Pursuing disaster preparedness always entails sustained efforts in awareness building in the areas of disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM), climate change, and environmental protection. Equally important to raising the level of awareness of the members of the community is honing skills relevant to DRRM and learning best practices on DRRM. Climate change mitigation and adaptation, and other environmental protection and preservation strategies and approaches.
It is in this context that DLSU-Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) strives to contribute, maximizing the potential of the youth. COSCA launched an online sustainability campaign from August 15-17, 2022 aimed at supporting initiatives to raise awareness among Lasallians regarding the environmental situation in the Philippines. Also, a separate campaign was held on August 19, 2022, through a webinar to help imbibe a culture of sustainability and eco-consciousness among Lasallians. COSCA, through its Student Social Formation Program’s De La Salle-Red Cross Youth, facilitated on August 5, 2022, through digital platform, its safety series campaign, highlighting fire safety among the youth.
Even as we prepare for disaster and attempt to mitigate the risks, the harsh aftermath of typhoons and the devastating impacts of fire incidents and earthquakes continue to challenge the country’s disaster management response. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake which struck the northern portion of the Philippines, particularly the highland province of Abra on July 27, 2022, displaced about 48,477 people and brought damage to approximately 24,547 houses, 177 health facilities were either damaged or destroyed and some 263 schools sustained damages with 1.157 classrooms also either destroyed or damaged (NDRRMC, 2022). DLSU, through the generous donations of the academic community, supported the De La Salle Brothers, Inc.’s Tulong Lasalyano-Kilos 4 Norte, which was able to extend support to families affected by the Abra earthquake. The approximate number of families served, numbered around 181 (based on the assumption that each family received a PHP 550.00 worth of food pack that is good for two days).
(Information and photo source: SSFP/ COSCA/Tulong Lasalyano publicity materials)
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. (2002). Philippines: abra earthquake – flash update no. 3 (as of 1 august 2022, 3 pm. local time). Situation Report. OCHA Website. Retrieved from: [https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/philippines-abra-earthquake-flash-update-no-3-1-august-2022-3pm-local-time] on October 18, 2022
Substantiating the Lasallian Core Values of Faith, Service, and Communion in Mission through Gestures of Support for Typhoon Odette Affected Families and Initiatives to Care for the Environment
On DLSU-COSCA’s Participation in the Government’s Adopt an Estero/Waterbody Program Forum
Initiatives to help rehabilitate the Estero concretize the objective of the Lasallian Environmental Sustainability and Governance (L-EnviSaGE), a component of DLSU-COSCA's Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Localization Project. The component which builds on the localization and implementation of five international SDGs focuses on the following activities: a) Awareness and capacity building of partner communities, b) Collaboration with the private and public sector, c) Support for Relevant Policies and Regulations, and d) Engagement of the DLSU community.
The regular tidying or clean-up of waterways is one of the activities outlined in the Barangay plans crafted by DLSU COSCA’s partner communities. More than the physical tidying, the clean-up activity for Estero Fort San Antonio de Abad and Estero de Maytubig is regularly undertaken by partner communities to facilitate other efforts to improve the water quality of the Estero and in the long run, raise the communities’ consciousness about caring for the environment. These activities coupled with capacity building and governance strengthening, all support the attainment of one of L-ENVISAGE’s milestones which is to restore the ecological services of Estero Fort San Antonio de Abad and Estero de Maytubig and in the long run create awareness of protecting the environment and on the intrinsic value of the Estero. These efforts of DLSU through COSCA support the call of the government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during its DENR-Environmental Management Bureau-National Capital Region’s 2022 Metro Manila Partners' Forum for its Adopt an Estero/ Waterbody Program on April 22, 2022. DLSU-COSCA is one of DENR-EMB’s partners.
The forum aimed to give partner organizations opportunities to share their good practices, innovations, experiences, and challenges that could help and inspire other partners to take on the challenge and participate in the “Adopt an Estero/ Waterbody Program.” DENR-EMB (NCR) emphasized during the partner’s forum the need to improve initiatives in partnership development to encourage more partners to participate and adopt the estero/s near their area/areas, and eventually improve program participation. According to DENR-EMB NCR, only 54 out of 273 water bodies in Metro Manila have been adopted.
