Youth Solon Wants Typhoon, Storm Surge Drills Integrated in School Curricula

Article excerpt

In the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda, Kabataan Partylist Representative Terry Ridon has called on Congress to study the possibility of integrating disaster risk reduction education in the countrys school curricula, with a particular focus on conducting typhoon and storm surge response drills for schools in coastal communities. Ridon filed on Nov. 20 House Resolution (HR) No. 523, which directs the House Committees on Basic Education, Higher, and Technical Education, and National Defense to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation, for the said curricular reform. In the light of recent disasters and floods, HR 523 also urges the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to require all educational institutions under their jurisdiction to hold flood and typhoon response drills on a regular basis, with a particular focus on the creation and integration of storm surge response drills for schools located in coastal communities. Disaster preparedness drills should not only be done once in a blue moon. These essential life-saving drills should be integrated in the curriculum, and should be done as often as possible, Ridon said. The youth legislator also noted that the onslaught of typhoon Yolanda last Nov. 8 and 9 caused massive flooding and storm surges that reached as high as seven meters or 21 feet in dozens of coastal towns and cities, leaving in its wake extensive damage to life and property. The storm surges were the main cause of death in various coastal towns and cities ravaged by Typhoon Yolanda. While the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) states that all necessary public warnings were issued before Yolanda entered the Philippine Area of Responsibility, PAGASA officials admitted that government instrumentalities failed to explain to the public the magnitude of storm surges, thus resulting to higher casualties, he pointed out. While students are taught how to respond to earthquakes and fires, he said that they still lacked the essential skills needed to survive typhoons, especially storm surges. Casualties in such disasters can be avoided if our students, especially those living in coastal communities, know exactly how they should respond to storm surge warnings, Ridon added. …