GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 July) — South Cotabato has launched an intensive training program on disaster mitigation and preparedness for its barangay disaster action teams (BDAT) to strengthen its disaster management systems.
Ramon Ponce de Leon, South Cotabato Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, said the initiative aims improve the capability of the province’s 199 BDATs to properly respond to potential disasters that might hit their areas.
He said they initially launched the training in barangays that have been identified as high risk areas and highly prone to natural calamities or disasters.
These comprise barangays that previously experiences severe floods and landslides as well as those located near the two active volcanoes — Mts. Parker and Matutum — straddling the province’s 10 towns and lone city, he said.
“Our goal is to make our BDATs better prepared in times of disasters and related crisis situations to avert possible tragedies,” Ponce de Leon said.
The official said the local government has initially released an initial P1.7 million for the trainings.
He said Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes has committed an additional P1.3 million to complete the training of all 199 BDATs in the province before the end of the year.
Ponce de Leon said they have clustered the province’s barangays for the implementation of the training program, which focuses on equipping BDAT members with the basic knowledge and skills in responding to disasters.
A program briefer said the BDAT training aims to train capable and motivated volunteers by providing them with appropriate knowledge, skills, attitude and equipment for the effective management of disaster preparedness and response programs in their barangays.
He said training modules include first aid, emergency care, basic life support, rescue skills and proper use of emergency equipment and kits.
“It includes simulation exercises on possible calamities that might affect our barangays,” he said.
Ponce de Leon said they will provide the BDATs who would complete the training program with a spine board and first aid or emergency kits.
The provincial government pushed for the creation and activation of the BDATs, which comprise 20 members, two years ago as part for its enhanced disaster management program.
The creation of the BDATs is based on the provisions of Republic Act 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, which paved the way for a more dynamic, pro-active approach in empowering LGUs and training communities to be disaster prepared. (MindaNews)