TACLOBAN CITY -- A public school in a remote village in Jaro, Leyte won third place in the 2017 Gawad Kalasag Award conferred by the National Disaster and Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on Wednesday at Crowne Plaza Manila.

The recipient under the rural school category is the five-year old Bienvenido Celebre National High School (BCNHS) in Uguiao village, an upland public secondary school located more than 10 kilometers from the town center.

School head Othniel Olino said they did not expect to get the award as it was more than two months now since the validation was made by the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) for the disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) practices of their school.

Olino said that having active personnel in charge on DRRM and expanding their program to the community were among the reasons why they were recognized.

“We do not only teach our students the value of DRRM but this is also cascaded to the houses of our students. The community is also involved in our DRR drills, not only the students and teachers,” Olino said.

Active participation of school stakeholders plays an important role in achieving a better DRRM plan and its execution.

Olino added that aside from conducting drill, each house of a student in their school has an escape or evacuation plans and what-to-do list during emergencies. This escape plan drawn by the students are posted in visible places of their houses.

“This is very important for them to have their evacuation plan posted in every house because most of the time, students are in their house and they only spent eight hours in schools,” Olino said.

Olino added that DRRM is also integrated in all subjects taught in the class.

During calamities, their DRRM coordinator updates the OCD on the status of their school whether the school suffers damages or not.

“This calamity or disaster is not only limited to natural but also man-made,” Olino told the Philippine News Agency.

The school also regularly conducts drills supported by the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police and Bureau of Fire Protection. Uniformed personnel teach their students life saving techniques or first aid and responding in disaster. They were also given stretchers and two-way radio for emergency use.

Although BCNHS received the award in his term, Olino said that he doesn’t want to take all the credit as the school program on DRRM was conceptualized and started to be implemented by the former school head Evangeline Mercado.

“I want to share this award to her because it was during her time that this was started, and on my part I will continue this because it gives high morale to our students and teaching staff and also glory not only to our school but to our town as well,” Olino said.

BCNHS was established 2012 with current 476 enrolled students, 16 teachers, one administrative aide and their school head.

Gawad Kalasag is the country’s premier annual awards for outstanding contribution in the fields of disaster risk reduction and management and humanitarian assistance. It is the principal mechanism by which the NDRRMC advances awareness of the best practices of DRRM and humanitarian response and action.

The awards aim to appreciate individuals, groups or institutions which have shown extraordinary courage, heroism and sacrifice in times of emergencies, be it natural or human-induced. (PNA)