Kapitan Alerto teaches Cordillera kids to be ready for school and disasters
MANILA, Philippines – Kapitan Alerto, the disaster preparedness super hero for the Cordilleras, inspired students from Puguis Elementary School in La Trinidad, Benguet to be safety heroes in their school on May 19.
The visit by the super hero mascot was organized by the Office of Civil Defense in the Cordillera Administrative Region (OCD-CAR) as part of a series of disater preparedness workshops for students and teachers,
Representatives from OCD-CAR conducted the workshop for the students from Puguis Elementary School as the region gets ready for the start of the new school year in June.
Dressed in a blue and orange super hero costume, Kapitan Alerto talked about the importance of preparedness and how children can be safe while in school.
“With the kids meeting other groups who are advocating disaster preparedness, they will come to realize the importance of being prepared because of the constant reminders from different groups,” said Joemar Soriano, Puguis Elementary School Alternate Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Coordinator.
OCD-CAR also turned over Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on disaster preparedness such as posters, story books, and manuals on child rights-based disaster management to the school. The agency also gave posters and leaflets bearing tips on what to do before, during, and after disasters, as well as “Duck, Cover, and Hold” stencils with spray paint. These stencils will be used to create signs on walls within the school’s premises.
Public school teachers
OCD-CAR also held a separate three-day workshop for public school teachers in Baguio on Basic Disaster Reduction Management (BDRRM) from May 16 to 18.
“We are targeting to empower teachers on DRRM because they have the opportunity to cascade it to their students and co-teachers. We are training public and private sectors. For this batch, we train teachers since they are our counterparts from education sector,” said Franzes Ivy Carasi, Information Officer of OCD-CAR.
The training course is intended to improve the standard procedures and plans of each school’s disaster management team.
“The training would be a way to improve their DRRM mechanisms, formulate better plans [such as their] contingency plan, evacuation plan, safety/preparedness plan,” added Carasi.
Baguio City and the surrounding Cordillera towns are prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, landslides, and typhoons. In 1990, the infamous 7.8 magnitude Luzon earthquake struck, leaving more than 2,400 people dead.Thousands of Baguio residents slept on the streets due to the aftershocks that followed the major earthquake.
Since then, OCD-CAR has moved to improve disaster preparedness in the region. It has conducted earthquake drills, drafted contingency plans, and prepositioned resources in critical areas, to prepare for another possible major disaster. – with a report by Samanta Bagayas/Rappler.com
Samantha Bagayas is a Rappler intern from Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University.