As part of its goal to continuously create resilient, empowered, and sustainable communities, the Aboitiz Group reached out to the teaching community, one of the sectors that bore the brunt of the pandemic, to help educate them on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz Group, partnered with City Savings Bank, Pilmico, and Aboitiz Construction to conduct DRR 101 training for public school teachers under the Department of Education (DepEd). DRR 101 is a two-day virtual training designed to strengthen the culture of preparedness and resiliency for the teachers in different regions across the country. The lecture series started last June and will run until September this year covering Regions 1, 2, 3, 4-A, 4-B, 5, and 10 and is expected to benefit 1,200 teachers. The first batch of training sessions kicked off in the Divisions of Lipa and Binan City in Region 4-A and Divisions of Calapan and Oriental Mindoro in Region 4-B where more than 90 educators and DRR coordinators participated. “As teachers and DRR coordinators, you have been given the twin responsibility of ensuring service continuity, and teaching about disaster preparedness to young people. In service continuity, just like running an organization or a business, you need to be prepared for critical service disruptions and you must be able to pursue your school’s disaster recovery plan. Moreover, it will be through you that we are able to teach the young of the value of being disaster prepared and resilient. And you do these even when you yourselves are also facing difficult moments. Kaya’t saludo po kami sa mga guro. Saludo po kami sa DepEd,” Aboitiz Foundation President and COO, Maribeth L. Marasigan said. City Savings Bank has always been actively providing substantial teacher training opportunities for the welfare of Filipino public educators. “Preparedness is a part of the effort to anticipate and manage disaster and mitigate risks and together, we hope to build disaster resilience within the DepEd community,” City Savings Bank AVP for Reputation and Brand Management Head, Paula V. Ruelan said. The teachers appreciated the initiative as they see how it would help prepare their schools for any disruption. “Napaka-helpful po ng activity na ito, parang kailangan nga po lahat ng teachers malaman ang ganitong seminar dahil kagaya ng COVID 19, hindi natin alam na maaring mangyari ang ganitong mga sakuna, mahalaga na may service continuity planning, (This activity is very helpful, all teachers need to know about this seminar. Just like in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, we didn’t have any idea that this could happen. It’s important that we do have service continuity planning," said Roxanne Nacino, a teacher from DepEd Calapan City. Aboitiz Foundation invited speakers from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS), Department of Environment and Natural Resources - Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB), Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF), and WeatherNews. The topics include volcanic eruption, earthquakes and faults from PHIVOLCS; geologic hazards such as landslides and floods from DENR-MGB; weather and tropical cyclones from WeatherNews; and public service continuity orientation from PDRF. “Public institutions are expected to be the last ones standing, especially during times of crises. Having a well-supported and properly developed public service continuity plan ensures the Filipino people that critical and frontline services will always be accessible. The collaboration between PDRF and Aboitiz Group has been beneficial to promote resiliency in the country, " PDRF Business Continuity Program Officer Abigail Guiang said. Meantime, Pilmico Foods Corporate Social Responsibility Supervisor Katrina Angelie Bayog-Mercado shared tips on Food Safety while Aboitiz Construction Safety Manager Kishler Pascual shared several School Safety Emergency Tips. “While we are cultivating the safety culture across all project sites of Aboitiz Construction, we also find it valuable to impart our knowledge about safety to our teachers who are taking care of school infrastructures. Our participation in the DRR 101 training is in line with our commitment to help in building a better future for many communities,” Pascual said. In light of the recent Taal volcano eruption, Aboitiz Construction recently conducted a Disaster Preparedness Capacity Building for the barangay officials of Brgy. Bagongpook in Lipa City in partnership with the Lipa City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (LDRRMO). It also donated personal protective equipment and two welding machines to help fortify a steel bridge in the area. In 2015, the Aboitiz Group through WeatherPhilippines partnered with City Savings Bank to strengthen DepEd’s disaster resilience by helping transform schools into #WeatherWiser communities. This means that the communities can optimize their weather knowledge and prepare people before and during extreme weather events. To date, we have trained a total of 5,264 DepEd educators and DRR coordinators across the nation through Weather101 and DRRM 101. This initiative has benefited close to 5,300 teachers from 73 Divisions in 16 Regions.