The Office of the Civil Defense in Ilocos Region is urging volunteer groups to be accredited and join the regional disaster and risk management councils. 'Napakahalaga tulong na ibinibigay ng volunteer group in implementation disaster management dahil nakikita natin whole of society approach na kung saan mula sa ibat ibang sector ng lipunan ay nagkakasama para matugunan pangangailangan ng mga komunidad (Volunteer groups are of great help in the implementation of disaster management because we see the whole-of-nation approach here wherein different sectors of the society come together to address the need of the community),' OCD Ilocos Region spokesperson Mark Masudog said in a telephone interview on Monday. He added that volunteer groups aid in conducting disaster management not only in rescuing but also in increasing the awareness of the community about the risk and hazards of their community. He said the volunteer groups serve as links or bridges between the government and the communities. 'We are continuously accepting non-government organizations and civil society organizations to become partners of the disaster management council in the region,' he added. Masudog said three volunteer groups are active members of the disaster management council in the region. He said with the wider efforts through the volunteer groups, the actions are also more comprehensive in terms of disaster management and saving lives. Cooperative Development Authority Ilocos Regional Director Frederick Joe Robles, in a program on Saturday, encouraged the new members of a volunteer group to have passion, purpose, and practicality, and to stay motivated. 'We must teach each and every one to be first responders,' he said. Robles himself was trained under the Search and Rescue Unit Foundation (SARUF), a volunteer group since 2010. SARUF founding president Gerardo Carual said it is the group's objective to make every able and willing Filipino to become a rescuer. He said they will be conducting a national training caravan in Manaoag, Mapandan, and San Fabian towns and around the country specifically in hazardous areas starting with their 40 newly inducted members from the National Capital Region and Pampanga province.
Source: Philippines News Agency