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MMDA to open Disaster Preparedness Training Center for emergency responders

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The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) plans to set up a Disaster Preparedness Training Center to train emergency and calamity responders in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters.

The primary goal of the center is to improve and institutionalize disaster response measures in the metropolis and to provide a safe, conducive, and controlled learning environment to prepare individuals and stakeholders for emergency situations and matters related to public safety.

According to MMDA Acting Chairman Atty. Don Artes, the MMDA Disaster Preparedness Training Center was conceptualized after the agency saw the gaps in the capacity-building and training of rescuers following an earthquake that hit Abra province in October last year.

The MMDA aims to empower rescuers and provide immediate assistance to those affected by disasters through this center.

Moreover, the Disaster Preparedness Training Center is a preventive measure to minimize the impact of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, dubbed “The Big One,” on Metro Manila. According to the 2004 Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study (MMEIRS) conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a disaster of this magnitude may result in the death of at least 35,000 people, with 120,000 injured, and an economic loss reaching 2.5 trillion pesos.

The center will be constructed on the Carmona Sanitary Landfill in Cavite City, with a lot area of more than one hectare. It will be equipped with the necessary facilities and tools to provide experiential learning opportunities to participants.

The training center will feature four facilities: Rappelling tower, Confined Space Structure, Wrecked Building with Structure Rubble Pile, and Pancake Collapsed Structure, designed to provide trainees with practical and hands-on experience in rescue scenarios.

Initially, the center will cater to the 17 Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Offices (MDRRMOs), and later to other government agencies, barangay auxiliaries, fire volunteer groups in the Metropolis, and rescuers from other provinces.

Interested rescuers must undergo a medical clearance to ensure physical fitness to participate in the training. The MMDA will provide a two-week trainer’s training using existing equipment, such as life locators and vibrascopes, among others, to produce more rescuers that can extend immediate disaster response assistance to nearby areas should an earthquake occur.

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The MMDA also plans to purchase additional modern rescue equipment and position them in four quadrants in Metro Manila, as stated in the Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, or the Metro Manila Earthquake Contingency Plan.

The Disaster Preparedness Training Center is expected to open before the end of the year. The MMDA sent its contingent as part of the Philippine rescue team to Turkey, which was recently struck by an earthquake.

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