Joint Task Force Malampaya holds search and rescue exercise

Jervis Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 09 2018 10:26 PM

EL NIDO, Palawan - To further strengthen disaster response in El Nido, Joint Task Force Malampaya and its private partners conducted their first ever Search and Rescue Inter-Operability Simulated Exercise Friday.

Such undertaking develops cohesiveness among the community and it facilitates faster emergency response, said Col. Lauro Tianchon, commander of Joint Task Force Malampaya.

"Mahalaga yung pagsasama-sama dito, kasi mas maganda kung magkakasama ang WesCom at mga private sector. Lalo na't kami ang tumutugon sa mga nangyayari dito sa El Nido" Tianchon added.

This year, at least three boats were involved in sea mishaps in El Nido.

"Accidents do happen. And when they do, we must be able to respond efficiently," Benjamin Jay Lopez, president and director of INAEC Aviation Corporation told ABS-CBN News.

INAEC Aviation Corporation is among the companies that took part in the project. It is a private Lopez-owned aviation company that mainly services the natural gas project in Malampaya.

Two scenarios were staged to sharpen JTF Malampaya's abilities in emergency response. The first one is locating and rescuing people from a capsized boat, and the second is rescuing passengers of a ditched aircraft.

Inter-operability exercises test coordination between land, naval, and aerial assets. The exercises were monitored from a hangar inside El Nido's airport.

JTF Malampaya said it's crucial for everyone to be ready and alert in case real emergencies occur especially in El Nido, which is composed of vast waters and numerous islands. Thousands of local and foreign tourists sail El Nido waters daily to do some island hopping.

The local government of El Nido lauded the initiative. Municipal administrator RJ Dela Calzada said El Nido prioritizes safety and security because the municipality has high risk of terrorism, among other threats.