THE fishing community of Puente Bunglas, Ajuy, in the fifth district of Iloilo province, is one of the severely-devastated areas from Super Typhoon Yolanda. Yet, in the quaint public school, not one school record, book or teaching material was damaged.
More importantly, the young children were taught well to prepare both mind and body for the devastations of a super storm based on their lessons from Typhoon Frank in June 2008, which left 59 people killed in the province alone.
Because of such preparation, the teachers have observed that none of the students showed any signs of trauma and mental disturbance from Yolanda’s monstrosity.
School principal Jopet Lirazan of the typhoon-damaged Puente Bunglas Elementary School said their students who survived Yolanda did not show any signs of mental trauma.
The Department of Education brought reporters to Iloilo on Wednesday principally to check on the state of public schools and students, more than a month after Yolanda.
Lirazan said their students have dealt with the disaster because they’ve learned already the lessons from Typhoon Frank (international name Fengshen).
“They [students]were mentally prepared because of the past lessons they’ve from the previous typhoons. They expected, after hearing from radio and their teachers about Yolanda being a super storm,” Lirazan said.
He said their teachers have conducted orientations to precondition the minds of the schoolchildren before Yolanda hit their village.
“The children were preconditioned so that they are ready to accept the consequences and the effect of the typhoon to their lives. They were emotionally prepared,” the school principal added.
Larizan stressed that preconditioning the mind of the vulnerable children is one way of making them overcome their fears and trauma.
“We told them that even if you lose your house, you have to accept that and in the future make your shelters stronger but more importantly your mind and spirit. We really told them to be strong in the face of all adversities,” he said.
Larizan said all records were properly secured. Nothing was damaged by the floods and storm surges as the teachers also made sure of this. “We are aware what to do. We secured all our books and other documents.”