CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, June 23, 2017 – A total of 44 public school teachers and personnel form Marawi City were among the first to receive Psychological First Aid (PFA) conducted by the Department of Education (DepEd) and its partners from June 20 – 22, 2017 at the National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) Region 10 in Cagayan de Oro City.
Reaffirming Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones’s commitment to help and assist all affected learners, teachers and other DepEd personnel in re-establishing a sense of normalcy, DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS) Director Ronilda Co emphasized, “Sa lahat po ng ating mga guro, personnel at sa ating mga mag-aaral, gusto ko pong iparating sa inyo na angDepEd sa kabuuan ay hangad ang makabubuti sa inyo… This PFA is our way of showing that we care for all of you.”
Led by the DepEd DRRMS, the series of PFA aims to help DepEd teachers and personnel who have experienced distressful and/or traumatic events in the war-torn city regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. According to Co, “We foster their well-being, to do so, we provide an avenue, a place, or space where they can express their current state, yung kanilang nararamdaman at kung paano nila dinadala ang mga nararamdaman nilang ito sa araw-araw.” “Aside from knowing and discussing their sources of strength, and helping them overcome difficulties in handling or managing their emotions, we also have a visioning of their ‘future’—how they will return in their ‘normal’ lives after this ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City ended… Sinusubukan po nating mapagdaanan ng ating mga personnel ang mga ito sa PFA in a non-intrusive way,” Co pointed out.
Co further highlighted that the PFA uses an arts-based approach, including body movement and music activities, t-shirt art creation, writing and storytelling exercises, and breathing exercises, to foster the well-being of the attendees. “We use arts-based methodologies, especially the body movement activities kasi kailangan po mag-loosen up muna yung ating mga katawan para mag-loosen up rin yung ating mga kaisipan… And we also introduce to them the deep breathing method as a way of handling yung kanilang emotions,” Co explained.
PFA for learners
Displaced Marawi learners in Iligan City, where most of them sought refuge when the armed conflict between lawless elements and the Philippine military erupted, received similar arts-based PFA to help in their normalization process. “We are also doing an arts-based approach for the children. There are a number of activities din. Sa mga bata, we are using,halimbawa, puppetry, drawings, etc.,” Co said.
Mobilization of partners
Moreover, to enable all displaced Marawi teachers and personnel undergo psychological intervention, DepEd is mobilizing its partners in the conduct of PFA. “We will do it na parang relye-relyebo. We already have more than 1,200 tracked personnel na coming from Marawi at kailangan ay maging simultaneous na yung pag-conduct natin ng PFA,” Co said. Among the partners of DepEd in the conduct of PFA are Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM), Sining Kambayoka of Mindanao State University-Marawi, Xavier University, Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). “We are with you. We journey with you in these difficult times. Sama-sama po tayo sa nangyayari sa ating bansa ngayon. Kayo mismo ang nagsasabi na ‘mararating natin yung araw, when the sun will rise again in Marawi,’ so we are in this together,” Co reminded her colleagues from the embattled city. (DepEd) | via PIA