The Batangas State University makes history with its disaster risk management (DRM) education as it welcomed the pioneer batch of its first ever off-campus DRM classes on February 16 at the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Building, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
The university offers two DRM programs under the College of Accountancy Business Economics and International Hospitality Management: the Master in Disaster Risk Management (MDRM) and the Diploma in Disaster Risk Management (DDRM).
“We are overwhelmed by the acceptance shown by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and Philippine Army,” University President Dr. Tirso A. Ronquillo told the 21 enrollees under the DDRM program who hail from the aforementioned agencies.
He explained that the main objective of the programs is to professionalize training and education among DRM practitioners in the country.
“As an institution of higher learning, BatStateU is obliged and mandated to provide advanced programs that will be relevant to the nation and community. The ultimate goal is not for us [students] to be awarded a diploma, or for Batangas State University to be visible. Let our ultimate goal be to save lives… That is our mantra – to give honor and, at the same time, to protect and transform lives,” Dr. Ronquillo said.
He added that the off-campus classes were implemented to address the struggle of students from other provinces and cities in travelling all the way to BatStateU just to pursue the DRM programs.
DRM Focal Person Dr. Nickie A. Manalo said that classes for this semester will be held every Saturday in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila until the third week of June. The diploma program is a one-year course composed of 18 units, which may be ladderized towards the Master’s degree in Disaster Risk Management.
Dr. Ronquillo said that the programs are non-thesis and practical by nature, wherein students will take part in an integrative course that will immerse them in local communities for the development and proposal contingency plans and disaster management policies.
Former Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Undersecretary General Ramon G. Santos said that the programs give individual managers the opportunity to develop their DRM knowledge and competencies.
“It is rare to meet individuals who are passionate to learn and deliver knowledge on DRM,” he said in Filipino. “DRM is practically, at its very essence, about leadership. And BatStateU provides the leadership needed for scientific and evidence-based disaster planning through education and experience.”
Gen. Santos is a member of the BatStateU Multi-Sectoral Advisory Council (MSAC). The council is composed of almost 20 member agencies which collectively functions as the steering committee of the university’s Disaster Resiliency Education for Adaptation and Mitigation Academy, shortly known as DREAM Academy.
The Master and Diploma in Disaster Risk Management were approved by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) en banc on December 19, 2017, making the programs the first CHED-accredited DRM programs in CALABARZON.
Meanwhile, Batangas State University will be discussing with OCD and the Philippine Army its proposals on further collaborations, including the conduct of off-campus courses in other areas, DRM conferences, and inter-agency activities for students.