May 27, 2020 – The Department of Education (DepEd) launched DRRMS Booklatan in order to protect mental health and child protection of elementary learners amid the public health situation.

DRRMS Booklatan, which is held every Tuesday from 4:00 PM-5:30 PM, is a story telling session that showcases narratives on the rights of children, risks of abuse, and what they can do to protect themselves while they are staying at home due to the community quarantine.

DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) Director Ronilda Co explained the importance of story telling and its significance as a tool in teaching learners on how to go about situations that confront them.

The initiative is also a part of the Department’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) initiatives for elementary learners.

During the pilot episode of Online Kwentuhan: DRRMS Booklatan last May 18, Professor Genaro Gojo Cruz told his story of “At Nabuhay ang mga Magagandang Salita, which tackled on the positive impact of good and comforting words to the overall wellbeing and development of children.

The story highlighted how the parents of Q and Sevy, the two children in the story, used words to instill the values of respect, gratitude and care to their children while in community quarantine brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. It shows that positive words such as “Salamat po”, “Mahal kita”, “Mag-ingat ka”, and Good night” from their parents lead to developing their self-confidence, good manners and values.

Before the story telling session, a brief discussion on the Convention on the Rights of the Child was given by Ms. Faye Balanon, Child Protection Officer from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The discussion gave emphasis on the four categories of Children’s Rights: Development, Survival, Participation and Protection.

In its technical note on the Protection of the Child during the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF, through the Alliance for Child Protection in Humanitarian Action, recognized that infectious diseases like COVID-19 can disrupt the environments in which children grow and develop. These disruptions can have negative impacts to their well-being, development and protection.

To wrap up the learnings from the featured story, a reflection session was led by Mr. Dan Paolo Yema, Psychologist and Assistant Professor from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos.

This online learning activity was made possible by DepEd through the DRRMS in collaboration with the Office of the Undersecretary for Legal Affairs (OULA), and Youth Formation Division (BLSS-YFD).

Elementary learners guided by their parents and teachers, from both public and private schools, were invited to watch the livestream of the webinar through the DepEd Philippines Facebook page.