#DRRMforKids: 'Kapitan Alerto' leads the way
MANILA, Philippines - Do children know what to do in case of disasters?
Kapitan Alerto, advocate of the Office of Civil Defense - Cordillera Autonomous Region, is helping children prepare, keeping true to his motto, "Ang tamang kaalaman ay kahandaan" (Correct information is preparedness).
Kapitan Alerto was first launched during the 3-day Basic Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Training for public school teachers at Baguio City High School on April 13. He replaced Kapitan Tanggol, who handled the role in 2005.
The Cordillera Autonomous Region is no stranger to disasters, having been greatly impacted by the Central Luzon earthquake of 1990 and Typhoon Lando in 2015. Landslides are part of the area's natural hazards, closing roads and isolating communities, sometimes for days.
To ensure civic preparedness, Baguio City held its first city-wide earthquake drill early in 2016.
Emergency relief and protection
Republic Act 10821, the Children's Emergency Relief and Protection Act, signed on May 18, 2016 by President Aquino, seeks to "protect the fundamental rights of children before, during, and after disasters and other emergency situations." This requires the creation of a comprehensive emergency program by the government to protect children and mothers during disasters.
To help strengthen child protection, Kapitan Alerto taught basic readiness tips to students from Lucban Elementary School in Baguio, and Buyagan Elementary School in La Trinidad, Benguet, in time for the Brigada Eskwela this year.
Among the lessons taught were the importance of preparing a Go Bag, or disaster kit, as well as what to do in the event of an earthquake. Kapitan Alerto also stressed the importance of keeping a medical kit handy.
Be ready, be safe
Manuals, posters and videos were also distributed to help strengthen the lessons imparted by Kapitan Alerto, while school supplies were provided by the SM Foundation.
Whistles were also distributed, with Kapitan Alerto reminding both parents and students alike that these can be used to ask for help or call for rescue in the event of an emergency.
Stencil images of how to properly Duck, Cover, and Hold were also painted at school walls, to remind everyone on what they should do in the event an earthquake strikes.
“We should all be reminded that Kapitan Alerto is only an icon, a mascot. Even without costume, we have the knack to be like him – alert, vigilant, prepared,” said Andrew Alex Uy, Director of the Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera Administrative Region.
Aileen Velazco, a parent from the Buyagan Elementary School, said:
“This event is really helpful for the children, since it helps them become more prepared especially during this rainy season where there are more calamities. – Rappler.com