RDRRMC-6 mulls sea rescue template, task force

Members of the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-6, which includes Coast Guard, PNP, and military personnel and rescue groups, conduct a sea tragedy Simulation Exercise (SIMEX) on Sept 12, 2019 at the Iloilo Strait to test and evaluate existing plans, policies, and procedures on emergency response. The exercise is in response to the Iloilo Strait mishaps which claimed 31 lives last Aug 3. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

AFTER testing the agencies’ existing policies and procedures on maritime response on Thursday, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) 6 plans to craft a template for sea rescue operations in the region.

On Thursday, Members of the RDRRMC conducted a simulation exercise (simex) at the Iloilo Strait to assess and evaluate how agencies respond to a maritime incident.

Jose Roberto Nuñez, chairman of the RDRRMC 6 and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-6, said that while there are specific lapses, the participation of the concerned agencies is still commendable.

“So far maganda naman yung participation sa lahat, nakita mo naman ang presence nila but ang importante makita ng mga passengers or customers natin dito kung ano yung measures na ginagawa natin,” he stressed.

According to Nuñez, they plan to craft a template on sea rescue after the simex which will be cascaded to the whole region.

“The first simulation exercise dito sa Guimaras we are planning also to template this situation now sa Iloilo then next all over the region kasi marami tayong mga island barangays especially in Panay,” he said.

Later on, Nuñez said that they will also create a task force on maritime response which will also be cascaded to other parts of the region.

May itatayo tayong task force later on sa lahat ng mga barangays or island destinations all over Western Visayas,” he stressed.

Other factors were also considered like the establishment of an infirmary in Jordan Wharf to cater not only victims of disasters but also passengers of the motor bancas.

Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin said that the wharves lacked rescue triages as first responders at the coast.

Wala sang triages dira mismo sa aton nga wharf that is why sang nagligad gindala gid namon sa ospital ang isa ka residente kay wala sang first responders sa aton mga wharves,” he lamented..

Nuñez said he will consider the proposal of Gumarin.

The simex which aims to improve the individual performance, organization coordination, and communication of government agencies during maritime emergency included assets from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Air Force (PAF), OCD and its other line agencies and volunteer groups.

“We have to take those mistakes seriously from the MDRRMO, Regional Incident Management Team, and other agencies. We need to closely coordinate with one another,” Nuñez stressed.

All in all, the inputs and the results of the simex are essential preventing incidents like the tragic Iloilo Strait Tragedy last August 3, 2019 which killed 31 motorbanca passengers from happening again, Nuñez added.

After the simex, Nuñez said there will be an evaluation and assessment of the responses thru a council meeting on September 20, 2019.