Surigao teachers undergo stress debriefing

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/18 February) — A total of 1,200 teachers who were traumatized by the 6.7-magnitude quake last February 10 underwent stress debriefing this week to help them cope with the trauma, an education official said.

Dr.  Gilda Berte, Surigao City schools division superintendent said 400 teachers underwent debriefing on Thursday and Friday and 800 others were scheduled to undergo the procedure on Saturday.

Students, too, will undergo stress debriefing by the Department of Health starting Monday, Berte said during a conference Friday with Surigao del Norte Governor Sol Matugas, City Mayor Ernesto Matugas City Vice Mayor Alfonso S. Casurra.

She said their integrated module allows pupils and students to learn and undergo stress debriefing at the same time.

Karl Duanne Casurra, school principal of Fun To Learn, a private kindergarten school, brought four occupational therapists from Cebu.

“They are conducting series of stress debriefing to our public school teachers here. They are from Medical Action Relief, Counseling and Healing Services for Christ and Alyansa sa mga Bisayang Therapists,” he said.

Casurra said the stress debriefing activities will enable the teachers and students to cope with the fears caused by the quake and its aftershocks.

“This is to help teachers and students increase their functional independence while preventing or minimizing possible mental problem,” he said.

Casurra said city and provincial governments and the Department of Education (DepEd) in the city and province had agreed that classes for all schools will resume on Monday.

Governor Matugas, a former regional director of DepEd said she will recommend a stress debriefing for all teachers and Deped officials.

“We have a group of psychologists coming from Cebu, Manila and Northern Mindanao who arrived in Surigao City today (Friday) to conduct series of stress debriefing,” she said.

Berte said the occupational therapists found that a few teachers were extremely traumatized.
Officials, meanwhile, expressed concerns on the safety of students and teachers who will use the school buildings.

“Pipila ra man ang severely damaged schools but despite of that we will find another way to hold classes even outside the school building,” Casurra said.

Mayor Matugas told DepEd officials not to occupy buildings which are considered dangerous to avoid accidents.

Last Monday structural engineers from Manila arrived in Surigao and checked several schools as well as private and government buildings.

But there was no report yet on their findings. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)