Phl Red Cross advocates disaster management at school level

Joanna Diaz Sabado

SAN FERNANDO CITY –Elementary and high school students in La Union recently participated in various inter-school competitions organized by the Philippine Red Cross-La Union Chapter.

The contests namely the Search for the Most Creative Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Corner, Jingle Making Contest and a Brain Quest were in line with the monthlong celebration of the National Disaster Consciousness Month in July.

“We have conducted trainings in the different schools, equipping these students with necessary skills not only to save themselves but others as well, from as simple as sharing to others what to do and not-to-do before and during disasters,” Julie Anne Hipona, chapter project coordinator, said.

She added, “What we propose to project areas is for them to know the risks and vulnerabilities to prevent being at risk and reduce the risk brought by natural hazards.”

Based on its record, PRC-La Union has a total of 52 identified schools in the province under their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) program.

During the awarding ceremony on July 27, emerging the top three best among the participating schools in the Jing Making Contest were Tubao Elementary School, San Fernando City South Central Elementary School and Caba Elementary School for the elementary level. Castor Z. Concepcion National High School, San Fernando City South Integrated High School and Aringay National High School were also declared winners in the secondary level.

For the Most Creative Corner, portraying the effectiveness of their DRR areas in terms of providing information, resourceful use of materials, availability of first aid and early warning equipment in their schools, Lingsat Elementary School in San Fernando City and Castor Z. Concepcion National High School in Balaoan were proclaimed winners.

Further on the Brain Quest, out of 22 participants in the elementary level, Justin Campos from San Juan Elementary School in Aringay town was the champion while in the secondary level, Jose Mari Christian Vitales of Felkris Academy Inc. here bested 19 other contestants.

Aside from the prizes, all winning schools received emergency disaster containers and jerry cans made of plastic.

“It is good that more and more schools have initiative in mainstreaming DRR projects and what is more challenging is the sustainability of these projects, Alvin Cruz, Civil Defense Officer II of the La Union Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) said.

He also added, “I urge school heads and principals to involve their community in their drills and the other way around, for local government-initiated drills to involve the schools, because during actual earthquake and disaster situations, preparedness is vital.”

This year’s National Disaster Consciousness Month theme billed “Kahandaan at pagtugon sa sakuna, tungkulin ng bawat isa” highlights the core intention to make the Filipino people realize that Disaster Risk Reduction and Management is a personal responsibility and that surviving, outlasting the ravages of any hazard and making communities resilient is a duty of every Filipino.

Meanwhile, the Office of Civil Defense in Ilocos also conducted its second year of “OCD Maging Handa Video Making Contest” as part of its information, education and communication campaign on disaster management and to discover talents of many Ilocanos in creating innovative videos and short clips. A total of five entries from the Ilocos region showcased creative and effective video clips conveying their messages on disaster resiliency.  (JNPD/JDS/PIA1, La Union)

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