The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has launched a program for local government units, especially those in low-lying areas, to improve their capabilities in responding to incidents of flooding and other emergencies.
The program, dubbed “Flood Incident Response Safety Training (F.I.R.S.T.)” was conducted in the northern portion of Metro Manila and Luzon.
A total of 404 responders from the 17 local government units of the National Capital Region, Southern Police District-Taguig City, and Metro Bataan Development Authority participated in the training held in Ternate, Cavite; San Rafael, Bulacan; and Mariveles, Bataan.
MMDA chair Benjamin Abalos Jr.said the training aims to capacitate the local government units in the metropolis as well as the Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (BRRMC) in responding to emergency incidents like flooding.
“One of the natural hazards affecting Metro Manila is flooding. Henceforth, we have to intensify the capability of our first responders, who are at the forefront during extreme emergencies, and further improve our disaster response efforts,” Abalos said.
The program, led by MMDA’s Metropolitan Public Safety Office (MPSO) headed by lawyer Victor Pablo Trinidad, trained the participants on water safety, rubber boat operations, rubber boat handling, and operation, among others.
F.I.R.S.T. training also involves practical exercises such as land portage carry, simple reach and rescue, capsizing and recovery, maneuvering of rubber boat with an outboard motor, and rigging, and knot-tying.
Abalos said there will be another training to be conducted in the first quarter of 2022, dubbed as ELSAROC (Earthquake, Landslide, Search and Rescue Orientation Course).
“In addition to the F.I.R.S.T. training being done regularly by MPSO, we will be having a disaster preparedness training called ELSAROC. The exact date and venue have yet to be determined,” he said.
MPSO is in charge of establishing sectionalized disaster and emergency response units – Central, North, South, East, and West sectors–capable of immediately responding to emergencies and disasters affecting Metro Manila.