DepEd, children’s rights group tie up for school safety program

MANILAThe Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with a children's rights group and a foundation to establish a comprehensive program that would improve the safety and preparedness of schools during calamities.

DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) specialist Ronilda Co said the country's education sector is vulnerable to natural calamities and other hazards.

"Based on our data, around 43,810 schools have experienced natural hazards and about 21,949 schools have experienced human-induced hazards while 19,001 (schools) had other hazards," she said in her speech during the launch of Education Safe from Disasters Project in Pasig City on Wednesday.

Using their findings as guidelines, Co said the project aims to make schools, learners and personnel become resilient and safe from the impact of calamities and other hazards.

The project, in collaboration with Save the Children Philippines and Prudence Foundation, has a three-year strategic goal, which includes the institutionalization of DRRM, climate change adaptation and education in emergencies at all DepEd levels.

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain del Pascua, who was also present at the launch, said the project would enable schools to prepare for disasters, especially during typhoons when schools are used as evacuation centers.

"In DepEd, we have worked hard on mainstreaming the comprehensive school safety into the education system. Sa pamamagitan nito, maiaayos natin ang preparation sa mga bagyo kasi sa experience namin sa Typhoon Usman, hindi gaano binibigyan ng schools ng seryosong pansin ang mga (Through this, we will be able to prepare for typhoons because based on our Typhoon Usman experience, the schools did not pay serious attention to the) warnings," he said.

Save the Children Philippines Chief Executive Officer Alberto Jesus Muyot said learners spend an average of eight to five hours in schools during weekdays; hence, their safety and security are critical while in school.

"From 2007 to 2012 major disasters affected around 11 million school children in the Philippines, jeopardizing their right to survival and education. We want to ensure that schools not only give children access to education but also guarantee their safety and survival in times of emergencies through the project," he added.

Prudence Foundation Executive Director Marc Fancy said the project would empower the children, teachers and community to reduce their vulnerability to natural disasters and other hazards.

Save the Children Philippines is an independent group that upholds Filipino children's rights and helps them learn crucial skills to have a bright future.

Meanwhile, Prudence Foundation is the community investment arm of Prudential in Asia, which aims to make a lasting contribution to Asian societies through sustainable initiatives focused on children, education, and disaster preparedness and recovery. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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