A simulation exercise (SIMEX) for an active shooting incident was carried out Wednesday by the provincial government to test and assess the vigilance and operational readiness of employees, response units, and coordination with law enforcement agencies.
Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Jeremias Alili said the active shooting scenario played out at the Capitol compound would help them determine and evaluate what they need to do to further strengthen preparedness and ensure the safety of employees and even visitors in case a real incident occurs.
“This activity, unang-una ay para sa mga empleyado kaya ang ating mga responders ay laging nagtra-training pero ang ibang empleyado ay they should be aware of how to react kapag may ganitong insidente. Ang sinasabi Palawan is safe and peaceful but ang mga empleyado ay bumibiyahe din ‘yan sa mga lugar na posibleng magkaroon ng gulo. This is just a practice so that they’ll have an idea about what could be possible scenarios,” Alili said.
During the duration of the SIMEX, the whole Capitol was locked down for over two hours.
Alili said they also want to check the security protocols the provincial government is implementing at the Capitol during the simulation exercise.
“We want also to see the security protocol ng ating kapitolyo, ang coordination sa lahat, sa mga outside forces. Also, our in-house response kasama ang Palawan Rescue 165. We will know kung ano ang dapat ma-improve sa ating capacity,” he said.
Alili added that after the SIMEX they saw the need to improve alarms and safety measures.
The safety measures also concern persons with disabilities (PWDs) who need a specific alarm.
“Dapat malaman ng bawat empleyado na when that alarm sounds alam nila kung anong klaseng hazard ang mayroon. Alarm for PWDs ay isa rin sa dapat i-consider. We need to have a specific alarm for them. We also have around 12 operation centers pero ang nandito sa kapitolyo we need to equip and train them more,” he said.
Richristopher Magbanua, Palawan Rescue 165 program manager, said everyone should be prepared to handle and respond to all types of incident, not just active shooting.
“Dapat handa tayo kahit walang nangyayaring ganito. Kahit wala tayong practice dapat alam natin kung paano magrespond. Kahit hindi ito actual na pangyayari dapat i-consider natin na paano kung mangyari ito. Sa observation ko, lahat naman ay nagampanan nila ang dapat na trabaho,” Magbanua said.
The SIMEX was done by the PDRRMO with the Provincial Peace and Order Program, Palawan Rescue 165, and Provincial Capitol Security Guards (PCGS).
The Provincial Health Office (PHO), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Western Command, Philippine National Police (PNP), SWAT Team, SOCO, EOD Unit and Bureau of Fire and Protection (BFP) also participated.