Issue of March 11, 2018
     
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Benguet
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Benguet advocates disability–inclusive disaster management
by Zaldy de Guzman and Lyndon Ali

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and their representatives underwent a Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) training course on March 6.

The one-day course was conducted by the Office of Civil Defense-Cordillera in partnership with the Provincial DRRM Office and the Department of Education - Benguet, together with some local DRRM officers.

Guadaliva Panitio, OCD-CAR training chief, said that the agency’s national DRRM education and training program designed the course for basic sectors, including the PWDs.

“Our primary objective is to increase the DRRM awareness of the communities and strengthen their capacities. We are considering this initiative as the foundation to achieving community resiliency,” Panitio said.

Participants from Buguias, Bokod, Atok, Kabayan, La Trinidad, Tuba, Tublay, Mankayan, and Itogon, all in Benguet, were given tips on disaster prevention and mitigation, and emergency preparedness that are disability-inclusive.

Aside from gaining knowledge on the basic concepts, processes, and importance of community-based DRRM, PWDs also shared their ideas and experiences when it comes to cyclones, earthquakes, and other incidents.

Edilyne Balang, one of the participants said, “We are glad that they are involving us and our relatives in this kind of endeavors. Persons with physical impairment like me are most in need of help and protection in cases of emergency.”

Formulation and use of evacuation and emergency plans especially designed for PWDs were also given importance.

“As they say, disability does not mean inability. PWDs must also be fully equipped before, during, and even after disasters. We continue to implement programs like this for us to increase community-level support and participation” said OCD Director Andrew Alex H. Uy.

Uy added that this could be one step to making DRRM efforts more accessible to PWDs. Disability-inclusive means making current DRRM activities more responsive to their needs such as necessary survival skills which include buddy system.


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