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“TAYO Laban Sa Pandemya: Tulong. Alaga. Yakap. Oras.”

June 14, 2021

MANILA, 14 June 2021 — The 48th episode of “Stories for a Better Normal: Pandemic and Climate Pathways” featured the Department of Education’s “TAYO Laban Sa Pandemya: Tulong. Alaga. Yakap. Oras,” a mental health wellness campaign aimed to raise awareness and advocate for mental health and wellness to protect and promote the well-being of learners and personnel during the pandemic.

The online conversation conceptualized and hosted by three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker and Antique Representative Loren Legarda featured guests from DepEd including Director Ronilda R. Co and Ms. Joan Grace Llamado from the DepEd Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Service (DRRMS); Ms. Marie Fe G. Manuzon, Principal II from San Casimiro Elementary School in Nueva Ecija; and Marchelle dela Cruz from Cabiao Senior High School, Nueva Ecija and Francis Paulin from Buanoy National High School, Cebu, who shared and discussed the Department’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) for Learners of the DepEd DRRMS, particularly the OKKK! Tambayan (Online Kahusayan at Katatagan ng Kabataan), and other programs aimed at protecting and promoting the well-being of learners and personnel in times of pandemic and disasters.

Director Co and Ms. Llamado emphasized the importance of knowing the real state of mental health of our students and educators to be able to provide proper care and assistance to them.

“Learning continuity in the midst of emergency or disasters – pero bago tayo makapag-continuity, kailangang alagaan at alamin natin ang kalagayan ng mga tao at bigyan sila ng alaga, kaginhawaan, at katatagan, para makapagpatuloy sa pag-aaral, o kaya pagtuturo, o pagpapatuloy ng kanilang gawain,” said Dir. Co.

“Napakahalaga po ng ating mga DepEd personnel, hindi po natin maibibigay yung quality education para sa ating mga learners kung ang mga teachers po natin ay hindi rin okay, kaya nagbibigay rin po tayo sa kanila ng psychological first aid,” said Ms. Llamado.

Principal Manuzon expressed that unity and showing care toward one another are keys to overcoming the challenges posed by the pandemic.

“Ang pagkakaisa, pagtutulungan, at pagmamahalan sa loob at labas ng paaralan ay isang malaking tulong upang malabanan ang kahit anong pagsubok ang kinakaharap ngayong panahon na may pandemya dito sa ating bansa,” said Principal Manuzon.

Dela Cruz and Paulin, as OKKK! Tambayers, shared how they motivate their fellow students to continue finding their purpose and ways to cope with the stress brought by distance and online learning.

“Sabihin po nating ‘You are important, you are worth it, and you have a purpose’ kung hindi po natin nalalaman kung ano ang dahilan kung bakit tayo nandito sa mundo. Alam ko pong darating ang araw na masasabi natin na ‘Alam ko na kung bakit ako nandito sa mundong ito, dahil may kailangan akong gawin at kakayanin ko ito. Kung mapapagod man ako ay tiyak na magpapatuloy ako para magawa ang purpose ko dito sa mundo,” said dela Cruz.

“Ilagay po sa puso’t isipan natin na let’s not be hindered by the pandemic. Let’s be prosperous and innovative to bring out our own light and greatness,” said Paulin.

Legarda, who co-authored the Mental Health Act while she was at the Senate, emphasized the need to further support and strengthen the Mental Health and Psychosocial Services by implementing it to every DepEd school, so that everyone can have access to wellness at psychosocial support. She also highlighted the importance of mental wellness as we cope in this time of COVID-19 and disasters.

“Hindi perpekto ang buhay. Maraming hamon, hindi lang sa kabataan, pati na sa amin na may edad na at karanasan, hindi lang sa panahon ng pandemic. Ang daming challenges, ang daming problema, hindi mawawala iyon. Let us do what we can. Let us be grateful of whatever we have, big or small, at magtutulungan sa panahon ng pangangailangan,” Legarda concluded.

As an online discussion to promote health, environmental consciousness, and climate-adaptive practices, “Stories for a Better Normal” aims to change the mindset of individuals, families, and communities by demonstrating ways in which a ‘better normal’ can be realized within our communities.

This online discussion is organized in partnership between the Office of Deputy Speaker Legarda and the Climate Change Commission, with support from the Department of Education, Mother Earth Foundation, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, and The Climate Reality Project-Philippines. ###