural disasters.
Paris said the towns were piloted foremost because they are considered as high risk. Other considerations are their support to the PRC management and the support of the local government unit to PRC Chapter projects.
The piloted schools in Atok are Adoyonan Elementary School, Cagui-ing Elementary School, Camp 30 Elementary School, Topdac Elementary School and Atok National High School Main and Annex.
In Itogon, these are the Pacalso Elementary School, Tuding Elementary School, Ucab Elementary School, Acupan Elementary School, Alejo M. Pacalso Memorial National High School Main and Loacan Annex.
Former Itogon Mayor Mario Godio, the incumbent chairman of the PRC Benguet Chapter, enjoined the support of the teachers in the spirit of volunteerism underscoring the importance of the project in areas considered as high risk.
Sharing his experiences in times of calamities as past chief executive of Itogon, Godio stressed the role of the government in the sustainability of the project.
One of the expected outputs of the project is the multiplier effect among teachers and students who were trained in imparting knowledge on hazard awareness, climate change and disaster risk reduction at schools, rendering of basic first aid and mobilizing school students and parents in extra-curricula DRR-related activities.
The existing local disaster management structures will also be reinforced n the school and barangay level as well as the coordination and cooperation between communities, local government unit and PRC chapters.
The project involves the training of teachers who will serve as focal persons to teach other teachers and students and the conduct of baseline survey and comprehensive hazard vulnerability and capacity assessments (HVCA) pre and post tests in schools.
Other activities include youth camp/basic leadership trainings, poster making/quiz bee, drill and simulations in schools, conduct of youth councils, multi-sectoral workshops and preparation of schools disaster action plans, and the conduct of small scale mitigation measures such as rehabilitation, canal drainage maintenance or tree planting activities.
The proposed Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was also presented during the soft launching.
Paris stressed that the PRC ventured on the project based on directives from the Department of Education and Republic Act 101211 in mainstreaming and strengthening of Disaster Risk Reduction Management system. (PIA-Benguet)
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