The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday said it is set to open a disaster preparedness training center for emergency and disaster responders.
"The training center aims to improve and institutionalize disaster response measures in the metropolis and to provide a safe, conducive, and controlled learning environment to capacitate individuals and stakeholders on emergency response and public safety that outlines the effective management of emergency situations and all matters related that may occur in the face of a crisis," MMDA said.
According to MMDA Acting Chairman Attorney Don Artes, the training center was conceptualized after the agency saw the gaps in the capacity-building and training of rescuers after an earthquake hit Abra province in October last year, where rescuers had to come from various areas.
"The agency saw the need to build a center that will focus on disaster response to empower rescuers and provide those affected by disasters with immediate assistance," said Artes.
This will also serve as a measure to avoid possible casualties if a 7.2-magnitude quake hits Metro Manila, according to the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
Whereas the estimated impact of the quake, called "The Big One," may cause the deaths of at least 35,000 people, 120,000 injuries, and an economic loss reaching P2.5 Trillion.
The center will be built on Carmona Sanitary Landfill in Cavite City and will feature four training facilities: Rappelling tower, Confined Space Structure, Wrecked Building with Structure Rubble Pile, and Pancake Collapsed Structure, which will provide training on real-life rescue scenarios.
It is expected to open before the end of the year. It will initially cater to 17 Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (MDRRMOs) and will soon accommodate other government agencies, barangay auxiliaries, fire volunteer groups in the Metropolis, and rescuers from other provinces.
Artes noted that the agency would provide them a two-week training using the existing equipment, such as life locators and vibrascopes, to produce more rescuers that can extend immediate disaster response assistance to nearby areas.
"A medical clearance is required for an interested rescuer before he/she can participate to ensure that he or she is physically fit to undergo the training," it said. —VAL, GMA Integrated News