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Schools urged: Prioritize disaster preparedness in Brigada Eskwela

| by: Fides Palicte

School heads are directed to prioritize disaster preparedness with the onset of the normal rainy season and the threat of La Niña.

This, as the opening of the school year is just two weeks away, on June 13.

Cebu City Schools Division Superintendent Rhea Mar Angtud’s directions are to gather all concerned parents, teachers, non-government organizations, Philippine National Police and other stakeholders and involve them in disaster preparedness for schools.

A starting point to do this is during the Brigada Eskwela, a nationwide bayanihan of teachers, parents, students, community members, and other organizations to do minor repairs and clean-ups on their schools in preparation for the new school year.

The cleanup is not just repainting classrooms and chairs, Angtud said in a recent Kapistorya at the Cebu Provincial Government. Equally important during the Brigada Eskwela is the cleanup of waterways in the school campus to help prevent flooding during rainfall.

According to Provincial Schools Division Coordinator for Sports and Culture Nenita Jaralve, schools heads or school principals are directed to visit and supervise such areas under their jurisdiction during their respective Brigada Eskwela activities.

Jaralve added that teachers must also see to it that children are taught or reminded what to do during La Niña.

She said that not all stakeholders and partners may be able to afford giving away emergency kits to public schools in the province. It is up to families to prepare for their own school child using their own resources.

The basic readiness for schoolchildren against rains include raincoats, umbrellas and flashlights.

Preparedness for them must also come with instructions on when to cross rivers going to school or going home.

In the future, school principals may already decide to suspend classes or not, depending on the weather advisories.

To Angtud, it is expected that by the time school opens, Brigada Eskwela has helped prepared the schools for disasters.

In Cebu province, the cleanup will involve 944 elementary schools and 229 secondary schools.