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500 teachers trained in disaster resilience

Annalyn Lee | August 20, 2018

Dino Mendiola almost lost his life due to electric shock while tending to an electrical problem caused by heavy rain and flooding in Navotas City four years ago.

Mendiola, who at that time was the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) coordinator at Wawa Elementary School, immediately went to inspect the school when news of the flood reached him.

He noticed that an electrical wire was dangling, but it was impossible to turn off the circuit breaker. Left with no choice but to cut the wire short, Mendiola accidentally touched the uninsulated part of the wire and ended up getting electrocuted. Had he left it dangling, the wire would have touched the water and electrocuted whoever waded through it.

Fortunately for Mendiola, God seemed to have had greater plans for him and gave him a second shot at life.

“As a DRRM coordinator, I felt that it was my duty to make it a safe place for those who pass that way,” Mendiola recalled.

Because of this exemplary display of dedication, he was conferred in 2017 by the Department of Education (DepEd) the “Bayaning Guro” Award, which honors teachers and principals who have made a difference by exhibiting outstanding teaching capabilities.

Mendiola is now the principal of Navotas Elementary School 1, but his colleagues at DepEd will always remember how he had tried to save both teachers and students from the disaster years ago.

Disaster preparedness is a serious matter. Preparation is very essential. It is the only tool to rise from any calamity.

– Meliton Zurbano, Department of Education Navotas Schools Division Superintendent

Mandated by Section 14 of Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine DRRM Act, DepEd has now incorporated DRRM education into the school curriculum.

To support the program, the AboitizPower Oil Business Unit inked a partnership with DepEd and Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. to help create disaster-resilient schools. Phase one of this partnership involves equipping teachers with the proper knowledge and skills in mitigating and managing risk.

The position that you have right now is really an opportunity to serve, serve your community and your school. And what you do, what you learn will not be just for the benefit of the school and the community but first and foremost, for your families.

– Maria Evalou Concepcion Augstin, Department of Education Navotas City Schools Assistant Division Superintendent

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Close to 500 teachers and school heads from all over the country participated in the training conducted in Agusan del Norte, Compostela Valley, Lapu-Lapu City, and Malabon City from April to July this year.

“We were really enlightened that there’s really a need to prepare for disasters especially that we don’t know when it will come. Through this training, we were made aware and reminded of the hazards present in our respective schools and on how to take action and preventive measures to minimize its effect to ensure the safety of our students,” said Maria Ana Manzanares, DRRM coordinator of Panibasan Elementary School in Compostela Valley.

By the end of the training, the participants drafted a comprehensive school safety plan for disaster resilience. This aimed to enhance their capabilities to effectively prepare for and respond to disasters, as well as to adopt preparedness measures and practices to inculcate the culture of safety and resilience among to learners and the rest of the community.

“You truly are the modern day heroes because when calamity happens, while we secure our families, you on the other hand secure the schools,” according to Agustin.

Celso C. Caballero III, AboitizPower Oil Business Unit’s President and Chief Operating Officer, said this is only among many of their initiatives to advance businesses and communities.

Resilience does not mean you are already immune to disasters. It means that when calamities strike, you are equipped with the knowledge and resources to bounce back stronger.

– Celso C. Caballero III, AboitizPower Oil Business Unit President and Chief Operating Officer

“Aboitiz Foundation and Weather Philippines Foundation provide these to our stakeholders. Disasters know no borders, but by being resilient, hasty recovery can be within everyone’s reach,” Caballero said.

The trainings were provided by various government agencies the local DRRM council, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), and WeatherPhilippines Foundation. Meanwhile, the AboitizPower-DepEd partnership was made possible through AboitizPower subsidiaries East Asia Utilities Corporation, Therma Marine, Inc., and Therma Mobile, Inc.