RISK REDUCTION. Department of Education Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service Director Ronilda Co shares an overview of three applications for disaster preparedness and risk reductions, launched in a hybrid conference on Monday (June 20, 2022). Co said these applications seek to help improve data interpretations and increase children's participation in disaster preparations. (Screengrab)

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday launched three digital applications that will help advance data and information gathering and analysis against disaster risks.

In a hybrid conference on Monday, the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council launched the improved apps for disaster management, in partnership with private stakeholders including Save The Children and Prudence Foundation.

Dr. Abraham Abanil of the DepEd Information and Communications Technology Service (ICTS) said the launch has been long overdue, as its function is needed, considering natural disasters in the country.

"The launching of the system is very timely as we near the end of the pandemic and return to face-to-face classes. This system will facilitate in responding to future calamities, and more importantly, preparing our schools to mitigate effects and the impact of this calamity," he said.

According to the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS), these three include the Radar application, the School Watching application, and the Comprehensive School Safety Monitoring App.

The DRRMS noted that these should be used to advance efficient data gathering and interpretation from schools and learners up to the divisions, regionals, and the central office.

"Kailangan pa nating i-strengthen ang kakayahang ito hindi lang dahil sa gine-generate nating data, but more so the analysis that we have, doon sa mga data at information na ating nakakalap (We need to strengthen this, not just because we need to generate data, but more so on the analysis that we have, to data and information that we gather)," DepEd DRRMS Director Ronilda Co said.

Co said the Radar app is not new, but they have added several questions for post-disaster reporting, with modifications for easier consolidation of data.

"Within 72 hours of the aftermath of a disaster, the schools report directly to the central office, through the Radar, SMS po 'yan noon, kaya agad po tayong (that's why we can immediately) nakaka-decide, ilang (several) temporary learning spaces, cleanup funds, teachers kits, learners kits, o kaya psychosocial interventions, emergency school feeding because of the data na nakukuha natin sa school level (that we are getting from the school level)," she said.

Besides damage reports on infrastructure and non-infrastructure school properties, the DepEd also introduced the Comprehensive School Safety Monitoring app to provide analytics on the safety protocols of schools, divisions, and regional levels. The app is also used for "mapping school plans."

Co, meanwhile, said other than disaster impact mitigation, the DepEd targets to increase learners' participation via the use of the School Watch app, which was created in 2015.

This time, however, learners may have the opportunity to be part of determining hazards and risks through the application.

"Bilang bahagi ng ating pagsulong ng children's rights, 'yung participation, ine-elevate natin, not only as a matter of consultation sa mga bata, (As part of our efforts to advance children's rights, their participation is being elevated, not only as a matter of consultation with children) but rather also the co-leading ng programs and we want to further elevate that the children will lead projects and programs that we can support," Co said.

Through these applications, the DepEd DRRMS believed in the critical role of the department to aid in efficient flow of disaster updates. (PNA)