LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – With the aim of capacitating the elementary school heads and guidance counselors from the different public schools in Benguet Division with skills and substantial knowledge on Psychological First Aid (PFA), a 3-day division-wide training-workshop on providing psychosocial support to survivors of calamities was attended by a total of 120 participants on September 18-20 at Chrysanthemum Hall, La Trinidad.
Mary Claire Jimenez, Senior Program Education Specialist, conceptualized the said training and was first conducted in 2013 for high school principals and nurses, then to a group of selected teachers per district in 2016. It is now on its third year of implementation still in collaboration with the provincial government. “Let us not wait for disaster to engulf us before we equip ourselves with interventions like PFA that play crucial role in the process of recovery, transformation and well-being of the survivors,” Jimenez said. \
Schools, she added, are potential evacuation centers in times of calamities, therefore, the school personnel must know where, how and when to provide PFA to the evacuees especially those who had been greatly affected. Besides, PFA is not limited to survivors of calamities, it can also be applied to learners with traumatic experiences like sexual abuse, bullying, extreme physical violence, vehicular accidents including those who were recently exposed to a serious crisis event.
The training team composed of competent personalities from different sectors including Juana Banawe of the Provincial Social Welfare Office; Ofelia Padlan of Baguio City National High School; Roland Malafu of Cordillera Regional Science High School; Dr. Wilfredo Mina, retired professor of the Benguet State University; Yoshio Labi from La Trinidad MDRRM, Joven Agtani and Ursula Dalay-on from the Schools Division office of Benguet and the Alternative Learning Center-La Trinidad District, respectively. The team did not only deliver lectures but provided the participants with simulations on the conduct of PFA.
By Ursula M. Dalay-on