DepEd, Ateneo, MovePH agree to use Agos for disaster preparedness

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DepEd, Ateneo, MovePH agree to use Agos for disaster preparedness
The partnership enables the education agency to harness social media and technology in managing disaster information using Agos powered by eBayanihan

MANILA, Philippines – As part of its disaster preparedness program for the new school year, the Department of Education (DepEd) inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Rappler’s civic engagement arm, MovePH on Thursday, May 17 at the DepEd Central Office in Pasig City.

The MOA formalizes an ongoing partnership between the Education Department, MovePH, and Ateneo de Manila University’s eBayanihan program on the use of social media and technology to crowdsource critical information in times of emergencies.

The Agos platform, which is powered by eBayanihan, combines top-down government action with bottom-up civic engagement to  crowdsource information and help decision makers  and responders better plan and prepare for disasters. Agos eBayanihan gathers and visualizes reports from social media such as damage to critical infrastructure, rescue call outs, and evacuation centers in real time.

The MOA was signed by Education Secretary Leonor Briones and Rappler CEO, Maria Ressa. A symbolic signing ceremony was held on May 17 with Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla and MovePH Executive Director Rupert Ambil.

Dr Reena Estuar, associate professor of the Ateneo de Manila University was also on hand to witness the signing. Dr Estuar and her team were behind the creation of the eBayanihan volunteer management and crowdsourcing platform that has since been merged with Rappler’s Agos platform.

SIGNED. Members of DepEd, MovePH and Ateneo eBayanihan teams. At the center are Dir Ronilda Co, Prof Reena Estuar of Ateneo, and Rupert Ambil of MovePH. Photo by Jaen Manegdeg/Rappler

School patrol

Through the partnership, the Education Department will be able to view real time critical information sourced from the public and from the teachers in every school throughout the Philippines. (READ: Civic volunteers respond to call to be Agos eBayanihan volunteers)

DepEd officials and local school disaster coordinators will be given verified accounts on Agos where they can report via SMS, Twitter or Facebook. The reports will be plotted on the Agos Alert Map.

Officials from DepEd will be verified and registered via their division and region. Once verified, education officials can also modify and verify other reports and act upon them.

Users will also be able to see the latest news, particularly when a typhoon or earthquake strikes.

“Isa sa feature nung partnership ay para maging mas madali po sa amin yung determination doon sa ginagamit na evacuation sites” said Ronilda Co, Director of the Disaster Risk Reduction Management System (DRRMS). (One of the features of the partnership is for us to easily determine the status of evacuation sites.)

She pointed out the relay of information is more easy and convenient through the online platform. She also added that the partnership also teaches the students and citizens about disaster awareness and preparedness.

Director Ronilda Co of the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Services Office

Aside from the reporting system, MovePH and Ateneo will provide free workshops to DepEd officials on the use of social media and information sharing.

“Nag-i-invvest po tayo sa education, sa mga eskwelahan natin, sa sistema, at sa mga kabataan kasi ang totoo po niyan, if we don’t feel safe in schools, if we don’t protect our children, our students, wala po tayong future,” said Ambil. (We are investing in education, in our school system, and in the youth. The truth is, if we don’t feel safe in schools, if we don’t protect our children, our students, we don’t have  a future.)

He also added that it is part of the advocacy of Agos to raise public awareness and encourage local communities to be active contributors to nation building. with a report from Yedda Marie Alfonso/

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