4Ks: Kamalayan sa Kahandaan, Katumbas ay Kaligtasan

 This is the essay that I wrote for Disaster Preparedness Month. Hope you like it.

Behind its alluring beauty and bountiful gifts it contains, Earth remains mystic and somehow violent. Since its existence, the world had its painstaking evolution due to natural events. Land mass expands and changes because of volcanic eruptions and seismic movements. Coastlines are shaped by the movements of water currents. These natural phenomena come unwanted that these bring great threats on the existence of human beings.
Ancient people were able to record how they witnessed the wrath the world can give. Casualties were tremendous that really brought fear among the survivors. Little by little, human beings learned to adjust in their environment. Adaptation is the key for the smartest creature to protect him from disastrous circumstances. He made interventions to be able to foresee the coming of the deadly typhoons and tornadoes, to measure the intensity and magnitude of earthquakes, and to minimize the effects of these natural events that causes major disasters on livelihoods especially on agriculture, infrastructures, and on survival.
The way people prepare for disasters has become advanced and systematic as they incorporate products of technology in predicting, gathering data, estimating results, and creating solutions on the hazards made by the natural occurrences. All countries have different ways in making their people alert, safe, and responsive when they are in the precarious situations.
Philippines is one of disaster prone countries in the world. Its location in the Pacific region makes it vulnerable to strong typhoons. The average of typhoons passing by our country is 18- 20 yearly that affects millions of people especially in Cagayan Valley, Bicol Region, Eastern Visayas, and some regions of Mindanao that face the world’s biggest ocean. Aside from being a passageway of typhoons, our country is included in Pacific Ring of Fire. Our country has many active volcanoes that bring ash falls and even earthquakes. Attached to the country’s quaintness is its sad fate as a disaster prone land.
Our government has been doing actions to reduce disaster risk. One of these is declaring the month of July as National Disaster Consciousness Month through Executive Order No. 137 during the administration of Former President Joseph Estrada in 1999. This Order has been empowering the national and local government units to conduct activities like the earthquake drills, simulations on evacuations and rescue operations, and creation of information about disasters that will raise awareness in disaster preparedness among people.
Through the years, the bright and passionate men and women of Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Service Administration (PAGASA) and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) have been doing their best to making the Filipinos informed on what the natural phenomena may inflict. PAGASA improves its mechanics especially on the usage of storm warning signals. On the other hand, the PHIVOLCS are rolling out precautionary measures especially on the communities near the danger zones.
Another turning point on the country’s fight against worse effects of disaster is the enactment of Republic Act No. 10121 otherwise known as "Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010" which renamed National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC). Furthermore, the Act gives power to NDRRMC create frameworks and plans to achieve the council’s objectives.
The government really works hard for the nation to be prepared on deleterious events. Local government units are exhibiting efforts on reminding the citizens on how to act during disasters. However, there are still casualties recorded every year.
There are still people who disobey pre-emptive evacuation during flash floods. Why? 
There are still people who die in accident during earthquake. Why?
There are survivors who are empty- handed that no survival kit to use while waiting for rescue or help. Why? Are we really learning from the past?
Do we have awareness on disaster preparedness? How responsive we are in withstanding disasters?
We have been witnessing the same unfortunate scenarios every year. With these scenarios, we are expected to learn something that will mitigate the effects of disaster. Yet, there is still indifference existing among us.
To embattle this indifference, the NDRRMC is working with Department of Education in integrating disaster preparedness in the curriculum. This is the reason why there are earthquake and fire drills and other simulations done at schools. Moreover, the integration makes the Senior High School learners to study Disaster Readiness and Risk Reduction.  This subject aims to the application of scientific knowledge and the solution of practical problems in a physical environment.
DepEd is expected to nurture learners who are knowledgeable about disaster preparedness. Beyond this, the learners are expected to enliven the concepts by applying what they learned in overcoming the dangers made by natural events. This will help the nation in protecting lives.
As concerned citizens, how can we protect ourselves from hazards?
We should put in our hearts and minds the value of drills and simulations. For instance, if we are asked to participate in an earthquake drill, we should do the duck, cover, hold and evacuation properly. We should act seriously so that we will panic when that time comes. We should know also how to use exits, fire extinguishers, and emergency numbers to have a better chance of survival. We should also know how to create signals like using whistle for the rescuers know that there are lives needed to be rescued.
Some of us ridicule drills and simulations. So, when the danger comes, these people are often hurt.
We should know the evacuation centers in our locality. If the LGU asks us to evacuate, we should immediately take heed on the advisory. We should be keen observers on the happenings around us. We should watch weather forecasts and listen on the advisories given by the authorities. We should not ignore the directives of concerned agencies. Procrastination has no place in emergency.
Disasters exist even in a few seconds. So, we need to be ready in leaving our houses. There must a need to have a survival kit. We should have a bag containing important documents like land title and birth certificates, food, medicines, and clothes that will be used for more than a day. We should organize ourselves to avoid losses and sickness in the evacuation site. There is a great possibility of widespread of diseases like cough, flu, and diarrhea. We should protect ourselves from getting sick.
However, all of the interventions are useless if we do not have discipline among ourselves. Typhoons have become more destructive than before because of climate change. People are now abusing the environment. There are illegal logging and improper disposal of waste that destroy forests, rivers, and seas. We should take care of our world before it is too late. We should reduce carbon emission, plant trees in the deforested areas, and clean our coastlines and rivers. These will make our places resistant from the effects of floods at the same time these will balance our climate.
We have various laws and ordinances created by the government. But, we are not obeying the said laws. Moreover, the implementations are not strict. There should be strong implementations on our laws in order for illegal activities that affect environment will be stopped.
We should work hand in hand to make our country safer and prepared. We should cooperate with the government agencies and authorities at all times. We should be responsible individuals by doing what we can do in our own ways to make our nation alert.
Our future is unpredictable. But, if we know how we value lives, we can have resilient nation that can bear all the challenges that this world may give. Every second counts and every individual is important. We should act as a nation that helps one another, protects one another.
We should not forget the events in the past. We should learn lessons from the disasters created by typhoons Yolanda and Lando. We should learn lessons from 1991 Baguio City Earthquake and Mount Pinatubo eruption. We can have a better, safer future if we practice the lessons we garnered from the past.
At the end of the day, our future is in our hands.

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