by Rene V. Carbayas
ISABELA CITY, Basilan, Aug 10 (PIA) - The Local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office in Lamitan City, together with other government agencies and volunteers joined in carrying out simulation exercise of Multi-Hazard Attack drill in the city, Thursday.
The scenario: a bomb exploded near a school at downtown Lamitan, victims scattered on the road, and a fire broke.
More than 500 volunteer students of Mindanao Autonomous College Foundation Inc. (MACFI) took part as a “realistic” attack was acted out in order to allow the rescue teams to exercise their response.
Rescue teams from the military, Bureau of Fire Protection, City Social Welfare Office (CSWO) and City Health Office (CHO) were present during the exercise and conducted immediate rescue to the “actors” who played as 29 casualties wherein four of them were dead and 8 wounded.
The team from the Bureau of Fire Protection in the city also showed their responding capabilities in controlling the fire at the shortest possible time.
Meanwhile, the PNP-Lamitan under the command of PCI Roel Gasoh has joined forces with the Philippine Army and the Philippine Coast Guard to test their emergency response capabilities to a major terrorist incident. Clearing operations in the area was done before the entry of the medical team.
The exercise focused on terrorism, specially bombing incident to generate public awareness and show possible response in such scenario.
The CSWO through Ms Pelita Tacorda extended their gratitude to the students of MACFI and to all those who participated in the said drill.
“The exercise was successful due to the 577 volunteers who took part. I’d like to take this opportunity to offer my most sincere gratitude to them,” Tacorda said.
Meanwhile, Col. Jose Randolf Sino Cruz, Deputy Brigade Commander of 104th Brigade, Philippine Army suggested that the CDRRMO must also look into managing the media and “usisero” (spectators), reiterating the observation made by the Philippine Information Agency, to create a team to deal with families of victims, and for the police to investigate the crime scene as points for improvement to ensure the readiness of the response and rescue team in Lamitan.
Observers said that although this was an exercise, the environment created is as realistic as possible that contributed to the “authentic” response from authorities. Although, there is a need for the DRRM office to invest on communication equipment to harness coordinated efforts, the officers and staff from each of the agencies carried out brave acts to secure the safety of others, including the participation of Barangay Peace Action Team (BPAT) who immediately managed the traffic in the urban scene.
CDRRM Officer Jay Dompol said that this multi-hazard drill aims to test and evaluate the emergency services and response to a major terrorist incident. (ALT/RVC/PIA9-Basilan with reports from Nilda Delos Reyes)