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Smart boosts Catarman ‘BECs’

PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications recently conducted an emergency response training for members of the clergy and religious congregations under the Diocese of Catarman.

The activity, held at the St. John Paul II Seminary in Mondragon, Northern Samar, is part of the ongoing #SafePH series of disaster preparedness trainings spearheaded by Smart to help build the capacity of communities during calamities.

Members of the clergy and religious congregations in the Diocese of Catarman listen during the disaster preparedness training conducted by Smart at St. John Paul II Seminary in Mondragon, Northern Samar.

Louie Domingo of Emergency Management Center taught the participants what to do during emergencies, how to apply first aid, and what to put in their emergency kits or “e-Balde.” Cedric Daep, for his part, shared lessons on weather hazards and how to create project proposals for disaster mitigation in their communities.

Daep is the head of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, the first disaster risk management office under a local government unit in Asia.

“We endorse this training to our priests, and we hope to share the learnings to our parishes, the lay people, and our BECs [basic ecclesial communities]. The priests will appreciate learning how to assist during calamities, with the help of communications,” said Catarman Bishop Emmanuel Trance.

“Communication is very important during disasters. During Typhoon ‘Nona’—the strongest one to hit us in 2015—some areas lost signal. We had to drive to the mountainous areas to be able to contact people. That’s why we recognize the importance of being connected,” Trance added. 

“We’re looking forward to extending this training to our partners on the ground—the responders, the people in the community—so that everyone will have knowledge on disaster preparedness and response,” said Rev. Fr. Fred I. Placa, diocesan pastoral office director.

“Climate change and calamities seem to be the new normal, that’s why we really need to prepare. The Church used to be focused only on its own affairs, but now it is more involved in disaster preparedness, climate change mitigation and caring for environment,” Placa added. 

“The Church is very much involved in disaster preparedness in communities, leading in the distribution of relief assistance and serving as evacuation centers to affected residents. Through this training, we aim to help the Diocese of Catarman manage the impact of calamities,” said Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart public affairs head.

The Diocese of Catarman covers the whole Northern Samar province, which has a land area of 3,499 kilometers and is made up of 570 barangays in 24 towns.

As part of its #SafePH advocacy, Smart promotes the culture of preparedness in communities with the help of technology. 

It has initiated mobile solutions such as the Emergency Cell Broadcast System and the Batingaw emergency app together with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council; and community caravans for the youth, families, and members of the Church, in the company’s efforts toward resilience.

Topics: PLDT , Smart Communications , Diocese of Catarman , #SafePH , disaster preparedness trainings
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