When Typhoon Chedeng (International Name Maysak) made landfall in Baler, Aurora, something new was waiting for it. The Private Sector Disaster Management Network (PSDMN) – Rescue Recon Reliable Rapid Response (PSDMNR5) Team was already pre-positioned in the municipality in anticipation of needed rescue and disaster recovery services should the typhoon wreak havoc and devastation.
When the Typhoon was also detected to hit other towns, namely, Dilasag and Casiguran, the Rapid Response Team split into two where the other half proceeded to these towns known for landslides during heavy rain. Fortunately, Typhoon Chedeng was not as destructive as it was anticipated; hence, no loss of lives has been reported with minimal economic impact and disruption to business and livelihoods.
The idea of sending a private rapid response team is part of NRDMC’s whole-of-society approach to disaster response and management. NDRRMC head Undersecretary Alexander P. Pama emphasized this during the debriefing meeting at the NDRRMC Conference Room last April 7, when the PSDMNR5 Team returned home to Manila from their provincial deployment.
Private Sector Disaster Management Network (PSDMN) Chairman Col. Alejandro “Alex” T. Escaño declared during the debriefing that he will be looking for more resources to enhance the team’s disaster logistics by adding more ambulances as he envisions more Rapid Response Teams in the immediate future so that more areas can be assisted in case of more disasters take place.
The creation of a Rapid Response Team was the idea of CDR Peter P. Negrido PCGA. Negrido, a professional rescuer and an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) who was part of the search and rescue team for the ill-fated Cebu Pacific Flight 387 that crashed in Mt. Sumagaya in Cagayan de Oro in 1998. His first Rapid Response Team under the Rescue Recon banner was in response to Typhoon Yolanda where his team was deployed in Guiuan, Eastern Samar. After this, they also responded to Typhoon Ruby last December 2014 and went to Borongan City, Eastern Samar, this time under the banner of the combined PSDMN-Rescue Recon.
Aurora Province Governor, Atty. Gerardo A. Noveras, Baler Mayor Nelianto Bihasa, San Luis Mayor Annabelle C. Tangson, Dilasag Mayor Victorio Briones and Casiguran Mayor Dr. Ricardo Bitong expressed their thanks to the group as well as to the NDRRMC for demonstrating the commitment of the national government to provide support to local government units (LGUs) affected by typhoons and other disasters.
The PSDMNR5 Team also worked closely with the local counterparts from the provincial and municipal DRRMOs, Bureau of Fire, Coast Guard, PNP, 7ID, DOH, DSWD, DPWH and DOST-PAGASA. The PSDMNR5 Team comprised of volunteers remains committed to be in places where they are needed. Their motto captures the team spirit and passion – ready to serve, ready to save so that others may live.