Participants of the chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) are shown in this photo while preparing for their activity. (Photo courtesy of the Provincial Information Office)

Personnel in charge of disaster risk reduction and management at the city and provincial levels recently participated in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) readiness training, which aimed to strengthen their ability to respond to and handle situations involving these kinds of risks.

As part of this year’s Archipelagic Coastal Defense Continuum 24.3, the training was held on May 15–16 at the 3rd Marine Brigade in Barangay Tiniguiban. It equipped them with the knowledge and abilities needed to manage CBRN-related incidents.

It was also attended by personnel from the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Army, Philippine Marines, Naval Special Operations Group, and local and provincial DRRM offices, according to a statement released by the Provincial Information Office (PIO) on Friday.

The total number of participants now equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to effectively manage CBRN-related emergencies was 40.

The lectures given by the U.S. Marines covered topics such as Warning and Reporting, Introduction to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), CBRN Agents and Effects, Capabilities and Limitations, Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction, Introduction to Decontamination, and CBRN Detectors and Marketing.

CBRN refers to a range of hazards or threats that present substantial risks to human health, the environment, and infrastructure. These incidents can arise from deliberate acts of terrorism, industrial accidents, natural disasters, or warfare.

In relation to this, in Washington, D.C., on April 23, Dr. Rob Pope, director of Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) under the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), explained they are working with their allies, like the Philippines, to prepare for weapons of mass destruction threats, which includes CBRN.

Dr. Pope informed journalists from the Philippines, participating in the Friends, Partners, and Allies Program funded by the U.S. Embassy in Manila, along with its cohort CRDF Global, that the work they do with partners encompasses preparation for potential threats and efforts to mitigate or prevent those threats from occurring.

“The CTR program is all about working with our foreign partners—wherever possible—we want to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and any related systems and materials,” he said.

“When we can’t outright eliminate the thing that is threatening, we work with our partner nations to consolidate and secure that material. Whether its chemicals that need to be used in industry or pathogens that need to be used in health research, we work together to make sure that we’ve got the right security around so that they can’t be used by bad actors,” he added.

He said they also work with allies and partners to detect and interdict any trafficking or use of weapons of mass destruction and related systems.