The Department of Health – MIMAROPA, together with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) – Palawan District, awarded 28 lifeguard license to selected beach and swimming pool attendants in Palawan in a graduation ceremony held at A&A Plaza Hotel, Wescom Road, Puerto Princesa City on Monday, August 1. The 28 lifeguards were among the first batch of Water Search and Rescue (WASAR) trainees in Puerto Princesa City selected by the PCG to undergo a 12-day Lifeguard Licensure Training program.
“We will continue to increase the number of licensed lifeguards in the region, especially in areas where swimmers and divers frequent such as pools, beaches and open seas to ensure a safe water environment for the public and also to prevent injuries and water incidents,” said Regional Director Eduardo C. Janairo.
Before acquiring a license, beach or pool attendants, as well as divers, must first undergo the five-day WASAR Training conducted by PCG before being selected to the 12-day lifeguard licensure program. The PCG is the only agency that is authorized by law to provide license to lifeguards. Lifeguards are required to attend occasional in-service trainings and workshops conducted by the PCG to update and further strengthen their lifeguarding skills. There are currently 354 WASAR Trained personnel in Palawan. DOH-MIMAROPA aims to train at least 500 aquatic personnel in the whole region and provide them the necessary license to become effective water rescuers.
According to a 2012 study conducted by DOH-UPCPH, drowning is the leading cause of death among children under 18 in the Philippines. In general, drowning is the fourth leading cause of death from injury in the Philippines, based on a recent United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) survey. It is estimated that eight Filipinos die from drowning everyday and there are ten victims of near drowning as reported by the Philippines during the World Conference on Drowning Prevention (WCDP) in 2011.