By RAMON BALAN-EG
BONTOC, Mountain Province — The Philippine Red Cross-Mountain Province Chapter, through its OIC Administrator Veronica T. Tactay, and the Local Government Unit of Paracelis, Mountain Province, through its Mayor Avelino C. Amangyen, entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of School-Based Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Program.
The MOA was signed on July 18 at the Paracelis Town Hall with Robert L. Pangod, PRC Volunteer Project Consultant, and Buringal Barangay Captain Gongcakic, as witnesses, in the presence of Vice Mayor Lorenzo Carpio, members of the Sangguniang Bayan, school heads, teachers, and barangay officials.
The Wash-DRR Program is a 3-year project with the objective to reduce vulnerability of school children to disaster and health risks. Initially, it will be implemented in Bagabag Primary School and Catao Elementary School, both located in Barangay Buringal, which are considered as the most vulnerable schools under DepEd’s District of Paracelis.
Veronica T. Tactay, OIC Administrator of PRC-Mountain Province, said that Program activities will focus on improving hygiene practices among school children, increasing the capacity of parents, students and school personnel to manage WASH programs, and enabling school personnel, students, and parents to respond and mitigate the impact of disasters.
Tactay stated that the PRC will construct sanitary toilets, hand washing facilities and water systems to develop proper hygiene behavior and provide first aid kits and small-scale mitigation to enhance the school’s capacity to respond in times of emergency or disaster. “Teachers and parents will also undergo training on PRC Community Health and Sanitation Transformation, school-based Disaster Risk Reduction Management, and Red Cross Youth Leadership before taking sole responsibility of the program in June 2018”, she added.
Mayor Avelino C. Amangyen said that the LGU will fully abide with the stipulations as provided for in the MOA even as he exhorted the barangay stakeholders to do the same.
The MOA entails the LGU to designate a focal person to work directly with PRC, allow the utilization of municipal facilities for project use, participate in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of WASH infrastructures, and support PRC activities such as mass blood donation, community health and membership drive.
The WASH-DRR Program is one of the key emerging programs of the Philippine Red Cross in partnership with the Australian Red Cross. It has significantly evolved and broadened since its inception in 2012 to include hygiene promotion, disaster risk reduction, Red Cross Youth engagement and infrastructure investment to reduce the vulnerabilities of health and disaster risks. # nordis.net