Capacitating disaster responders

VMC Foundation Executive Director Anne Tiongco, VMC President Linley Retirado, 303rd IB head BGen. Orlando Edralin, VMC Asset Protection and Safety Dept. Head Jose Ramon Eduardo Unson, Maj. Jerome Manahan, and Purisima Brgy. Captain Cresenciano Sombero Jr. at the opening rites of the 3-day BERT Training in Camp Aniceto Lacson, Victorias City.*

Thirty officials and community workers of Barangay Purisima, Manapla, are now fully trained to respond to emergency situations in their village after completing the 3-day Barangay Emergency Response Team (BERT) Training at the 605th Manuever Company Headquarters, in Camp Aniceto Lacson, Victorias City.

The training, conceptualized by Victorias Milling Company Foundation in cooperation with the Manapla Disaster Response and Rescue Management Team (MDRRMT) and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 6 included basic life support intervention to practical training on water emergencies and emergency rescue transfer operations, a press release said Tuesday, May 16.

Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, commended the training course as an outstanding way of capacitating barangay responders to be better equipped in disaster preparedness.

VMC Asset Protection and Safety Dept. Head Jose Ramon Eduardo Unson, VMC President Linley Retirado, 303rd IB head BGen. Orlando Edralin and VMC Foundation Executive Director Anne Tiongco (l-r).*

“As local officials and leaders in the barangays and sitios, the community is always expecting and trusting you to be there, ready to help and assist them. They are always dependent on you especially in times of disasters and calamities,” Edralin said.

“We in the 303rd Infantry Brigade and the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army are here and ready to support and assist you in any way we can to ensure the safety of the people here in Northern Negros and in other parts of the province,” he added.

VMC President Linley Retirado said this initiative was conceptualized almost a year ago to help the community in disaster preparedness in light of the more frequent and stronger typhoons given the nearby Sicaba River, as well as addressing peace and order after a spike in crimes that brought uncertainty and unrest in the community.

VMC officials with participants, instructors and assistants of the 3-day BERT Training for emergency responders of Brgy. Purisima, Manapla.*

“We are happy that the community leaders as well as Manapla Mayor Manuel Escalante welcomed this idea to help revive the BERT in Barangay Purisima, augment its resources by way of training and skills enhancement seminars in disaster preparedness,” Retirado said.

However, we do not wish to stop here. We also aim to provide knowledge and training for BERT members to maintain peace and order in the community and we are pleased that the Philippine Army here in the Negros has manifested their commitment to help and provide the necessary assistance and guidance to ensure safety in our community, Retirado added.

VMC Foundation Executive Director, Anne Tiongco on the other hand said it is welcoming to see the coming together of the military, the police, the local government unit, the barangay and the private sector in this initiative.

“We hope to be able to continue these activities and develop stronger relationships, so that together, whether in times of crisis or not, we can help each other and accomplish more for our barangay,” Tiongco said.

Annie Paner, VMC’s Vice Chairman of the Board, lauded the initiative saying, “community resilience is the key to progress,” and assured the community of the company’s continued support to ensure that the barangay can achieve their goals towards a more peaceful and healthy environment.

BERT Purisima graduates include Barangay Captain Cresencio Sombero, Jr. with Kagawads Marnie Cabuncal, Nestor Bacatan, Rafael Paparon, Rico Prino, Giovanni Santillan, and Mark Lenin M. Fuentes along with 23 other health and peace and order community workers.

VMC also thanked DRRM team instructors Joseph D. Cato, Nechyll Y. Sanchez, Robert Y. Lorca Jr., Roman Mark Martinez, John Lozano, Jomarie Matavia, Marvin Bagasina and John Mark Blanca.

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