Antique town trains barangay emergency responders

Anthony Badoy Mondragon
Antique town trains barangay emergency responders
The activity aims to refresh the knowledge and skills of barangay-based emergency responders on performing emergency response and rescue operations including the use of personal protective equipment and emergency tools

ANTIQUE, Philippines – For the 4th year in a row, this first-class municipality and capital town of the Antique province San Jose de Buenavista held its annual Rescue Olympics on July 30 – 31, 2015 at the Binirayan Sports Complex. 

The activity aims to refresh the knowledge and skills of barangay-based emergency responders on performing emergency response and rescue operations including the use of personal protective equipment and emergency tools. 

With the forthcoming 2nd anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the different municipalities are preparing for even stronger typhoons and natural disasters. 

Antique has 18 municipalities, of which 14 are coastal, 1 island and 3 inland. Yolanda devastated the province on November 8, 2013, dealing irreparable damage to the northern municipalities of Antique.

Lessons from Yolanda

Due to the destruction incurred during the onslaught of Yolanda, the LGUs are investing their 70% preparedness budget of their disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) fund in stockpiling resources, purchasing equipment, building stronger and quality evacuation centers, and more importantly, capacitating the people to be more prepared.

According to the San Jose de Buenavista Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDDRMO), the town is exposed to various natural and man-made hazards like typhoons, earthquakes, tsunami and fire. 

Because of these, the town has organized barangay emergency responders to encourage community – based disaster management. These responders were trained in basic life support and first aid, water search and rescue (WASAR), fire fighting, and other essential skills. 

There is a tendency, however, that responders might forget these skills if not put into practice. To ensure the continuity and the sustainability of the skills acquired through the various trainings, the San Jose MDRRMO came up with the Emergency Responders Refresher Training or otherwise known as the Rescue Olympics.

This is an annual event held every July since 2012.

“This is meant to test the capacity of the barangay-based emergency responders and at the same time refresh their knowledge and skills,” Fe Corazon Malaya S. Tacogdoy, MDRRM Officer II, said.

Out of the 28 barangays of San Jose de Buenavista, 27 were able to participate and were divided into 8 clusters:

  • Cluster 1 – Barangays 8, Maybato North, Maybato South, and Bariri
  • Cluster 2 – Barangays 4, Malaiba, and San Angel.
  • Cluster 3 – Barangays Supa, Badiang, and San Fernando.
  • Cluster 4 – Barangays 1, Inabasan, Bugarot, and Cansadan.
  • Cluster 5 – Barangays 2, 3, 5, and 6.
  • Cluster 6 – Barangays San Pedro, Durog, and Pantao.
  • Cluster 7 is composed of barangays Mojon, Magcalon, and Igbonglo.
  • Cluster 8 – Barangays Atabay, Madrangca, and Funda-Dalipe.

“Majority of the barangays were receptive when this concept was first presented to them. This is an inter-barangay event so it is exciting. The barangay also have bragging rights when they win,” Tacogdoy said.

“The Rescue Olympics is not compulsory and we do not force the barangays to join. Last year, they were (all) able to participate,” she added. 

Rescue Olympics

Aside from emergency and rescue operations, responders also compete in team building activities to build their camaraderie.

The 27 barangays competed in the following events/contest: Knot Tying, Bandaging, Cardio-Pulmonary Response (CPR), Vehicle Accident Extrication, WASAR, and Fire fighting.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) served as judges in the firefighting contest. The 5052nd squadron and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) judged the rescue-related activities while the rest of the events were adjudged by the staff of the MDRRMO and the Provincial DRRMO (PDRRMO).

This year, hard hats with waterproof LED flashlights were given out as prizes. In the first year of the program, the prizes were first aid kits and spine boards.

According to Tacogdoy, the MDRRMO is expecting the barangay responders to “be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they were taught.” –

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