Philippine arts

What responders, public should do during a terrorist attack

Abigail Abigan
What responders, public should do during a terrorist attack
This is the 10th city-wide earthquake drill and second terror simulation of Pasig City

MANILA, Philippines – Following several threats and attacks at private and public establishments in the past years, the Pasig Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) conducted terrorism and earthquake drills Monday, July 16, at Capitol Commons, Ortigas Center.

It was the 10th city-wide earthquake drill conducted by the Pasig City government and its second terror incident simulation,  focusing on the basic response steps needed in case of a terrorism threat. 

The terrorism drill scenario started at exactly 12 pm, with 5 “armed men” occupying the building of Unimart at Capitol Commons. As the law enforcers entered, the terrorist actors reenacted the shooting and taking of civilian hostages.

The Pasig City government deployed the Rescue Task Force (RTF) composed of members of the Pasig police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) as the primary emergency response units. These groups are the designated first reponders during man-made disasters such as terrorist attacks. Their main objective is to neutralize threats and serve as paramedics for rescued civilians. 

Pasig DRRM chief Ritche Angeles said that the drill followed a real-time scenario. 

“Kung naaalala nyo yung Manila hostage, sa kabilang side nagprapractice muna ang SWAT, kasi yung plinaplano nila kung saan ang entry nila. Pagdating mo naman, dyan hindi mo agad alam kung ano ang environment dyan. It takes time. Kailangan alamin mabuti. ‘Yun ang reality”, said Angeles.

(If you still remember the Manila hostage crisis, SWAT members practiced and planned their way in. In a real scenario, responders need time to familiarize themselves with the environment. It takes time. That’s the reality) 

He also reminded the public that during emergency situations, civilians should:

  • Avoid areas that have been cordoned off;
  • Cover mouths and close windows in an event of a chemical leak; 
  • Stay 100 meters away from the leak;
  • Strictly follow instructions given by the authorities;
  • Wait for the arrival of rescuers.

An earthquake drill scheduled at 3 pm followed the special security drill. (READ: The ‘Big One’: Are people ready?)

LIFTER. Pasig Rescue Task Force uses their 70ft fire brigade to rescue an injured civilian on the top of the building. Photo by Abigail Abigan/Rappler

During the different earthquake scenarios, Pasig DRRM and Rescue Task Force utilized its 70-meter articulated aerial platform which is similar to the ones used during rescue operations in Japan. Angeles said that this is the first and only articulated aerial platform of its kind in the Philippines.

According to Pasig Mayor Robert Eusebio, the city government invests in state-of-the-art equipment and relevant trainings for its employees to strengthen their response capacity not only during typhoons and earthquakes, but also in an event of a man-made disaster. 

“Kami talagang hinahasa namin lahat kahit ito ay PNP o BFP gusto namin ipakita na kapag may magandang partnership ang local government at national ay malayo ang mararating,” said Eusebio.

(We are continuously training our members of the police and fire personnel. We want to show that, with a cooperative partnership between the local and national government, we can achieve a lot of things)  

In July 5, Pasig City was named one of the 19 winners out of 148 outstanding smart city projects in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APeJ) under the “public safety” category for their Smart Public Safety Management System project. –

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