The Department of Education (DepEd) on Friday urged school officials and administrators to strictly implement disaster preparedness measures to ensure the safety of school children.
Rizalino Rivera, DepEd undersecretary for regional operations, said adequate preparedness can mitigate the effects of disasters on schools, personnel and school children.
“If we are prepared, we can collectively reduce the exposure of learners and school personnel to danger, the risks of schools suffering from damages, and the disruption to education,” Rivera said in a statement.
The Philippines, situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire, is prone to natural calamities such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, as well as typhoons, flooding and landslides.
Rivera also noted that disaster risk reduction in education must aim at addressing the underlying drivers of disasters such as lack of knowledge of teachers about risks, risk assessment and risk reduction, and lack of disaster preparedness.
“Our school personnel should be able to anticipate risks of natural and man-made hazards and ensure the safety of people and property before, during and after an emergency so that there is protection and safety of lives and minimal or no disruption in the delivery of education,” Rivera said.
As part of disaster preparedness, the DepEd directed school authorities to ensure that school buildings and all DepEd facilities can withstand heavy rain and strong winds. Moreover, notebooks, teaching materials, school records, and equipment such as fax machines, laptops, photocopiers, televisions, VCRs and science tools should be protected from rain and flood.
Schools are also required to study weather disturbances, their signs, warning systems and effects and regularly conduct disaster response drills. School authorities must also strictly observe policies on class suspension in coordination with the local government units to avoid unnecessary exposure to danger during inclement weather.
Schools are encouraged to involve the students, their families and their communities in preparing for disasters to raise their awareness on risk reduction.
NEIL A. ALCOBER