With over 13,000 local projects under its wing, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) found it necessary to train its personnel on basic water survival and safety skills to prepare them for any eventuality as they monitor the implementation of these projects which are sometimes located across rivers and seas.
DILG Secretary Ismael ‘Mike’ D. Sueno said the first batch of personnel who underwent an orientation on water safety instruction and simulation of donning personal floatation device also known as life jacket were the engineers from the Office of Project Development Services (OPDS), DILG Region VIII Project Development and Management Units (PDMU) and Provincial PDMUs.
“The safety of our people is our foremost concern. This is why we are sending them to trainings such as this so that they will be able to survive unforeseen water emergencies during their site visits and project validation,” Sueno said.
The facilitator, Mr. Ian Goldfinch, Project Management Officer of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID) discussed basic water safety instructions, proper attire for water rescue, proper breathing in water, and safety signals.
“For a country located in the Pacific with over 7,000 islands surrounded by water, Filipinos are expected to be great swimmers,” Goldfinch said.
Noting that a number of the DILG engineers do not know how to swim, he shared his knowledge on water safety and on how to survive during unexpected situations while travelling by sea or by water to validate or visit projects.
Water panic no more
Participants to the said activity expressed their appreciation to the DILG and AVID for this undertaking.
Engr. Noreen Bolo shared that it only takes 10-30 seconds of panic for an adult to drown and 80% of the drowning victims never had a single swimming lesson.
“During the simulation activity, a number of the participants showed genuine fear even with floatation device tied to their bodies. Just like anything, it’s scary at first,” Engr. Bolo said.
Even with the initial fear, many of the participants took baby steps and learned to embrace the newfound ability to float with the aid of the life jacket.
Local Government Operations Officer (LGOO) II Jenny Grace Rosette said that she is indebted to DILG for undertaking this activity in looking after the safety of the DILG personnel especially during field works.
“As an inexperienced swimmer, the activity enabled me to build my confidence in swimming,” Rosette said.