In response to bring forth the foremost call and goal in strengthening and safeguarding the local communities from disasters of all forms, the MHAM team successfully participated the 2nd National Summit on Disaster and National Service Training Program (NSTP) Convention at the University of Southern Philippines, Lahug, Cebu City last April 11 to 13, 2018.
Actively participated by school heads, deans, deans of student affairs, NSTP directors and coordinators from various institutions within and outside Cebu City, the workshop was in reference to a Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum which aims to promote disaster preparedness through participation of various public and private institutions.
AVP for Administration, Mr. Francisco Bacalla; Community Extension Services Office/Campus Safety and Security Director, Mr. Jarvis Prochina; Campus Safety and Security Supervisor, Mr. Brian Pateña; School Nurse, Ms. Rita Mae Cempron; and incoming Assistant Department Chairman for Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Major in Disaster Management, Mr. Huberto Zanoria were among the trainees-turned-responders during the 3-day workshop.
Organized by the Rescue 177 Training Center team, the national summit was also designed to help in building the adaptive capacities of communities, increasing the resilience of vulnerable sectors and promoting people’s welfare and awareness to be able to respond to emergencies and disasters immediately.
Centered on introduction of Incident Command System for executive level school-based approach, campus incident and accidents management, emergency rescue management and transfer, prepared and unprepared scenarios and basic life support with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the MHAM team actively involved in high risk activities such as rappelling which is one of the means of survival in times of emergencies.
According to Ms. Rita Mae Cempron, the training will eventually help her to act quickly and competently during emergencies in the working place and to help students attain and maintain an optimum health status at all times with her skills and trainings as a nurse.
“The training aids us to be able to respond to workplace emergencies quickly and competently. In addition, an emergency response plan provides the necessary structure for managing critical incident is of vital importance to any organization”, Cempron said in an interview.
As planning, leadership and coordination play an important role to ensure a safe and secured environment, she stated that the aforementioned elements ensure quality of care and safe place of studies and employment particularly in MHAM aside from the fact that the training was strongly mandated by law to all schools and establishments.
Having been employed in MHAM since 2015, the 34-year old registered nurse further explained that planning, as an emergency response plan, is a must for all health and security personnel for them to act quickly during emergencies. To complete, she added that leadership and coordination can both enhance the quality of care among the members of the organization where leaders should strengthen their decision making capacities for emergency response.
As the only ‘lovely rose among the unbarbed thorns’ of the team, Cempron, who worked in Saudi Arabia prior to her employment as a school nurse, felt privileged and grateful for having been chosen to represent the school in the national summit, adding her skills and expertise with fourteen years of service as a registered nurse.
“I felt overwhelmed and at the same time happy. Overwhelmed, in the sense that even if I was the only lady among the team I was given the chance to represent our institution to a physical and hard core training with the fervor to become a competent emergency responder. Indeed, the training is of big help to promote the development of positive health attitudes, practices and risk free environment, to assess health status of students, to identify health problems and to develop and implement plans of action for their management”, she concluded.
While the Philippines is vulnerable to almost all types of natural hazards because of its geographic location, the collaboration of local agencies and private institutions increases the commitment of public participation as the key players for a safe environment. Relentless in its aim to promote disaster preparedness by participating necessary trainings, MHAM never fails to send its dynamic roster of administrative and support employees who value the importance of working collectively towards a resilient community.
Last year, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD-RO7) conducted an Incident Command System and Response Readiness orientation to the members of MHAM School-based Crisis Organization Responding to Emergencies and Disasters as part of the seminars to various institutions and organizations such as life saving, search and rescue trainings. It was then followed with an earthquake drill to MHAM students and employees to strengthen its continuous drive to intensify local communities’ participation for disaster preparedness campaign spearheaded by OCD Region VII in collaboration with the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (DRRMC).
In addition, the training was also a compelling need in relevance to the opening of a new degree to be offered in MHAM under the Allied Courses by the academic year 2019, the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Major in Disaster Management- the first ever in Central Visayas. Under the new degree, the integration of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) is a mainstream breadth in the curricula.
In the Philippines, the scope of the DRRM concepts and activities has been integrated in the educational curriculum, even for the young learners of today. Likewise, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Program (NDRRMC) has expanded its institutionalized program on disaster management for students under the NSTP curriculum where the aspects of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, rehabilitation and recovery are well-incorporated.
In a world where disasters are prone and inevitable, simultaneous trainings in the locality can minimize hazards and reduce risks in as much as there is really a need to be prepared in times of disaster and calamities. Indeed, it was certainly worthwhile for the MHAM team to undergo such training, not only because of the knowledge and skills they have acquired but because their passion, commitment and dedication in serving the community can become a pathway to achieve a safe and supportive environment. (Ana Liza Abao)