With the onset of the rainy season, DepEd Cordillera directs all schools to conduct Oplan Kahandaan sa Tag-ulan until the end of June.
The regionally initiated activity reiterates the importance of increasing the preparedness and safety of school personnel and learners as well as safety of school properties, learning materials and vital school records from any possible event of hazards.
Aside from the usual conduct of school disaster response or simulation drills, the Oplan as per Regional Memorandum No. 162, series 2019, includes the orientation of all stakeholders on Executive Order 66, series 2011 and DepEd Order No. 43, series 2012 or the Guidelines on the Cancellation and Suspension of Classes during typhoons and other calamities.
The guidelines prescribe the rules on suspending or cancelling classes and work in government offices due to typhoons, flooding, other weather disturbances and calamities like automatic cancellation or suspension of classes during typhoons. The guidelines, also, enumerates the roles of the Local Government Unit (LGU), the school personnel, and parents.
“Such policy also maintains that parents have the ultimate responsibility for determining whether their children should go to school, even if no order for cancellation has been issued, if they feel that traveling to or from school will place their children at risks,” said DepEd CAR public affairs officer Georaloy I. Palao-ay.
He added that information campaigns in partnership with concerned agencies such as the Department of Health (DOH), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) may be included during the orientation.
“The schools may request other agencies to help out in educating our children and their parents about health related effects resulting from the rainy season, for example,” enthused Palao-ay.
The Regional Office, likewise, advises all schools to include in their continuing Brigada Eskwela or Brigada Plus activities such as regular declogging of gutters and drainage canals to avoid flooding, installation of warning signs in hazardous areas particularly in landslide prone areas within the school perimeter, continuous update of their Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) corners or bulletins, dengue prevention activities, and other mitigation measures.
Schools are obliged to identify a storage area for safekeeping of learning materials, vital records and equipment preferably in elevated areas and equip themselves with first aid kits, flashlights, megaphones and other necessary supplies for use in times of emergency.
“This Oplan is a reminder that schools are encouraged to involve students and their families and the communities in preparing for disasters which is already a proven effective method of raising awareness and action,” the DepEd official said.
Meanwhile, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) coordinators in the different DepEd division offices maintain open communication with school administrators for immediate coordination, reporting, and assistance.
By Geoffrey B. Palao-ay Sr.
Banner photo by: ARMANDO BOLISLIS