Bicol grade school students trained in disaster response, resilience

Rhadyz B. Barcia

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Bicol grade school students trained in disaster response, resilience
Bicol is the pilot area for the Office of Civil Defense's resilience caravan

ALBAY, Philippines – The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Bicol is teaching the next generation of Bicolanos to be prepared should disaster strike in the region.

Edriel Burac, a student at the Bacacay East Central Elementary School (BECS), along with his classmates, checked on disaster equipment during the static display of government responders here.

Burac said that they’re happy to learn new things regarding disaster risk reduction methods, basic response, and emergency preparedness through the resilience caravan.              

At least 1,000 elementary pupils from various public schools in Bicol, specifically in Albay province, joined the resilience caravan spearheaded by OCD-Bicol. 

The resilience caravan 2017 is a series of 3 events aiming to educate young people on protective mechanisms and actions available to save lives and protect people’s livelihood during emergencies and disasters.

Retired general Claudio Yucot, the new OCD-Bicol regional director, said that the target participants for the caravan from different schools in Bicol was 800 from grade 4 to 6, but the total number of participants swelled to 1,000.

Yucot said that educating grade school students on disaster risk reduction capability would also help them learn to become resilient in times of natural calamities.

“We want our children to be educated, equipped, ready and resilient for them to know what needs to be done in times of natural disasters even without disaster responders. So in this way, they can pass on their knowledge to the members of the family and save lives,” Yucot said.   

He said that disaster readiness should start at home and should be ingrained in every Filipino, particularly the youth.

Bicol is a pilot area for the OCD’s “resilience caravan.” Yucot said that similar events will also be held in Regions 6  (Western Visayas) and 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula) in partnership with OCD regional offices.

He said that resilience starts with awareness on hazards and risks which threaten communities, but people should also learn how to protect themselves from such threats.

This includes information on what to do before, during, and after disaster strikes a community, such basic safety and life-saving response. This information will be shared through creative presentations, exhibits, and demonstrations to promote better understanding, Yucot said.

“At the end of the sessions, we expect that the participants understand the basic concepts of safety and emergency preparedness, know the concepts of giving first aid and other basic response actions thus demonstrate the basic protective measures during earthquakes and fire,” the OCD official said.

The caravan focused on “4K: Kaalaman sa Kahandaaan, Takumbas ay Kaligtasan” to reinforce the message of the National Disaster Resilience Month observance.   

Aside from resilience caravan held at the Ibalong Centrum for Recreation in Albay, the OCD is also set to conduct a regionwide earthquake drill on December 15 in consonance with the simultaneous disaster drill in the country. – 

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