The Philippine Army in Negros Oriental is continuously upgrading its disaster response skills through various trainings to meet the needs of the current times, Captain Aldwin Cortes of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, said.
Cortes said this as 30 soldiers on Tuesday began training on Water Search and Rescue, or WASAR, with the Coast Guard Station in Dumaguete City.
The five-day WASAR training is designed to prepare troops and equip them with knowledge and skills in search and rescue techniques in any type of body of water, Cortes, the brigade’s training officer, said.
The soldiers will train in swimming, survival skills, underwater knot-tying, underwater first-aid and rubber boat and aluminum boat maintenance, among others.
“This is in anticipation (of) possible eventualities, such as calamities, wherein the Philippine Army, in partnership with other agencies, LGUs, and other friendly units in the area will conduct disaster response operations,” Cortes said.
The training is also in preparation for the staging of events for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in the Visayas region this year, with some activities scheduled in nearby Cebu province and Bacolod City in Negros Occidental.
This is a secondary objective for the Philippine Army troops to prepare them for possible deployment to ensure the safety and security of the delegates and participants to the APEC activities, Cortes said.
The soldiers undergoing training are all first-timers on search-and-rescue and waterborne operations.
WASAR Class 01-2015 trainees, who are expected to complete the course on Saturday, are from the maneuver units of the 32nd Division Reconnaissance Company and Headquarters Service Personnel Company of the 302nd Brigade, Cortes said.
Cortes said a mountain-urban search and-rescue operations training will be coordinated with the Provincial Fire Marshall and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
He said that part of the mission of the Philippine Army is to participate in disaster response operations. *JFP
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