MANILA, May 24 (PNA) — A lawmaker has formally proposed a law mandating the regular conduct of disaster risk reduction drills in educational institutions nationwide.
“By mandating the regular annual conduct of disaster risk drills and instruction in all educational institutions, we are recognizing every child’s right to survival and protection, as well as to education and protection,” Rep. Rolando G. Andaya Jr. (1st District, Camarines Sur) declared.
Andaya is author of House Bill No. 5722 which mandates regular disaster risk reduction drills in all educational institutions. HB 5722 has been referred to the Committee on National Defense for consideration and action.
“The Philippines’ location along the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator makes it prone to natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. It is therefor of paramount concern to equip our children with necessary skills that can save their lives,” Andaya stressed.
He explained that educating children with safety measures in the event of natural and man-made disasters through awareness and participatory learning promotes a culture of safety and resilience.
“We are also strengthening the response preparedness of our learning institutions,” the author added, noting current reports of possible strong earthquakes that may originate from the East and West Valley Fault Systems.
As provided by HB 5722, risk reduction drills shall be held annually in all educational institutions throughout the country in coordination with the schools’ respective local government units.
The drills shall include practice and instruction concerning the location, use and operation of emergency exits, fire exits, extinguishers and other facilities provided for such purpose in buildings, as well as the proper evacuation of persons from buildings in the event of fires, earthquakes and other hazardous phenomena, Andaya said.
“The drills shall include complete evacuation of all persons from buildings, if necessary. Teachers and personnel shall be trained in assisting students in the evacuation of a building in times of disasters,” he said.
Likewise, reports of all risk reduction drills shall be filed with the respective Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) of each region, giving the time and date of each drill held, the author added.
The bill also provides that “any officer or employee of the educational institution, who refuses or fails to carry out the provisions of the proposed Act shall be given a warning for the first offense, a fine of PhP 10,000 for the second offense; a fine of PhP 50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month, but not more than six months, or both, at the discretion of the court, for the third offense.
The Department of Education (DepEd) and its regional and district offices, in coordination with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) and the DILG, shall ensure the implementation of the proposed Act. (PNA)