By Ellson Quismorio
Ang Probinsyano Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong is prodding Congress to act on his resolution which calls for a full review on the compliance and implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act of 2010.
The neophyte solon made the call amid the spate of destructive earthquakes in Mindanao, and also in light of the resumption of sessions by House of Representatives Monday, November 4.
Ong observed that despite the regular earthquake and disaster management drills conducted by various local government units and commercial establishments, there are still noticeable lapses especially on evacuation procedures and emergency response protocols.
“We have been doing a lot of drills but unfortunately, when the actual disaster hits us, we still tend to panic. Even our emergency responders still have to do some adjustments on how to properly assess priorities especially during life-and-death situations on multiple locations,” he said.
Ong said that even before the multiple tremblors that hit Mindanao, he had asked the House Committee on Disaster Management through House Resolution (HR) 256 for the panel “to review the extent of disaster risk reduction and management education, especially in all schools nationwide, with the end view of producing Filipinos with adequate life-saving and disaster survival and management skills.”
Ong noted that under RA 10121, it is mandated to have a disaster risk reduction and management education in the school curricula of secondary and tertiary level of education, including the National Service Training Program (NSTP), whether private or public. This also covers formal and nonformal, technical-vocational, indigenous learning and out-of-school youth courses and programs.
But based on recent experience, the solon said disaster risk reduction and management education should now go beyond the four corners of the classroom and be inculcated among families and among communities.
“Disaster risk reduction and management education that are taught in traditional classrooms might not be adequate and does not prove sufficient to solidify the culture of discipline, awareness, preparedness, resiliency, initiative, involvement and patriotism among the youth,” Ong said.
He said that the earthquakes that shook parts of Mindanao should serve as a reminder that these events are inevitable and the only way to deal with disaster is for the public to have the basic know-how on life-saving and disaster survival and management skills.
These skills include basic life support, including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care, as also mandated by RA 10871 or the “Basic Life Support Training in Schools Act;” actual assessment and managing/mitigation of vulnerability or disaster hazards or risks at home and in school; Addressing public health, water and food concerns during emergencies; tending wounds or controlling bleeding; swimming skills and saving a drowning person; exiting a burning building and how to put out fire; what to do during earthquakes; how to carry a wounded or unconscious person; skills in logistics management and communications and other disaster adaptation and preparations.
Ong said that a review on the implementation of the country’s primary law on disaster response is very important because there might be need to fine-tune its provisions and in terms of relevance and methodology especially in the wake of the series of seismic movements in Mindanao.
“Judging from the Youtube and Facebook videos that I’ve seen, we still have a very long way to go before we can truly say that we are ready to deal with major disasters such as the earthquakes that hit Mindanao. I think that it is time for us to revisit the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act and see if we need to amend some its provisions,” he said.