By Leandro Feliciano Salazar (Class 2022)
Last March 10-11, 2018, the Regionalization Students’ Organization (RSO) held the Philippine Conference on Community Health (PCCH) 2018, themed “Agap: Addressing Community Health Issues in States of Emergencies and Disasters”.
Attendees from all over the Philippines converged in the Buenafe Auditorium of the UP College of Medicine for the two-day affair.
The first day of the conference began with the keynote address by RSO adviser Dr. Abdel Jeffri Abdulla.
The first plenary lecture, delivered by Ms. Shelby A. Ruiz of the Office of Civil Defense on National Disaster Management Protocols, expounded on the Philippine Risk Profile for disasters and the strategies that the National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) employs to fulfill its functions.
Dr. Ronald P. Law, the Division Chief of the Health Emergency Management Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) gave the second talk on the role of DOH in disaster response, and of community health professionals and medical students in the context of the DOH response.
The third plenary lecture was on the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, given by Dr. Gerardo P. Medina, a Technical Officer of WHO. It delved on the specific roles of WHO in disaster management in the Philippines.
National and international aid was the topic of the next talk, given by Dr. Joel H. Buenaventura, Chief Health Program Officer of the Bureau of International Health Corporation of DOH. He elaborated on how international and local agencies work together to make relief aid reach the country.
The participants were then asked to prepare a presentation about the disaster risk reduction and management strategies in their local communities. The presentation of the assessments was facilitated by Dr. Mahar Francisco A. Lagmay, Director of Project NOAH.
Finally, a special topic on historic large-scale disasters of the country and goals of disaster risk reduction management was discussed by Dr. Renato U. Solidum Jr., Officer-in-Charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS).
The day and the conference was capped off by the socials night, “BAILE: Masskara Festival”, held at the Malate Bayview Mansion. Performers of the night included Phi Band and RSO Band.
The first day was hosted by Maria Victoria Cu (Class 2020) and Arvin Dominic Agner (Class 2020). The second day was hosted by Roy Luister Acos (Class 2020) and Switzale Pidlaoan (Class 2021).
The second day began with the presentation of the participants on their Disaster Management Plan which was facilitated by Dr. Teofredo T. Esguerra, the Head of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Unit of Energy Development Corporation.
It was followed by a discussion on the Disaster Management in Communities by Mr. Benny Bosang of Doctors without Borders, Dr. Abdulhalik M. Kasim of DOH-ARMM, and Dr. Geohari L. Hamoy of the UP College of Medicine. It expounded on the principles and ideologies behind community-based disaster management and the situation of community-based programs in the country.
The integration plenary on the Importance of National Development on Effective Disaster Management was given by Dr. Manuel Miguel C. Dorotan, Consultant for Public Health Emergency and Disaster Management, Health Systems Research, International Public Health, Program Management. The plenary highlighted the benefits of integrating disaster management plans to a country’s policies, plans, and protocol. He also tackled the issues on sustainability of disaster management projects in the context of national development. Some people were then asked to synthesize their learnings through a board game.
The conference ended with a ceremonial pledge to encourage participants to commit to enacting their plans for disaster management in their local communities.
Photos courtesy of the PCCH Publicity Committee