We are living in the age of the New Normal when extreme weather have become the norm as a consequence of climate change.”
The same is true here in the Philippines - one of the most disaster-prone countries in the world where occurrences of great earthquakes, powerful volcanic eruptions, super typhoons and other natural and manmade hazards pose serious threat to lives, properties and livelihoods. Ondoy, Sendong, Pablo, Bohol Quake and Yolanda devastated homes and schools, took many young lives and created thousands of internally displaced children and youths.
An estimated 100 million young people, including children, are affected every year by disasters. In fact, children and youths represent more than a third of disaster victims worldwide. They are one of the most traumatized by disasters, because they have difficulties in coping with the unexpected and painful interruption into their own lives than adults.
When Super Typhoon Yolanda hit the central Philippines in November 2013, around four million people were displaced, most of them hailing from the Eastern Visayas, which was the most devastated region. Thirty (30) percent, or 1.2 million, of those affected were the youth (mostly aged 15 to 24), making them one of the vulnerable sectors in terms of disaster risk.
Worse, reports about rising numbers of child laborers and out-of-school youths (OSYs) in Yolanda affected areas highlight the urgency of giving special attention to child and youth protection in the Yolanda recovery and rehabilitation program.
We cannot stop natural hazards turbo-charged by climate change from happening; but we can prevent them from developing into disasters.”
The key is disaster risk reduction; everyone, particularly the Filipino youth, must always prepare for the worst and plan for the above normal”.
Children and youths are not just a vulnerable group, but can play vital roles in their communities before, during and after disasters.
Therefore, raising awareness of children and the youth about what disasters are, what natural hazards exist in their specific communities, and what tools are available for them to prepare and mitigate the potential impacts of disasters will build their confidence and ability in dealing with life threatening situations. When they learn and practice DRR from a young age, behavior change becomes embedded in their lives at such an early stage that it will be passed on to succeeding generations when they become adults.
As partners and champions, Filipino youths should step up for disaster risk reduction.
The Casili Project is the best example of YPF’s prevention and mitigation program.
The plight of the “tawid-ilog” school kids from CES first caught public attention last year when Darwin Flores of Smart Foundation and Marikina Watershed Initiative posted pictures of school kids and their teachers crossing the Montalban River aboard salbabidas on his Facebook page. Public awareness about CES further heightened when GMA 7 News featured the kids and teachers in series of newscasts.
Most of the 120 CES school kids and their teachers crossed rivers especially during the rainy season when rivers become raging, deep waterways if only to attend their classes in a public school that is without electricity and regular supply of water, and plagued with various education resource gaps.
In response, YPF carried out a fundraising campaign called Walk Forward Together from March 1 to July 15, 2013 to raise funds for the Casili Project for the benefit Casili Elementary School (CES).
YPF’s emergency response program has focused on the following:
education in emergencies: providing learners and teachers kits to students and teachers; conducting feeding sessions in schools; and repair of damaged school facilities (Oplan Restore Paaralan); humanitarian assistance to victims of disasters, especially children and youth in the form of distribution of food, water, medicines, hygiene kits, and nonfood items (blankets, matresses, household kits, etc.).
YPF has carried out different humanitarian assistance campaigns: Ondoy Relief Operation; Help the Children of the Storm for victims of Habagat, Pepeng, Quiel, Sendong, Pablo and other disasters; and last year, Oplan Bethlehem for Super Typhoon Yolanda victims in Estancia, Northern Iloilo.
Disaster preparedness and resilience start with the young and the youth.
In response, YPF has carried out Para Paaralan para sa Kahandaan (3PK).
Para Paaralan para sa Kahandaan (3PK) is YPF’s innovative disaster risk reduction (DRR) education program where YPF trainers teach people in barangays, schools and workplaces DRR principles, disaster risk mapping, surviving a 72-hour disaster, basic responder training, contingency planning and disaster preparedness advocacy. It employs learning by doing, interactive workshops, games, problem-solving, actual demonstration, simulation exercises, drills, the internet and the arts in explaining to ordinary people the ABCs of DRR.
The primary objective of 3PK is to empower ordinary Filipino, especially children and the youth, to become partners and champions for DRR. After every 3PK, we expect trained community members and leaders to spearhead disaster preparedness campaigns, promote DRR best practices in their localities and even organize quick reaction teams that can assist regular responders in times of emergencies and calamities.
In partnership with the DILG under the late Sec. Jesse Robredo, YPF rolled out Para Paaralan para sa Kahandaan West Valley in 2012, targeting selected most vulnerable communities and schools located near or along the West Valley Fault: Brgy. Aguho, Pateros; Pangarap Village, Caloocan City; and Brgy. Pinagsama, Taguig City.
The output of 3PK West Valley are the following:
making of barangay and school hazards and risk maps; formulation of earthquake preparedness, mitigation and contingency plans; formulation of flood preparedness, mitigation and contingency plans’ dry run of combined community and school earthquake evacuation plan, and simulation exercises of rescue of earthquake victims.
