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OCD chief hails launching of country’s ‘First Man Responder’ program

TACLOBAN CITY (PIA) – Emphasizing the importance of capacitating communities to any disaster, Undersecretary Ariel F. Nepomuceno, administrator of the Office of Civil Defense, expressed support for the recent launching of the first-ever First Man Responder Program in the country held at the Office’s compound of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Regional Office, this city.

Spearheaded by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) Eastern Visayas led by Regional Director Lord Byron Torrecarion, in partnership with the Tingog Party-list and the Office of the House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the program aims to prepare the people on the ground to immediately respond to any disaster as the region is the front door of disasters coming into the country.

“We must fully support and cooperate with the initiatives of the local government and national agencies in preparing the communities for the year in, year out calamities – from floods, surges na na-experience na natin ‘yan with Yolanda, that experience has taught us huge lessons so we are expecting and hoping that the communities will cooperate and take everything seriously,” Nepomuceno said.

Nepomuceno personally witnessed the demonstration of some 64 volunteers who underwent a rigid training on high angle and rescue rope techniques.

He noted the importance of replicating the same program to other regions in order to expand the number of people who can do the same expertise.

“But the challenge now is how to replicate this in other regions and multiply or expand the number of special units that will be ready to respond when the time is needed,” Nepomuceno added.   

For his part, OCD-8 Regional Director Lord Byron Torrecarion said the FMR program is the best way to address disasters or calamities so their people and the community could prepare well to immediately respond to any disaster.

“Alam niyo naman, we’ve been experiencing a lot already and the best way to address the situation is to prepare our personnel or people on the ground to immediately respond to any disaster,” Torrecarion said.

On the other hand, Tingog Party-list Representative Jude Acidre assured the people of Eastern Visayas of their support to the program, vowing to continue pushing for the creation of the Department of Disaster Resilience, and hoping that such department would eventually provide a lasting, sustained, and a durable solution in responding disasters.

In addition to high angle and rope rescue techniques, the volunteers will also undergo training on Incident Command Sytem (ICS), Air Ground Operations (AGOS), Camp Management, Mountain Rescue, Water Search and Rescue Training (WASAR), and Collapse Structure Rescue from March to April 2023.

The program is considered an opportunity for community development and capacity building for first responders. (MMP/CBA/PIA-8)

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Consuelo Alarcon


Region 8

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