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Department of Education Affirms Commitment To Safe Schools, Highlights Community Participation at 3rd UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR)

15 March 2015, Sendai – The Philippine Delegation to the 3RD UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (3WCDRR) today shared with international delegates the country’s experience in keeping schools safe and preparing students for disaster risk reduction (DRR), mitigation and management through education.

Assistant Secretary Reynaldo D. Laguda of the Department of Education, who is a member of the Philippine Delegation to the 3WCDRR, informed fellow delegates in the UN conference that: “The Philippines, through the Department of Education, recognizes that schools are at the heart of our communities, therefore we commit to keep our schools safe.”

During an intergovernmental plenary session on Comprehensive School Safety, Assistant Secretary Laguda expressed DepEd’s solidarity with the global community in discussing and adopting a new framework for action on disaster risk reduction. He notes, however, that DRR must be rooted in community and fostered in schools because, “no school can be safe without the involvement of its host community and no community is safe if its schools are not safe.” In his statement, Assistant Secretary Laguda shared how DepEd now uses the Comprehensive Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction Management in Basic Education to guide school-based DRRM planning and preparation. He stressed that, “education helps achieve DRR outcomes and conversely, DRR helps achieve our education outcomes of access, quality and governance.”

Recognizing the need for inclusivity and noting the importance of community-led efforts at building resilience, DepEd stressed the need to engage with host communities in ensuring the success of projects. Infrastructure alone does not guarantee strength or safety.

In the presence of international partners, Assistant Secretary Laguda also mentioned that partnerships with different stakeholders are crucial in achieving the common goal of safer schools and resilient communities.END

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