New School Building and One Chair, One Child Project in Estancia, Iloilo
The rains cannot stop Dingdong from fulfilling his commitment to the school children, parents and teachers of Estancia Central Elementary School to build a new four-classroom two-storey school building with good WASH facilities
In a simple program at Estancia Central Elementary School located at Estancia, one of the northern Iloilo towns hard hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda almost nine months ago, Dingdong unveiled the billboard marker and inspected the ongoing construction of the new four-classroom two-storey school building which is expected to be finished by October this year.
As Founding Chairman of YesPinoy Foundation (YPF), he saw the extent of damage and destruction suffered by the school during YPF’s relief operations at Estancia last November and December 2013.
Dingdong reminded the students and teachers, “Last November, we wrote ‘Bangon Estancia’ on the wall of a damage classroom to signify our commitment to build back better”. “Today, Estancia is rising from the ruins of Yolanda through our common efforts powered by spirit of bayanihan”, he stressed.
YPF successfully raised funds from its donors to finance the school building project at Estancia Central Elementary School, while its partner, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, has been managing the construction of the new school building.
Dingdong also turned over the first batch of new 3,000 school chairs to school Principal Gerry J. Tingson under the One Chair, One Child Project, a joint initiative of YPF and Lifeline Foundation.
“We, the students and our parents, commit to plant a coconut tree or any fruit-bearing tree for every school chair donated to our school by YesPinoy Foundation”, said a student to Dingdong. “By doing so, we help in the recovery of our town by providing livelihood opportunities to our parents when the trees bear fruits in the future”, the student added.
YPF gave out 150 vegetable seed packs with fertilizer and 100 coconut seedlings from the Philippine Coconut Authority and Department of Agriculture to the school during the Estancia event.
YESPINOY FOUNDATION DISASTER RISK REDUCTION PROGRAM
Disaster Risk Reduction Program
Bringing Education Closer to the Poor School
Children of Casili Elementary School, Rodriguez, Rizal
Casili Elementary School is located in the Sierra Madre
between the boundary of Rodriguez and San Mateo, Rizal.
School children and teachers of Casili Elementary School
literally risk their lives just to physically go to school everyday.
They have to walk mountain trails and cross a river
using an improvised “salbabida” or bamboo “balsa”
to attend their classes.
Donating fiberglass boat with
Yamaha outboard motor & life
jackets to ensure safety of
students & teachers in crossing
the river; distribution of solar
lamps & bulbs, school supplies
& teachers kits; teaching life-
saving & survival skills
Donation of school supplies, books & learners kits to
children & youth victims of disasters
Oplan Restore Paaralan
at Dr. Sixto Antonio Elementary School, Pasig City
Donation of new house to Gonzaga Family
at San Mateo, Rizal
Distribution of Relief Goods & Feeding Session
During Habagat-Maring 2013
is YesPinoy Foundation’s own modest way of
bringing help and hope to Yolanda victims,
particularly people living in Estancia, Iloilo whose
lives, natural environment and livelihoods have
been gravely affected by an Oil Spill which
happened at the height of the Super Typhoon.
has been an initiative of YesPinoy Foundation
led the its Founding Chairman Jose Sixto
“Dingdong” G. Dantes III, in partnership with
the Philippine Navy, FBI, GMA-7 Kapuso
Foundation, Dong’s friends from the
entertainment industry and the private sector,
local governments and agencies of Estancia
and Iloilo as well as thousands of ordinary
Filipinos and volunteers who lent a helping
hand to Yolanda victims through cash and in
kind donations over the past weeks.
Oplan Bethlehem raised a thousands of cash
donations and received tons of
relief goods consisting of food
packs and bottled water, hygiene
and house hold kits, ecobags and
medicines from donors.
Oplan Bethlehem Beneficiaries
Six big boxes of biscuits and 100
boxes of bottled mineral water
Distribution of 500 family packs
to Yolanda victims at Villamor
Airbase last November 22, 2013
Oplan Bethlehem Beneficiaries
Each sack contains 10 kgs of rice,
noodles, biscuits, coffee, milk,
toothpaste, toothbrush, soap,
shampoo, medicines, alcohol,
pail & blanket
Distribution of 1,027 sacks of
relief packs to hundreds of
families from 3 barangays at
Estancia, Iloilo last November 28,
Oplan Bethlehem Beneficiaries
Distribution of 1,507 white
ecobags & 1,476 green ecobags
at Estancia, Iloilo last December
set, dining set &
towel, placemat &
Oplan Bethlehem Beneficiaries
Distribution of 1,000 white
ecobags & boxes of mineral
water to families living at Tent
City, Estancia, Iloilo last
December 16, 2013
Distribution of 1,983 family
packs to families living in 4 cities
of Antique last December 16,
Over 27 communities
and schools in Metro
Central Luzon, Davao
and La Union
Trained more than
7,500 students, youths,
and barangay leaders
emergency drills in
mobilized over 130
agencies, CSOs, peoples