PASIG CITY, July 27, 2018 – The Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) forged a partnership for the promotion of volunteerism, humanitarian values, and culture of safety and health through the establishment of Red Cross Youth Councils (RCYCs) in schools nationwide.
Signed on July 16 at the DepEd Bulwagan ng Karunungan, this tripartite partnership provides trainings that will equip teachers, learners, and facilitators with the necessary knowledge and skills on basic life support and first aid in every school across the country. These will better prepare them to respond in the event of disasters and emergencies to save more lives and ensure resilience.
Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said, “Aside from bolstering partnerships, we are strengthening the capacity of our schools, therefore our communities, to help minimize and efficiently respond to the impact of disasters.”
PRC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sen. Richard Gordon thanked Secretary Briones for signing the landmark agreement between the three agencies.
“The business of education includes having young people in our country involved, which is enshrined in our Constitution; to promote not only well-educated but a robust youth that is able to perform their civic duties for efficiency and development,” Gordon said.
Salient features of the program
In the agreement, the PRC has committed to provide technical assistance for activities and programs in schools involving RCYC; Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM); Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Basic Life Support and Basic First Aid, among others.
An RCYC, particularly in high schools, will be guided by a coordinator or adviser. It is desired to have at least two trained life savers and first aiders in every section. Learners will also be equipped with the necessary skills so they will be able to assess and urgently help the most vulnerable.
The Education chief said, “In response to your challenge to DepEd, Senator Gordon, that you advised us to have at least a focal entity responsible for coordinating with the Red Cross, with CHED and coordinating all our rescue activities, we have identified DRRM and the Youth Formation coordinators.”
Equally important features of this tie-up include the creation of a certification through accreditation procedure for all RCYC, which will allow the certificate holders to cascade the training on Basic Life Support and Basic First Aid to other schools.
A recognition system shall also be crafted for schools with exemplary performance in the promotion and delivery of the Red Cross humanitarian principles and services, such as advocacy on blood donation, disaster risk reduction and management, health and welfare, safety, child protection as well as participation in international humanitarian law.
This initiative is pursuant to Republic Act 10871 (An Act Requiring Basic Education Students to Undergo Age-Appropriate Basic Life Support Training); Republic Act 10821 (An Act Mandating the Provision of Emergency Relief and Protection for Children Before, During, and After Disasters and other Emergency Situation); and Republic Act 101 (An Act Strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System, Providing for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework and Institutionalizing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, Appropriating Funds Therefor and for Other Purposes).
Among other signatories of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) are DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua; DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service Director Ronilda Co; CHED Officer-in-Charge and Spokesperson Prospero de Vera III; CHED OIC Director IV Ronaldo Liveta; and PRC Secretary General and Chief Operating Officer Oscar Palabyab.