“All my life, I’ve been fighting to survive” are words that resonate strongly to many Filipinos, most especially among those who’ve endured the devastating assaults of natural hazards, the last couple of years. These are the same opening lines of Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao who is featured in a series of 60-second educational videos promoting key survival steps that individuals, families and communities should take when calamities such as typhoons, floods, and earthquakes strike.
The suit of educational videos comprises the Safe Steps campaign launched by National Geographic Channel and Prudence Foundation last May 2014. Safe Steps seeks to enhance disaster preparedness and awareness in the Asian region through dissemination of educational survival tips in response to natural hazards. It is a long-term educational programme with multiple platforms covering on-air videos, an informative website, and educational materials that can be shared through community-based activities that seek to enhance the capacity of communities to respond to disasters.
A leading champion of disaster preparedness in the Philippines, it also comes only but natural for Project NOAH to partner with the Safe Steps campaign in advocating for disaster preparedness and awareness in the region. Since 2012 it has lead nationwide efforts in producing quality, evidence-based and real time hazard warning systems that has aided in building disaster resilient communities.
“Not all opponents let you know they are coming but typhoons are one disaster with an early warning system…Always be one step ahead, floods can come quickly so monitor the weather closely and make sure you have supply.” Pacquiao came as the natural choice to be appointed Safe Steps Ambassador due to his established boxing career and humble background that testifies to the value of preparedness and survival. Who else is best to speak about preparing for the ‘enemy’ but Pacquiao who has managed to take down his opponents by preparing for the ‘battle’ through a rigid, regular and consistent training regime? And who else knows best about the impact of calamities to low-income households and communities but Pacquiao who himself experienced how it was to “have nothing to eat and live day to day.”
The Philippines being a locus of typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, preparation and responsive planning against the possible destruction and casualties brought by natural hazards will indeed give us better fighting chance for survival.
To learn more about Safe Steps, visit their site at www.safesteps.com