With the possibility of a major earthquake, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) held a mock earthquake drill in the Haven for Children in Muntinlupa City, National Capital Region (NCR), on Friday (May 26) as part of its objective to strengthen disaster mitigation and prevention measures in its residential care facilities.
DSWD Disaster Response and Management Group Undersecretary Diana Rose Cajipe, together with Special Assistant to the Secretary Maria Isabel B. Lanada, monitored the drill participated in by the staff and 65 children-residents of the Haven.
The Haven for Children is a residential care facility of the DSWD which caters to street children, 7-13 years old, who are recovering from substance abuse.
The DRMG undersecretary stressed the importance of the activity, especially on preparing before the occurrence of an earthquake. She added that the drill aims to check current preparations and make improvements as needed.
DSWD CALABARZON Field Office (FO) Director Barry R. Chua, Assistant Regional Director for Administration Alkent Bacolod, CALABARZON FO Officer-in-Charge for Disaster Response and Management Division Marlene Adante, as well as FO center heads and social workers also came to the center to observe.
Undersecretary Cajipe also expressed her gratitude to the DSWD FO-NCR and the Haven for the Elderly for conducting the mock drill. She noted the importance of having sincere interest in doing the preparations and not just mere compliance to the drill.
Simulating a 7.2 earthquake
At the strike of 9 am, the Haven for Children showcased their preparations as the staff and the residents played out their roles upon hearing the loud sound signaling the start of the earthquake.
Children in the cottages followed the duck, cover and hold principle and waited for the “earthquake” to stop before lining out in an organized but swift manner.
The children also showed their skills in basic rescue and first aid, as the earthquake drill featured saving an injured child, while the staff closely monitored them.
After the simulation, Usec. Cajipe addressed the children, congratulating them on their quick actions and their show of care for one another.
“Kaya po ginagawa natin ito para sa inyo. Bawat isa sa inyong mga bata ay very important to us, ang pinakamahirap ay kung mayroong madisgrasya dahil sa malakas na lindol. Masakit sa puso namin na may mangyari sa inyo dahil lang hindi tayo nakagpaghanda (We are doing this for all of you. Every one of you is important to us, so, it would be painful for us if something bad happens to you in case of a strong earthquake, because we have not prepared),” the DRMG chief said.
“Paano tayo makapaghahanda? Makapaghahanda tayo kapag bawat isa inyo ay alam kung ano ang gagawin,” (How do we prepare? We can prepare by teaching you about what you need to do),” she added.
Usec. Cajipe also told the children to have presence of mind, to know how best to keep themselves safe and to also remember to check on others who may need their help.
Jayvie, 10, one of the residents, said: “Natuto ako na kapag may lindol, mag takip, at lumabas ng mabilis” (I learned that if there is an earthquake, I should cover my head and get out fast).
Haven for Children is just a start
The mock earthquake drill in the Haven for Children is just the start as the DSWD continues to strengthen its disaster preparedness and mitigation initiatives.
The Department will also monitor and evaluate the conduct of earthquake drills in other residential care facilities.
This is in line with the directive of Secretary Rex Gatchalian for “Buong Bansa, Handa,” so that the sectors served by the DSWD are safe during emergencies.