AKO BICOL encourages schools to prepare for the “Big One” and other disasters

HB 805 Disaster

A House leader in the Congress is seeking to assimilate an area-specific approach on Disaster Risk Reduction, Management and Education program for students in schools, colleges, and universities.

AKO BICOL Partylist Representative Rodel Batocabe filed House Bill 805 or the “Act Mandating All Schools and Universities to Establish an Area-Specific Disaster Risk Reduction Management and Education Program in their Respective Jurisdictions”.

Should this proposed legislative measure be passed into law, schools and universities would be required to educate the students, parents, staff, and teachers on all possible vulnerabilities and disasters their areas are prone to and craft a comprehensive disaster preparedness and emergency plan specifically designed for the use of the school.

“In the wake of strong typhoons that hit the country, as well as the threat of other exposures such as the impending Big One that will lay waste in  Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces, it is imperative that we educate our students with the proper decorum on the preparation and response to these kinds of disasters,” Batocabe said.

The passage of the Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 mandated the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (TESDA) to pursue a disaster risk reduction and management education in the curricula of secondary and tertiary level of education, including the National Service Training Program.

The passage of HB 805 would further dictate DepEd, CHED, and TESDA to conduct risk assessment tools for the identification of capacities, vulnerabilities, and hazards present in the schools.

“Teachers and students will be constantly reminded of the risks present in the school and the methods of preparation and response to conduct in the wake of the disasters”, Batocabe noted. “Information depicted in warning signs and illustrations will be posted in conspicuous places in the school premises”, he added.

The educational print materials shall contain a large, conspicuous text indicating that the school is disaster-prone, a large illustration of the disasters, a sequential illustration and text of a preparedness plan and a contingency plan in case of disasters, and a hazard map plotting escape routes from the area of posting.

Just this week, an earthquake swarm in the magnitudes of 4.6 to 5.9 hit the province of Batangas in a series of tremors that stunned the nation. Buildings and structures cracked while some of the walls of infrastructures got caught in camera falling down on vehicles. The town of Mabini in Batangas was damaged the most by the series of earthquakes.

“It is alarming to see how much damage and panic the earthquake swarm has created among the people despite the efforts of the government and non-governmental organizations to raise awareness on the arrival of the ‘Big one’,” Batocabe said. “It is reflective of the amount of preparation and readiness of our citizens should the 7.2 magnitude earthquake devastate the country”.

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