27 October 2011

Subic eyed for disaster risk-reduction training, Red Cross HQ for Asia-Pacific

With its own elite corps of veteran rescuers and emergency response teams, the Subic Bay Freeport will soon be a center to train and develop emergency rescue teams in the Philippines and also become the regional headquarters of Red Cross for Asia-Pacific.

According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia, who spoke during the recent Luzon Island Cluster Conference of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) at the Travelers Hotel & Convention Center here, the Red Cross will establish its regional headquarters in Subic and develop a facility to enhance the skills of rescue workers from all over the country on emergency operations and disaster preparedness.

Garcia was invited to welcome participants to the LMP conference, along with Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.; Daraga, Albay mayor and LMP Luzon Island Cluster president Gerry Jaucian; Dinalupihan, Bataan mayor and LMPBataan Chapter president Joel Jaime Payumo; and San Marcelino, Zambales mayor and LMP Zambales Chapter president Jose Rodriguez.

The three-day conference discussed issues and concerns related to climate change and disaster risk-reduction management.

Garcia said that the SBMA now boasts of its own “very good fire department, rescue team and experts who are trained in disaster-preparedness and emergency operations.”

With this, the SBMA “is always ready to provide trainings, as well as assistance in any kind of emergency and rescue operation, as may be requested by local officials,” he added.

At the same time, the SBMA chairman cited the conference theme “Nagkakaisang Luzon Tungo sa Ligtas at Progresibong Pamayanan” and stressed safety and cooperation as foundations of progress.

Garcia told LMP officials and members that the SBMA has just launched Project Unity, which seeks to promote cooperation with neighboring local government units in areas like agriculture, tourism, as well as disaster preparedness.

Garcia said that the SBMA board of directors has already paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Ebdane to talk about how SBMA and the province of Zambales can help each other enhance growth in the area.

Meanwhile, LMP Luzon’s Jaucian urged his colleagues to act on the collective task to help build a strong nation through LGU capability-building, especially in dealing with disasters.

“Let us think of creative approaches in dealing with various problems that confront us by getting the support and commitment of the national government, as well as the private sector. This task includes enhancing our disaster preparedness programs,” Jaucian said. (SBMA Corporate Communications)