Families under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program are now more equipped in disaster preparedness following their regular attendance to the Family Development Sessions (FDS), a monthly session where beneficiaries gather to discuss various topics on family matters.

Attendance to the monthly FDS is one of the conditionalities that beneficiaries must comply to receive their grants under the Pantawid Pamilya. The other conditionalities are sending their children to school and bringing them to health centers for medical check up. Pantawid Pamilya is a poverty reduction program being implemented by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The FDS consists of three modules, namely: Paglalatag ng Pundasyon ng Programang Pantawid Pamilya, Paghahanda at Pangangalaga ng Pamilyang Pilipino, and Partisipasyon ng Pamilyang Pilipino sa Gawaing Pang Komunidad. Disaster preparedness falls under the third module.

One of the topics discussed during FDS is disaster preparedness, which seeks to provide skills and knowledge to beneficiaries so they would know what to do before, during, and after the occurrence of natural and man-made disasters.

Two Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from Central Visayas, the Garay and the Cachero families from Can-upao, Jagna and Alejawan, Duero, Bohol, are proud of their newly acquired skills and are ready to apply these to ensure the safety of their loved ones during calamities.

In December 2014, Typhoon Queenie wreaked havoc in the Central Visayas region which damaged lives and properties, the Garay and Cachero families were among those heavily affected.

“Dili gyud namo makalimtan ang bagyong Queenie kay naguba gyud among balay ug kadtung hitabo naghatag namu og leksyon nga mangandam gayud ug mu-advice nga for evacuation, mubakwit gyud ang tibuok pamilya (We could not forget Typhoon Queenie because it totally destroyed our house and it served as a lesson for us to heed the call for pre-emptive evacuation of the whole family),” Marissa Garay narrated.

As a preparation for any disaster, the Garay family has their own Emergency Balde or E-Balde which contains important documents and basic needs of the family, which can easily be carried during an evacuation.

“Naa na sad mi Family Disaster Action Plan nga maghatag og giya kung unsay buhaton sa matag miyembro sa pamilya (We also have our own Family Disaster Action Plan that will guide each member of the family on what to do when a disaster occurs),” added Marissa.

Mary Jane Cachero is also thankful for the learnings from the FDS and the lessons she gained during the training provided by the Barangay Disaster Response Team.

“Ako pud kini gipa-ambit sa akong bana ug sa upat nakong mga anak kay importante gyud nga kabalo ang tanan kung unsay buhaton pananglitan adunay kalamidad sama sa bagyo o linog (I also shared this with my husband and four children because it is very important that everybody in the family knows what to do whenever there is a calamity like a typhoon or an earthquake),” Mary Jane stated.

Marissa and Mary Jane both agreed that preparedness is important because it mitigates the effects of any disaster.

To reinforce the importance of disaster preparedness, the DSWD also joined National Disaster Resilience Month (NDRM) this July.

Formerly called the National Disaster Consciousness Month, the celebration was renamed to NDRM through an Executive Order No. 29 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on June 28, 2017 and the observance highlights the shift from disaster awareness building to disaster resilience.

This year’s theme is “Katatagan sa Kalamidad ay Makakamtan Kapag Sapat ang Kaalaman sa Kahandaan”, which emphasizes the importance of relaying and getting the right information in the event of disasters. ###