Press Release
September 30, 2011


With the country constantly exposed to natural disasters, the government should institutionalize its search and rescue forces, Senator Chiz Escudero said.

Through Philippine Senate Resolution Number 575 (PSN 575), Escudero, chairman of the senate committee on environment and natural resources, asked fellow senators to look into the government's search and rescue capability and clearly define the policy to enhance and strengthen disaster preparedness effort of the state. It also seeks to provide a magna carta for rescue workers and improve the provisions of Republic Act No. 10121.

"We urgently need to systematically develop our human, technical and equipment capacity and resources to adequately respond to natural and man-made disasters. Recent disasters like typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy, which left thousands dead and homeless, have shown the vulnerabilities and limited capacities of our rescue units and workers," Escudero explained.

The senator said the lack of defined policies and valuable resources stretched the capacity of the government to the limit to respond to such life-threatening calamities.

"We need a working and institutionalized mechanism that will enhance the rescue capability and performance of our rescue workers. We should be able to develop a rescue force we can mobilize anytime without the fear of exceeding their own rescue capabilities," Escudero added.

In the aftermath of the Japan and New Zealand earthquakes, the Philippines offered to send help to these countries by sending an urban and search rescue task force. The team, however, found it difficult to acquire a permit to be admitted and deployed since it was not accredited by the United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (UN- INSARAG).

"As a country, which is unfortunately frequented by natural calamities many times over in a year, we should already build, establish and continuously strengthen the capacity of our rescue forces so we can easily mobilize forces to avoid loss of lives and properties," Escudero said.

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