This is an Entry to the Government Best Practice Recognition Awards
Provincial Government of Bulacan (PGB)
Best practice Focus Area(s)
Social and environmental responsibility, Process management and improvement
The Bulacan Rescue Project, launched on August 15, 2009, is the flagship initiative of the Provincial Government of Bulacan and one of the pioneer government emergency response management projects in Central Luzon that provides 24/7 emergency services and assistance before, during, and/or immediately after a disaster, force majeure or man-made, to save lives, reduce health impacts, and ensure the safety of the people within and outside the Province. The project was an innovation at the time and contributed greatly to the rise of the relevance and importance of the government emergency response sector that it has today.
Background and Problem
The Province of Bulacan has a risk of damages from natural hazards such as tropical cyclones, earthquakes, tsunami, and liquefaction. The significant damages brought about by typhoons in the 2000s not only to Bulacan but the entire Philippines challenged the national government and LGUs to make Disaster Risk Reduction and Management a priority. Additionally, being one of the most populous and busiest provinces in the country, Bulacan is also vulnerable to human-induced incidents such as vehicular accidents, fires, and medical emergencies. The Bulacan Rescue Project aims to address the need of Bulakenyos of an alert, consistently well-trained, and properly equipped emergency response service system that can manage and perform rescue operations in both natural calamities and human-induced incidents.
Solution and Impact
The main components of Bulacan Rescue are its Operations Center and its personnel. An important step in starting Bulacan Rescue is the establishment of the Operations Center (OpCen) and its Functional Standard Operating Procedures. The OpCen is equipped with communications technology that enables real-time information availability and single information flow across all government emergency notification and response channels that can also integrate citizen information. This also lets Bulacan Rescue have a timely mobilization of dispatch units, better coordination during emergencies, and an ability to keep up with constantly changing conditions. A wide variety of rescue vehicles and equipment are also available at the OpCen to be able to properly respond to any kind of scenario as much as possible. Another important step is providing constant training for its personnel.
Responders have undergone vital training such as Standard First Aid Training (SFAT), Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR), Water Search and Rescue (WaSaR), and Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support (BLS & ACLS) Training, among several others. In its 10 years of service, Bulacan Rescue has performed numerous emergency response operations that have preserved and protected lives and properties. At the times of natural calamities and emergencies, they were always among the first to respond. However, they perform not only during the peak of natural disasters but have also assisted in pre- and post-disaster procedures. Beyond rescue operations, as a part of the Provincial DRRM Office, Bulacan Rescue also takes part in campaigns about disaster and emergency preparedness and what to do when calamities strike.
Bulacan Rescue personnel are not just responders but are also excellent trainers. The conduction of training for various local rescue teams are done almost every week, and sometimes even in multiple cities/municipalities simultaneously. Bulacan Rescue has always tried to be a good example to the city/municipal DRRM offices and rescue squads, and even to other provinces. Its system that has been continually fine-tuned over time is being adapted and refined by these other units.
- Best Local Government Emergency Management and Response Team in the 21st Regional Gawad KALASAG (2019), after finishing 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively
- Played a big role to be awarded as Regional Gawad KALASAG Hall of Famer for being the Best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDDRMC) in Central Luzon (2010, 2011, 2012); and the most prestigious National Gawad KALASAG Hall of Fame award as the Best Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (2012, 2013, 2014).
- The Provincial Government of Bulacan has been awarded the Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) by the DILG for four consecutive years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), in which Disaster Preparedness is a core component. The PGB is now gunning for five straight SGLG certification.
- Part of the “One Bulacan” Team that finished second place in the Regional Rescue Olympics in 2018, and now hailed as the overall champion in the Regional Emergency Drill this June 2019
- Second runner-up, UNTV Rescue Summit 2018
- Commendations from government agencies in their rescue efforts such as the Plane Crash in Plaridel, Bulacan, and the Naga City, Cebu landslide in 2018; and the Chuzon Supermarket Collapse this 2019, among several others.