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MANILA, Philippines – Over 140 people responded to the call to be emergency responders during disasters and made a pledge to help others in need at the first Agos 101 Workshop on Sunday, August 28.
Rappler hosted 145 civic volunteers from diverse backgrounds. Some were students, others professionals. Many of them belonged to well-established and respected civic groups like REACT Philippines, Riders Anti-Crime and Emergency Response (RACERS), RG, Shine, Civil Relations Service AFP, and Bantay Bayan.
The workshop provided them with an opportunity to learn about how to gather, understand, and share information that could help save lives, particularly using tools and apps available on the Internet.
MovePH’s director for civic engagement, Zak Yuson, welcomed the participants to Rappler and shared why MovePH is a strong advocate for disaster preparedness and volunteerism.
“Each of us have the power to bring about the change we want to see in this world. Through social media, we can share information and raise awareness about disaster preparedness, climate change adaptation, and saving lives. This is why MovePH supports this advocacy,” said Yuson.
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa thanked the participants for being role models for their communities. She narrated how Rappler began with a simple purpose: to help move the Philippines forward by bringing together different people to find common solutions to our problems. She added that the Agos platform, which was created by Rappler, is one way the company is combining technology with on ground community action.
Among the topics covered during the workshop were how to understand basic weather terms. Dave Valeriano, general manager of Weather Philippines Foundation (WPF), talked about how technology can help warn us of impending danger and how to prepare better.
He cited the example of solar-powered weather stations deployed by WPF that can track the amount of rainfall. When the stations detect extraordinarily high levels of rainfall upstream, that’s a sign to be ready for flash floods downstream.
Yuson and Philip Fortuno of Rappler talked about the need to be responsible users and consumers of social media. Fortuno said that, as civic volunteers, the public will rely on them for accurate and timely information, especially in times of disasters. He added that sharing false information or keeping information is just as damaging as the disaster itself. (SEE: More photos from the Agos 101 Workshop)
Pledge to help
At the end of the workshop, all 145 participants made a pledge to help others in their time of need and to use the Agos information platform to crowdsource and share critical information.
The volunteers are now certified Agos Emergency Responders and will continue their training to learn more advanced skills such as life-saving, leadership, and communications.
MovePH will conduct more Agos 101 workshops in the future and is inviting interested groups or individuals to signify their interest in joining future workshops by filling up this pre-registration form.
Agos is Rappler’s disaster information management platform that crowdsources bottom-up critical information for better top-down decision making.
Agos is powered by Ateneo de Manila University’s e-Bayanihan platform. It is supported by the Australian government, the Office of Civil Defense, the Department of Education, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Disaster Resiliency Foundation, and other partners. – Rappler.com