August 16, 2021 – The Department of Education (DepEd) held a webinar on participatory governance and youth participation in Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) titled ‘Young Leaders Taking Up Space in Disaster Preparedness’ on July 30, 2021.

Spearheaded by DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), in partnership with Save the Children Philippines, and through the support of the Youth Formation (YFD) and the Public Affairs Service (PAS), the webinar advocated for an increase in awareness and participation of learners in ensuring disaster preparedness in communities as part of the National Disaster Resilience Month (NDRM) celebration.

“Realizing that children are most vulnerable during disasters, it is the Department’s responsibility to strengthen their participation in disaster management decisions. Their involvement can ensure the realization of other rights enshrined by the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child, including the right to safety, survival, protection from violence and harm, adequate health care, and education, all of which are compromised in the event of a disaster,” Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones said.

With the theme, “Tamang Pamamahala’t Kahandaan, Kaalaman, at Pagtutulungan sa Sakuna at Pandemya’y Kalasag ng Bayan”, this year’s NDRM celebration emphasized the important role of disaster risk governance and the collaboration of all Filipinos to overcome this pandemic’s challenges and build a green and resilient normal.

“Through the collective efforts of key stakeholders, the government has developed holistic plans that outline the collaboration and complementation of programs and resources. The role and participation of learners, particularly student leaders, is extremely important in school planning and decision-making in school-based disaster preparedness and response measures,” Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del B. Pascua said.

Following the launch of DRRMS jingle ‘Laging Handa’ and official mascot ‘Ready Kid’ in the previous years, the celebration also highlighted the introduction and soft launching of ‘The Adventures of Ready Kid’, a Disaster Preparedness Game web app, and the ‘Edutainment Episodes on Disaster Preparedness’ to help raise awareness on disaster preparedness and to bring the DRRM advocacy closer to the learners.

Inclined with the implementation of other countries in Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience using the Sendai Framework, DRRMS Director Ronilda Co highlighted that strengthening disaster risk governance is a second priority for action in this framework.

“Tinitingnan natin dito kung tayo ay mayroong malinaw na vision, mga plano, competence, guidance, coordination at participation. Para pagtulungan ang ating paghahanda at pati na rin ang pag-ensure ng ating safety and protection from different hazards at sa nararanasan natin ngayon na pandemya,” Director Co said.