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The Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Information System (DRRMIS), an effective information management and communication system that will improve the safety measures of all schools in the country, was officially launched by the Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines.

“DepEd is committed to ensuring the safety and protection of our learners, staff and schools. The DRRMIS will help build a resilient education sector through timely and accurate data collection and decision-making,” said Alain Del Pascua, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration.

The Education Safe from Disasters (Comprehensive School Safety Ecosystems) program, which was developed in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, was the origin of the DRRMIS. To reduce the number of school days these students have missed due to the effects of hazardous events, it seeks to change national systems, build capacity and empower children. As part of the information system, the program has created three applications for disaster preparedness and response. These are RADaR, SWApp and CSS.

The Rapid Damage Assessment Report is the first application (RADaR). Within the first 72 hours of a disaster, this school-level reporting tool quickly provides information on school needs and damage. Since the Ministry launched the RADaR application in September 2020, eleven hazardous occurrences have included it. A student-led hazard mapping checklist called the School Watching Application (SWApp) aims to increase students’ awareness of risks in and around their schools.

Finally, schools can assess their compliance with the CSS framework when implementing safety programs using the Comprehensive School Safety (CSS) Monitoring Tool. The app provided online training and materials for DepEd officials and schools to better understand the apps and the system.

The initiative was launched in 20 School Divisions in Region 3 by the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) and the Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) of DepEd (Central Luzon) . The DRRMIS, now in its third year, is ready for a phased nationwide rollout.

The creation of this revolutionary DRR information management system will help ensure accurate, timely and consistent data collection, leading to better strategies and programs to protect children from all harms.

Non-governmental organizations have provided the DRRMIS with various technological tools to support its use. Several televisions, laptops, desktops and tablets were among them. The DRRMS central office, the pilot schools in region 3 and the school disaster risk reduction coordinators in region 5 were the recipients of these mechanisms.

Across the 17 regions of the Philippines, more than 21,000 schools have implemented RADaR and more than 20 million children will ultimately benefit from the program, which aims to cover all 47,000 schools in the country. These initiatives support DepEd’s mission to create “Public Schools of the Future: Safe Schools”.

Meanwhile, to support the promotion of financial literacy among secondary school teachers and students, the DepEd recently introduced the “DiskarTech-Aralin sa Madiskarteng Pananalapi” in collaboration with a local bank.

The initiative supports DepEd Order No. 22, s. 2021, titled Financial Education Policy, and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) National Strategy for Financial Inclusion, which is in line with DepEd’s initiatives to integrate financial education into the kindergarten basic education curriculum in 12th grade.

The initiative is the first and only super taglish inclusion app and mobile neighborhood ATM device in the country, and it supports withdrawals from all ATM, prepaid and debit cards.

The concepts “Alkansya” (savings), “Paluwagan” (loans), “Seguro” (insurance) and “Bayad” are all digitized through the DiskarTech (payments) program. By giving students the opportunity to experience financial education milestones through the program, he hopes to encourage money management habits in instructors and parents.

Casey J. Nelson