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MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – Marking the 11th Rescue MARCH in the country, 56 rescue teams from all over northern Mindanao converged here on July 31 to cap the National Disaster Resilience Month observance
Rescue MARCH, which stands for Mass Assembly for Rescue and Care for Humanity, is a simulation exercise designed to train the responders to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that would render access to roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, including communications, impossible.
Over 600 participants marched almost seven kilometers from Mt. Moriah Camp, the staging area, to the Capitol Grounds, the “ground zero” simulation area where their teams did rescue operations. These teams were assessed on their capabilities in responding to specific scenarios, testing their endurance and camaraderie at ground zero.
Office of Civil Defense (OCD)-10 Assistant Regional Director Gilbert Conde reminded the participants that there are no perfect responses to emergencies or disasters, but he hoped such exercises would continue.
“Nakita namo nga naay need nga training nga pagabuhaton. Ang kulang nato is ang venue nga ing-ani nga mag-practice. We will continue training ourselves and our LGUs for us to attain a resilient northern Mindanao [We saw the need to conduct training like this. What we need is a venue like this to practice. We will continue training ourselves and our LGUs for us to attain a resilient Northern Mindanao],” Conde said.
For his part, Martin T. Aguda Jr. of the National Organizing Committee for Rescue MARCH said the Northern Mindanao responders are almost there in terms of being resilient, as he observed that even at the staging area.
“Despite the limited resources, everything was utilized and brought to the simulation area as if they were in a real situation, responding to ground zero,” Aguda said.
On the other hand, Bukidnon Governor Rogelio Neil Roque explained that natural disasters are certain to happen since nobody can control nature. He, however, emphasized that all must prepare for how to act when natural disasters come.
The Rescue MARCH Northern Mindanao Challenge 2023 was the 11th held in the country. (DCC/PIA-10)