The forum, likewise, highlighted the importance of tidying /cleaning up activities of water tributaries (rivers and esteros) draining water to Manila Bay for the success of rehabilitating Manila Bay. Partners were reminded that all cleanup efforts and related interventions (e.g. reducing solid waste in operations that can contribute to reducing waste in esteros and other activities) downstream will be efforts in futility if the waters that come upstream remain untidy and polluted. The government appealed during the April 2022 forum for the cooperation of concerned groups, organizations, and individuals, to help in mainstreaming the Adopt an Estero/Waterbody Program as the former cannot do the cleanup alone.
On Gestures of Support for Families Affected by Typhoon Odette
Ms. Annadel Sapugay, DLSU-COSCA’s L-ENVISAGE Development Management Specialist shared that DLSU, through the generous donations of the academic community, and with the help of De La Salle Philippines and other partners on the ground, was able to extend support to families in Bohol, Negros Occidental, Cebu, Iligan City, Siargao, Surigao, and Dinagat Islands. The approximate number of families reached around 978 (based on the assumption that each family received a PHP 550.00 worth of food pack which is good for 2 days). The call for the academic community to support and share (either relief items or money) was made based on available results of rapid damage/needs assessment and capacities assessment from partner institutions.
DLSU through COSCA extended its appreciation and gratitude to those who supported the call for cash donations for families adversely affected by Typhoon Odette. Total donations received as of the closing of the call (March 2022) for cash donations amounted to PhP 539,327.21 (amount includes the fund support from the university) (attached publicity materials on TY Odette response and available online platforms were maximized).
The De La Salle University (DLSU)-Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA), the social development arm of DLSU, and recognizing its important role in society continue to support its partner communities and those affected by disasters through partnership building and capacitating organizations that support climate change adaptation, mitigation, and protection of the environment.
The pandemic and the harsh aftermath of typhoons such as typhoons Rolly and Ulysses that struck the country in 2020 and the devastation of typhoon Odette last December 2021continue to challenge the country’s disaster management response. COSCA, through its Lasallian Environmental Sustainability and Governance (L-EnviSaGe) endeavors to pursue initiatives to extend assistance to the vulnerable sectors affected by the pandemic and other calamities, rekindling the spirit of "damayan at bayanihan" during this pandemic among students, faculty members, staff members, parents, alumni. The support for those affected by typhoons was evident in the various relief drives where they served serving as volunteers, donated goods and money, and advocated for network and partner organizations for donations, and facilitated collaborative engagements to further support other needs of disaster affected communities.
Equally recognizing its role as a resource for knowledge generation and advocacy sharing, COSCA implements capacity-building activities for people at the frontline and are directly affected by typhoons, flooding, and other calamities. These activities aim to raise awareness on the importance of disaster preparedness and in building disaster-resilient communities specified by Ms. Sapugay, COSCA's L-EnviSaGe Specialist, in one of her sharings: (a) readiness of self and family if a disaster happens, (b) ensuring the safety of self and family members, and (c) roles and contributions in the context of climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM).
On December 2021, COSCA, in collaboration with LGU-Lian, Batangas’ Municipal DRRM Office through its Officer, Mr. P. De Los Reyes, Jr. facilitated the distribution of disaster-ready bags to 141 households affected by Super Typhoon Rolly in 2020. The recipient families were from barangays (mostly coastal areas) of Lian, Batangas namely: Barangay Kapito, Balibago, Luyahan, Binubusan, Malaruhatan, Lumaniag, and Matabungkay. The initiative is one of DLSU-COSCA’s major advocacies- helping build disaster-resilient communities, made possible through the generous donation of GlobalGiving for the recovery and rehabilitation of communities affected by Super Typhoon Rolly.
Each Disaster-Ready Bag contains the following: 1 pc. 10L dry bag, 1 pc. blanket, 1 pc. first-aid kit, 1 pc. solar powered flashlight, 1 pc. battery-powered radio, 4 pcs. AA battery, 1 pc. whistle, 1 pc. 500ml tumbler, 1 pc. cutlery set, 1 bottle 250 ml alcohol, 1 pc. travel pack tissue, 3 pcs. cloth mask, 1 pc. notebook, 2 pcs. ballpen and 1 pc. short plastic envelope.
