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University of Baguio is #TropangReady

Last month, we went to the University of Baguio for another leg of TNT's Tropang Ready Disaster Preparedness caravan. This activity is designed for college and university students across the country, especially those living in vulnerable communities. As part of its #SafePH advocacy, Smart through TNT aims to empower young people to lead their classes, homes and communities in making sure they are more prepared for emergencies and they can survive natural calamities.

Baguio was one of the worst-hit places during the 1990 Luzon earthquake. The student attendees were not born yet during that time, but they were reminded of how a few seconds of earthquake can paralyze and isolate the whole city, and take a number of lives.

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries in the whole world. But as what they say, we should not let our "experience" with these disasters go to waste. We must always learn from these incidents, and make preparedness second nature to us. Disaster preparedness and safety should be everyone's responsibility.

For these messages to resonate well with the young crowd, the training sessions were done alongside fun games, contests and activities that they can participate in. Unlike other sessions on survival and safety, the students were given easy and practical steps on preparedness, like assembling survival kits from objects that are readily available at home and in the community.

Of course the training did not end that day. Preparedness is an ongoing and perpetual process, and the students were encouraged to pass on what they learned to their families and to their communities (through their CWTS courses for example). Smart's partner Emergency Management Center also trained the LGU's emergency response unit on basic fire management and first aid.

TNT Tropang Ready caravan, which is also supported by the Office of Civil Defense-National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council and GetReadyPinas, has toured several schools nationwide - Batangas State University, Bulacan State University, University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (Cagayan De Oro), Southern Leyte State University and Isabela State University. It is set to visit more schools soon, to help spread and build the culture of preparedness in more communities, and to use the power of the youth to make the Philippines, one of the world's most disaster-prone, also the most-prepared.