RDRRMC-6 to hold maritime emergency response simex

Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council-6 director Jose Roberto Nuñez. (PIA photo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

The Iloilo Strait tragedy last August 3, 2019, which killed 31 passengers, prompted government agencies to check their respective disaster management and emergency responses especially on maritime incidents.

Along this line, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) 6 will conduct a sea tragedy Simulation Exercise (SIMEX) on Sept 12 at the Iloilo Strait to test and evaluate existing plans, policies, and procedures on emergency response.

The exercise also seeks to improve the individual performance, organization coordination and communication of government agencies during emergency.

At the same time, the SIMEX will clarify the roles and responsibilities of every agency involved in the response and eventually, enhance interoperability of all disaster risk reduction and management mechanisms such as incident management team, emergency operation center, contingency and clusters approach in the area.

According to Jose Roberto Nuñez, chairman of the RDRRMC 6 and regional director of the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD)-6, they hope to assess the existing policies of the involved agencies to see if there is a need to revisit or change it.

Marami kasing mga policy and guidelines pagdating ng ganitong instances that is why we will come up with a template for the whole region in terms of disaster response,” he said.

After the SIMEX, Nuñez said there will be an evaluation and assessment of the responses thru a council meeting on September 20, 2019.

“Based sa report, may nangyari na noong 2015 tapos eto na naman noong August 3, ano na naman ang nangyari at ano pa dapat ang gagawin? Dapat before may ginawa na” Nuñez stressed, recalling the capsizing of a motor banca boat in Iloilo Strait last 2015, which claimed nine lives.

Four years after, motor bancas Chi-Chi, Keziah, and Jenny Vince also capsized last August 3, 2019, killing 31 passengers.