VICE President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara Duterte has pledged collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to aid victims of the magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur on December 2, 2023.
In her statement, Duterte conveyed her sympathies to those affected by the Mindanao earthquake. Emphasizing the importance of addressing the immediate needs of children and the elderly, she announced joint efforts with DOH and DSWD to provide stress debriefing for children experiencing anxiety due to the series of earthquakes in the region.
Drawing on her experiences as the former mayor of Davao in 2019, when a magnitude 6.5 earthquake impacted Davao and Cotabato, Duterte underscored the severity of the damage to several buildings, including the collapse of a renowned condominium.
She said the damage and fear caused by earthquakes and other natural disasters are challenging. Thus, she urged the need for proactive measures to ensure safety.
“Ipatuman nato ang blended learning sa mga apektadong lugar hangtod nga masiguro nga luwas na ang mga estudyante ug kawani sa DepEd (We should always prepare for our safety. We will implement blended learning for all affected areas until we can guarantee the safety of DepEd students and staff),” Duterte said.
She reminded all principals and school heads nationwide of Department Order 53, Series of 2022, mandating unannounced earthquake and fire drills in schools.
Stressing the importance of preparedness, she underscored that repeated drills help learners develop a presence of mind and avoid panic during emergencies.
In response to the earthquake, the city government of Davao extended the suspension of classes in all levels of public schools on December 5, 2023. This extension facilitates the continuation of the Rapid Damage Assessment of Infrastructures and Facilities through Proclamation No. 8, Series of 2023, signed by Acting City Mayor Melchor B. Quitain.
Likewise, Surigao del Sur Provincial Governor Alexander T. Pimentel issued Executive Order No. 38, Series 2023, extending the suspension of work in government and private offices, as well as classes in all levels of both private and public schools in the province from December 5 to 6, 2023. RGP