University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) were treated to an afternoon of fun and learning last Monday, February 13, as Smart Communications brought the TNT Tropang Ready to the campus for a fun learning session on the proper way of responding to natural and man-made calamities.
As we all know, major parts of Cagayan de Oro were submerged in deep floodwaters due to non-stop rains brought about by a low-pressure area (LPA). The city was placed under a state of calamity as thousands were stranded in schools, offices, and malls as floodwaters reached neck-deep levels. Hundreds of families left their homes and moved to evacuation centers. The power supply had to be interrupted to ensure the safety of residents as the rains continued. As the floodwaters subsided early dawn the next day, seven casualties were reported and over 6,000 individuals were affected in Misamis Oriental.
USTP was one of the places covered in neck-deep floodwaters. Many of its students and faculty members spent the evening inside the campus, seeking shelter in higher grounds. So the Tropang Ready visit was timely – and necessary, especially since the year has just started and the country is expecting more LPAs and tropical storms in the coming months.
The TNT Tropang Ready Disaster Preparedness Caravan is a fun way of learning about emergency risk reduction and management. Instead of the usual all-talk event, it features interactive games and booth intended to capture young audiences, particularly students. At the USTP Tropang Ready event, students had fun learning how to use the paracord (parachute cord). The paracord is a survival bracelet that serves many functions, among them are for use in a tourniquet, as a splint, as a shoe or boot lace, as a belt, as a fishing line, as a toothpick or dental floss, and as a material for stitching.
Apart from the paracord demonstration and video, there was also a program that featured an opening dance number by USTP’s very own Gintong Amihan Dance Troupe and a fun game that had participants identifying important items in an emergency kit/box. This was then followed by a lively presentation on emergency risk reduction and management. Tips on how one can prepare for and manage emergencies, as well as how to keep safe during emergency situations or when calamities strike were discussed and demonstrated via a lively presentation.
Overall, the disaster preparedness caravan thought students different safety and survival measures they can apply during calamities like earthquakes, floods, typhoons, landslides, storm surges, and tsunamis. It demonstrated not only how one can prepare for, but also how one can manage the impact of these calamities.
Smart Communications’ department head for community partnerships Mr. Darwin Flores likened the need to learn about emergency risk reduction with a surprise quiz. “Students know that they need to learn certain subjects at certain points in time, they will be given exams. But there are also surprise quizzes. The best way to prepare for surprise quizzes is to prepare ahead of time.”
The first time Smart came to Cagayan de Oro for a disaster preparedness caravan was for the “Pamilyang Ready, Pamilyang Panalo” event that was held shortly after the city was devastated by Sendong.
After going around the country for the Pamilyang Ready learning sessions, Smart decided to focus on the youth and the students, who are considered mobile members of our society. Flores revealed that the disaster preparedness program will eventually be incorporated into the school curriculum through the National Service Training Program or NSTP. “We want to utilize that mechanism in schools so that students can spread the message in their communities. Tropang Ready is just the start,” Flores added.
Smart Communications, Inc., through its value brand TNT, seeks to promote the culture of preparedness among the youth by bringing its TNT Tropang Ready Disaster Preparedness Caravan to schools nationwide. This is the latest enhancement of Smart’s disaster preparedness caravan launched in 2013 to help communities, families, and individuals in high-risk areas prepare for emergencies and disasters through engaging workshops and activities.