Groups gather for 1st Provincial Search and Rescue Summit

Cebu can be the learning hub of search and rescue not just in the region but throughout the country.

This, as different rescue and search teams in Cebu Province gathered together for Cebu’s 1st Search and Rescue Summit spearheaded by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) on July 29-31.

The three-day summit’s topics revolved around equipment familiarization, wilderness first aid familiarization and various rescue demonstrations using ropes, such as single rope techniques, low angle rope rescue and technical rope rescue.

Aside from rope techniques and basic first aid, there were also clinics on tropical bush craft and survival, land navigation and terrain analysis, vehicle extrication familiarization, and basic military mapping.

PDRRMO head Baltzar Tribunalo, in his speech, said that first responder groups must connect not just in terms of physical and financial aspects but also its relationship between the uniformed men and the civilian for future operations.

The summit aimed to promote inter-operability, camaraderie, and unity (ICU) among first responders. The summit provided a venue for the rescue groups to learn practices from the other groups and showcase their best practices.

With this give and take process, the organizers hoped that the different teams will agree to have common guidelines on search and rescue at the local level.

“This summit brings you all together so that you can exchange ideas, share knowledge and experiences to form a community of effective, efficient and safe first-responders in cases of calamities and disaster. I am hoping for a successful summit and meaningful results. Sa tanang misalmot niining kalihokan, daghan kaayo’ng salamat (To all of you who joined, thank you very much),”  Governor Hilario P. Davide III said during his speech.

The participants included representatives from the local government units, namely Tabogon, Boljoon, Borbon, Aloguinsan, Consolacion, San Remigio, Liloan, Balamban, and Toledo City.

“Thank you to the Provincial Government of Cebu for leading the efforts in making the fist search and rescue summit. It is good to know that the people of the province are with us in our effort to mitigate the impact of natural disaster and calamities in our country,” said Central Command Commander General Nicanor Vivar.

Rescue 5 host/anchor Paolo Bediones, who was the guest speaker during the three-day summit, emphasized the importance of spreading the knowledge of search and rescue.

The anchor also said that Cebu can be the educator when it comes to search and rescue and the pioneer of a bigger summit in the coming years.

“It is our role to be able to spread as much information to the public about being first responders, first aid and basic rescue. We are here to elevate the knowledge of the people from knowing nothing to being equipped with the right knowledge,” Bediones said.

There were also groups from UP Mountaineers, Cebu Volunteers Search and Rescue Group, 5th Special Forces Company of AFP, Rescue 5, Zion Emergency and Disaster Response Unit, Cebu City Medical Services, Carmen Copper Emergency Response Team, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection.

The activities during the summit were made possible through the support of its partners, including Rescue 5, UNTV, Habagat Outdoor Equipment, Junna Industrial Corporation, and NOA Water Gear.