By Lorena Osorio (Class 2021); photos by Iya de Claro (Class 2023)
Competing teams, DTTBs, representatives from the Limasawa and Sabtang municipalities, and organizers of Code Yellow.
Last June 2, 2018, the UP Medical Students’ Society (UP MSS) held Code Yellow, a collaborative and intersectoral disaster risk reduction and management case competition.
Themed United Front, the competition was the first of its kind in UP Manila for assembling students from all colleges and universities to formulate hazard and disaster management plans for real-life municipalities in the Philippines.
Held in the College of Allied Medical Professions Audio-Visual Room, the event was hosted by Pia Arevalo (Class 2021) and Lordom Grecia (Class 2021).
After the singing of the National Anthem and an invocation, event head Sean Cua (Class 2021) welcomed the participants, speakers, judges, and guests.
The morning session consisted of two talks on perspectives and roles of different fields in disaster risk reduction and management. Ms. Neyzielle Ronnicque R. Cadiz came first with her presentation entitled “Media and disasters: the role of mass communication and the media in disaster risk reduction and management”. She is currently Information Officer III and Research Specialist II from the UP Resilience Institute NOAH Center.
Cadiz began with a situationer on how disaster risk in the country is determined by both natural hazards and the country’s state of development, and then a brief history of Project NOAH. Next, she discussed the importance of the media as information bearers, translators, and disseminators for disaster risk reduction and management as part of emergency response preparedness. Next, she detailed on some challenges in media reporting and issues in intersectoral communication. Finally, she emphasized that more than the government and the media, the individual should also always be ready by identifying hazards in their area and being prepared for disaster risks.
The second speaker, Mr. Benigno C. Balgos, is currently a consultant on disaster risk reduction-related projects of the United Nations Development Programme, World Food Programme, Save the Children, Plan International, and the Philippine Red Cross.
Balgos discussed his research on disaster risk reduction and management in education in his presentation entitled “Capacity development of teachers for psychosocial intervention: post-Haiyan experience”. He emphasized the importance of research as key to providing development intervention to people affected by disaster, and collaboration among stakeholders. He discussed the application of the Module on Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Education for Sustainable Development (CCESD) in various primary and secondary schools in Tacloban, Leyte. He recommended that the training programme be expanded and individualized to other schools damaged by typhoon Haiyan.
A question-and-answer session came after the talks, followed by awarding of certificates and tokens for the speakers. A breakout and lunch session followed, allowing the participant groups to further discuss their management of the cases.
Speakers Neyzielle Cadiz and Benigno Balgos with hosts Pia Arevalo and Lordom Grecia and project head Sean Cua.
The afternoon session began with an overview of the two municipalities by the respective Doctors-to-the-Barrios (DTTBs) and involved professionals and government officials. Dr. Noel Bernardo led the situationer for Sabtang, Batanes. He was followed by Engr. Irving Halago, enironmental, materials, and plumbing engineer for Sabtang; and Mr. Marx Isrhael Castro, incumbent disaster risk reduction and management officer of Sabtang. Dr. Jessa Mae Rosete then presented the overview for Limasawa, Southern Leyte.
The competition proper commenced, with three teams for each municipality discussing their 20-minute presentations on their management strategies. Presentations focused on a short introduction to the case, identification of hazards and problem tree formation, proposed plans of action, and budgeting.
The teams’ strategies spanned different fields such as medicine, psychology, mass communication, business and entrepreneurship, tourism, policy-making, architecture, and engineering, among others. The wide-ranging educational and experiential backgrounds of the participants made for presentations that cut across and integrated the different sectors in the communities.
Five minutes were allotted after each of the presentations to answer questions from the judges and the audience.
Afterwards, the DTTBs returned to the stage to react to the presentations. Dr. Bernardo commended the presentations and shared that while the strategies were a monumental step in the right direction, it is also important that the ones formulating these strategies also fully know the situation in the municipalities, and as much as possible visit these communities. “We should not only provide armchair solutions,” he says.
Dr. Rosete also congratulated the presenters, and added that their management plans definitely provided new insight that could benefit not only Limasawa and Sabtang, but other communities as well. She emphasized that preparedness is the most important aspect of disaster management, and was appreciative of the different teams’ efforts to that goal.
MSS President Regiel Mag-usara (Class 2020) followed with closing remarks. He thanked the participants and representatives from the municipalities for Code Yellow, which he called “a huge step forward towards intersectoral and interprofessional collaboration”. He went on to say that being the first of its kind, this year’s Code Yellow was only the beginning of more holistic and integrative disaster management case competitions in the future.
Certificates and tokens were given to the DTTBs, judges, and esteemed guests.
Winners were then announced. The team of Nicole Uy (College of Nursing, UPM), Abbeygail Abella (College of Allied Medical Professions, UPM), Eunice Gerona (College of Allied Medical Professions, UPM), Paolo Bartolo (College of Engineering, UPD), Kimberly Salamatin (College of Development Communication, UPLB), Ellora Narida (College of Architecture), and Janelle Lao (College of Arts and Sciences, UPM) won for the Limasawa case.
The team of Denver Rancap (College of Nursing, UPM), Gabrielle de Ocampo (College of Public Health, UPM), Hanna Cayabyab (College of Public Health, UPM), Precious Manalo (College of Arts and Sciences, UPM), Jamie Tuisieng (Virata School of Business, UPD), Ricardo Alindayu II (College of Engineering, UPD), Jhenica Tan (College of Arts and Sciences, UPM), and Marion Ordillano (College of Engineering, UPD) won for the Sabtang case.
Winners for the Limasawa Case, with project head Sean Cua, DTTB Dr. Jessa Mae Rosete, and MSS President Regiel Mag-usara.
Winners for the Sabtang Case, with project head Sean Cua, MSS President Regiel Mag-usara, DTTB Dr. Noel Bernardo, and government officials and disaster risk reduction and management representatives of the municipality.
Winning teams received Php 10,000 each. Winners for the Sabtang case were also invited to free lodging and a tour of Sabtang should they visit.