Partners with emergency education org for disaster preparedness in Quezon City communities
“WALANG mahirap, walang mayaman pag dating ng sakuna, kaya lahat tayo dapat handa.”
While these words just seem to play over and over again these days with findings on the possible movement of the West Valley Fault imminent, they do become compelling once more when they come from someone who has actually survived a killer earthquake.
Sandra Sanchez Montano was buried under a pile of rubble for three whole days when an intensity-7.8 earthquake hit Baguio, as well as parts of Northern Luzon in July 1990. Armed with nothing but her will and prayers, it was a miracle that a search and rescue dog found the nursing student alive at what used to be her boarding house in the Summer Capital.
Montano told her gripping story and rounded it up with the message above at the launch of a partnership between the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) and her company, Community Health Education Emergency Rescue Services (Cheers), which together, have begun program to prepare communities in Quezon City for what has been dubbed as the “Big One.”
Tesda chief Joel Villanueva introduced Montano and her team from Cheers as he held a news conference for his agency’s “One for the Big One—Maging Handa, Walang Forever” campaign this week. He explained how Montano rose above the trauma of her experience and dedicated her life to becoming an internationally certified emergency medical services trainer by eventually establishing Cheers.
“Cheers is a Tesda-accredited institution that provides emergency personnel training, which is what everyone needs today. We are grateful for their help in rolling out a series of disaster preparedness programs, which begins this weekend.”
While Montano acknowledged she was just lucky to survive her ordeal under the rubble of a building—she had nothing but the clothes on her back when the earthquake hit—she firmly believes that preparing one’s self, one’s family and the community for any kind of calamity will save lives.
“Do this today—prepare and eco-bag for every member of the family with water supply for at least three days, energy bars, a flash light each and a whistle,” she urged. “That’s an important first step in disaster preparedness.
Villanueva supported Montano’s testimony by reporting on what Tesda’s earlier disaster preparedness projects had done for Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City following Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.
“The community was hit hard during Ondoy since it lies at the West Bank of the Marikina Rivera. Tesda aided the barangay after the disaster making sure to include our Mobile Training Plus Platform, also known as the Immediate Response Community-Based Disaster Management Program, and since then, Bagong Silangan has been registering zero-casualty for the typhoons that followed.”
Noting that the same barangay is within the West Valley Fault, and therefore again at huge risk if the predicted earthquake hits, Villanueva has made sure that Tesda and Cheers will soon hold emergency training there.
“We cannot just stand by and watch as the people of Barangay Bagong Silangan worry and become very anxious day after day. I personally have to step up during these times of uncertainty, so Tesda is coming to the aid of the community again with ‘One for the Big One’,” the secretary added.
Through the program, the barangay is set to receive access to modern training and methodology as well as new concepts on disaster preparedness as instituted by Cheers.
“We have to empower the Filipino people. In a calamity as big as what scientists are predicting, our own survival will depend on preparing the people with skills and capacity,” Villanueva concluded.