The De La Salle University - Center for Social Concern and Action continue to pursue initiatives to assist the vulnerable sectors affected by the pandemic and other calamities such as typhoon.
Rekindling the Damayan spirit through the Community Pantry
In support of De La Salle Philippine’s KADA-Uno, and through the Office of the Lasallian Mission, De La Salle University - Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) supported DLSU’s community pantry and the community pantry initiatives of its partner community-based organizations. This initiative has also been an opportunity for Lasallians to rekindle the spirit of "damayan" during this pandemic and in times of disaster. Students, faculty members, staff members, parents, alumni have shown their support for the relief drive by serving as volunteers, donating goods and money, and requesting network and partner organizations for donations.
Disaster Preparedness Activities through the Digital Platform
The pandemic enables to pursue awareness and capacity-building activities through the digital platform. The harsh aftermath of typhoons such as typhoon Ulysses that struck the country in 2020 continues to challenge the country’s disaster management response. COSCA, through its Lasallian Sustainable Development Program’s Lasallian Environmental Sustainability and Governance (L-EnviSaGe) and its Student Social Formation Program’s De La Salle-Red Cross Youth (DLS-RCY) facilitated the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management webinar, “Kaalaman, Kaagapan, at Kahandaan sa Panahon ng Bagyo” (KKK sa Bagyo) on July 31, 2021 via Zoom link and Facebook (DLSU-COSCA and DLSU RCY Page links).
The webinar which aimed to raise awareness on the typhoon season in the Philippines and provide practical and helpful tips necessary for communities to get prepared for the typhoon season was participated by members of COSCA’s partner communities such as the following: Samahan ng mga Mandaragat sa Sulok, Lian Fisherfolk Association, Inc., Women’s Love, SAGIP, Samahan ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda sa Binubusan, among others, DLSU-COSCA student volunteers and the general public (social media viewers/participants).
Invited resource speakers from the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, Ms. S. Reyes, discussed, in general, the occurrence of the typhoon season in the country, and the representative from the Philippine Red Cross, Ms. A. Balidoy, elaborated on typhoon preparedness, emergency response during a typhoon and the need for disaster-ready bags.
A panel of reactors including Ka (Filipino term for Partner) Noli Abinales, BUKLOD-TAO, one of DLSU-COSCAs’ partner organizations; Ms. N.Barmejo, a student volunteer, and Ms. R. Oquendo from the University Safety Office were invited. The forum opened the discussion of the following areas that will help encourage vulnerable sectors to ensure their safety and not solely be dependent on the government’s response during and after a disaster: Evacuation Center Bill, a proposed Bill which seeks to establish standard-based relief shelters in the country as a measure of safety especially during disasters; Disaster Reduction Management at home (instilling preparedness from the family to the community); and Preparedness as a contingency plan (as an effective measure of safety)(Info and photo source: LSDP COSCA Activity Report and community partners' reports).
The Center for Social Concern and Action (COSCA) is the social development arm of the De La Salle University. COSCA acknowledges the important role of the people in the community in terms disaster preparedness and mitigation.
DLSU-COSCA supports its partner communities through partnership building and by strengthening organizations that support climate change adaptation, mitigation, and protection of our environment.
Equally recognizing its role as a resource for knowledge generation and advocacy sharing, DLSU-COSCA implements and supports awareness building for people at the frontline and are directly affected by typhoons, flooding, and other calamities.
The pandemic only pushes DLSU-COSCA to pursue awareness and capacity-building activities through a digital platform. The presentation and sharing by Ms. Sapugay, COSCA's Lasallian Environmental Sustainability, and Governance Component Specialist, highlighted the sharing of experiences of community members and partner organizations in terms of the following: (a.) readiness of self and family if a disaster happens, (b.) ensuring the safety of self and family members, and (c.) roles and contributions in the context of climate change and Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM).
The partners' formation session also discussed the current state and trends on DRRM in the Philippines. The session provided community partners a venue to share their experiences, learnings, and re-examine the challenges in community preparedness and disaster response.
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