GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 10 Dec) – The provincial government of South Cotabato has released some P3.15 million worth of rescue and communication equipment to local search and rescue (SAR) units in a bid to enhance their disaster response capabilities.
South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Wednesday they specifically distributed a total of 136 standard rescue equipment and 96 communication devices that are deemed vital in search, rescue and disaster response operations and other related emergencies.
She said they released the items to the SAR teams of the South Cotabato Provincial Police Office, Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-South Cotabato, the Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion (IB) and the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO).
“We’re currently upgrading the capability of our rescue teams to make sure that they are properly equipped and prepared to respond to any disaster-related incident that might hit our province,” she said.
A report released by the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) showed that South Cotabato police’s SAR unit received a standard rubber boat, 16 life vests, 16 handheld radios, eight rain ponchos, eight rain coats, eight rain boots, two shovels and two fireman’s axes.
BFP-South Cotabato received 40 handheld radios, 18 ultra-high frequency radios with a repeater, and 81 hard hats.
The 27IB got a roll of rescue rope with a total length of 200 meters, 21 handheld radios, 21 engineering gloves, 14 shovels, eight rain ponchos, eight rain coats, eight rain boots, three axes, three mallets, two stretchers and a megaphone.
The IPHO’s SAR team received two stretchers, a standard defibrillator and two automated external defibrillators.
Fuentes said the acquisition of the rescue and communication equipment was part of the two-year upgrading program on disaster response capability earlier adopted by the local government.
She said such initiative is a component of the provincial government’s disaster management plan.
The governor said they had consulted the recipient SAR teams regarding their needs before making the purchase or acquisition.
“We initially asked them to submit a wish list of the priority items that they need and we carefully evaluated them before pushing through with their purchase,” she said.
Fuentes said they have lined up the acquisition of more rescue and communication equipment for local SAR teams next year.
She said they are working on the installation by the first quarter of 2015 of the province’s P4-million unified security and disaster communication system.
She added that the PDRRMO will also launch a series of trainings on mass evacuations after the completion of its ongoing capability enhancement training for the province’s 199 barangay disaster action teams.