DepEd provides psych first aid for displaced Marawi students
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) started providing psychological first aid on Wednesday, June 14, for students displaced by the conflict in Marawi City last May.
The assistance is being conducted in the receiving schools in Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, and Iligan City where most of the displaced students were enrolled.
Psychological first aid aims to reduce stress symptoms and assist in a healthy recovery following a traumatic event.
According to DepEd Director Ronilda Co of the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service, there are 4,685 elementary and high school students in 142 receiving schools recorded by the department's tracking team.
"Tracking is ongoing as the numbers of learners from Marawi who are enrolling are growing in numbers by the day," said Co.
Public elementary and high schools nationwide opened their doors to 22.89 million students on June 5. For schools in Marawi City and 8 other districts in Lanao del Sur, classes have been postponed for two weeks, at most.
Around 5,000 learners are affected by the conflict in Marawi City, the DepEd said.
According to Co, several groups are providing assistance in conducting the sessions.
Trained guidance counselors, partners from the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, the ensemble Sining Kambayoka of Marawi City, World Vision, school nurses, and personnel of the department's divisions help in conducting sessions.
"The (psychological first aid) shall continue until all displaced learners in receiving schools have gone through the sessions," said Co.
"Continuing (sessions) with peacebuilding components shall be done on a daily basis using the homeroom period," she added.
One student from Iligan City Central School shared during their session that he wants to be an engineer and be back in Marawi.
"I want to be an engineer because if this house is broke, I want to build again because that is our house in Marawi and I want to go back in Marawi," the student wrote.
On May 23, clashes erupted in Marawi City as the military moved to hunt down "high-value targets" from the Maute Group and the Abu Sayyaf Group, driving away thousands of families. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)
President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on the first day of the clashes. (READ: Martial law in Mindanao: School opening to bring 'sense of normalcy')
As of Tuesday, June 13, 65,198 families or 316,684 people have been displaced due to the conflict. (READ: How a father fled Marawi to save kids, wife in labor) – Rappler.com