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Captures during the Basic First Aid & Emergency Response Training

Home to 16,000 inhabitants, Umayamnons and Higaunons predominantly reside in the Upper Pulangi District. Their primary problem is their lack of a communication system which contributes to their slow-paced development compared to other barangays located in more strategic areas. Smartphones are irrelevant in places like Upper Pulangi as cell site towers are intentionally limited in the area to avoid providing a signal to the rebels.

In 2021, Typhoon Pablo damaged vast agricultural land, ravaged houses, and damaged properties amounting to roughly 20M in the barangays within Upper Pulangi. The typhoon also left numerous people injured. The lack of communication caused heavy delays in the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office rescue operations. Road accidents, landslides, and other hydrometeorological hazards occur regularly in the area leaving the community, including its most vulnerable sectors, at risk.

As an advocate for Disaster Mitigation and Prevention, DOST-Bukidnon recently installed a communication system at Sitio Mahayag with an elevation of around 817 meters mean sea level. Generally, the project aims to enhance the communication network in the blind spot areas in the Upper Pulangi barangays of Malaybalay City and be able to engage in the four key area prevention & mitigation, disaster preparedness, disaster response, and recovery and rehabilitation for the eight barangays namely, St. Peter, Zamboanggita, Caburacanan, Busdi, Indalasa, Mapulo, Kulaman, and Silae.

The communication system includes the building of a 120-ft tower and the distribution of eight heavy-duty handheld radios for the barangay captains. There will also be training on Basic Radio Operation and Registration with the National Telecommunication Commission will also be conducted.

“Dako kayo among pasalamat sa DOST kay kinahanglan kayo ni (mga radio) para dali maka responde ang CDRRMO kung nay mga disgrasya diri sa Upper Pulangi. Dugay na kaini nga panginahanglanon ug karon nagamit na gyud namo ni. (We’re very thankful to DOST for the radios as it allows faster communication and response with CDRRMO during accidents and natural calamities. We’ve been requesting this assistance and finally it’s here. We’re already utilizing the radios in its full potential.),” St. Peter Barangay Captain, Mr. Rubencio Organiza mentioned during the recent project monitoring.

Another intervention spearheaded by DOST-Bukidnon is the provision of Basic Disaster Risk Reduction Management (DRRM) kits, Basic First Aid & Emergency Response Training, and two-way handheld radios to Casisang National High School and Managok National High School to secure the learning environment.

The DRRM kits include a trauma kit, spine board, triangular bandage, rescue helmet, and padded brand splints.

“As teachers, we also play as mothers to our students and we feel the need to know how to keep them safe and alive, even on the most basic way during disasters and accidents. We thank DOST for assisting not just the far-flung barangays but the public schools as well,” Casisang National High School Principal Ms. Arlene Gantalao said on an interview. (Nova Belle Calotes, DOST-Bukidnon)