The Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) in partnership with the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in the province held a five-day Management of the Dead and Missing Person Training of Trainers (MDMP-TOT) from July 15-19, 2019, in Puerto Princesa City.. Shown in photo is Vice Governor Dennis Socrates addressing the participants. (Photo courtesy of PDRRMO)

A five-day training of trainers on disaster management was held on July 15-19 in Puerto Princesa City attended by key disaster risk reduction and management (DRRM) managers and key personnel in the province.

Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) chief Jeremias Alili said the training centered on the management of dead and missing persons during emergency and disaster situations.

He said the training, entitled Management of the Dead and Missing Persons Training of the Trainers (MDMP-TOT), was the first-ever undertaking of the course by a local government unit (LGU) in the MIMAROPA and in the country.

Alili said they were compelled to seek the training after experiencing the challenge in handling the dead and missing persons during super typhoon Vinta in Mangsee Island, Balabac.

He said Palawan has the most number of licensed Emergency Management Team (EMT) responders in the whole region with 150 personnel.

“Ito naman ay bunsod sa ating experience doon sa nangyaring typhoon Vinta sa Mangsee wherein naka-experience tayo na may mga namatay, missing and some of the bodies recovered are unidentifiable. We lacked those training, wala tayong capacity to identify, to secure the body at ma-maintain ang kanilang identity for identification process kaya nakita natin ang need at kinausap natin ang DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) para dito,” he said.

Aside from personnel of the PDRRMO, he said the participants were from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), PNP Maritime Command, Philippine Red Cross (PRC), PCG Auxilary, Western Command (WESCOM) and other line agencies.

It was sponsored by the Palawan provincial government, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC), DILG, and the Local Government Academy (LGA).

“Kapag nagkaroon ng disaster, NBI is in-charge for the management of the dead. Kung ang incident naman ay crime related such as sinunog, its the PNP Crime Laboratory. Ang management of the dead ay nagsisimula doon sa pag-recover ng body para siguradong ma-maintain natin ang kanyang identification, hindi tayo mahirapan. Marami ang kasama dito, lahat ng mga kasama natin as responders and ‘yong galing sa ibang agency na nagvo-volunteer,” he said.

He added they also have a team that is conducting research on past disasters in the province, which is necessary for the documentation process and in designing good DRRM plans for the future.

“We also have a team na nagco-conduct ng research sa mga nangyaring disasters because we dont have enough records ng mga bagyo nakaraan, madalas nakakalimutan or lagi nasasabi na hindi tinatamaan ng bagyo ang Palawan, in fact maraming nangyaring bagyo sa mga nakaraang taon just like noong 1969, mayroong typhoon at may report na maraming namatay sa Brooke’ Point but we dont have a record, kaya ‘yon ang nire-retrieve natin for our future projects, kung noon may flash floods how much more ngayon, erosion. ‘Yon ang mga bagay na kailangan ngayon pa lang ay makita na natin,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Alili said the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in the MIMAROPA delivered more than 500 hygiene kits and other non-food items to the PDRRMO as a part of the prepositioning of goods for the possible disasters.

Alili said that the prepositioned items will be stored in the Provincial Disaster Operations Center of Palawan (PDOCP) and will be distributed to disaster victims in coordination with the OCD-MIMAROPA.

The utility boxes contain items such as cooking pots and cutleries for taking meals, and hygiene kits among others, and can sustain one family while inside the evacuation center. The kits contain items worth around P500 each.

“Lahat ng probinsya ay binigyan ng OCD ng non-food items, hirap lang tayo sa Palawan dahil sobrang layo natin. Siguro we only have more than 200 non-food items, ang composition nito ay mayroong kitchen set, beddings, hygiene kits, ilang materials like flashlights and others na kasama doon sa isang box. Bibibili rin tayo ng katumbas na boxes para maka- pagpreposition,” he said.

On July 9, more than 200 large utility boxes containing non-food items arrived from the warehouse of the OCD and on July 12, around 400 boxes of hygiene kits were delivered to the PDOOC.