Preparing for any eventuality

WITH the initiatives made by CALABARZON police director Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao Jr., it’s now the turn for the top officials from the five provinces to replicate the creation and activation of the so-called Crisis Management Committee (CMC) which will help them prepared for any eventuality that may lead to a crisis situation like the Aug 23, 2010 Quirino Grandstand hostage-taking incident.

Pagdilao, a lawyer who obviously knows the business in dealing with such critical situation being a veteran police officer especially in urban anti-crime campaign, is bringing his expertise to the region a move which he just wants it to be doubly ready in handling matters that seem to go beyond one’s know-how and resources.

Determined to make them fully aware about the local officials’ roles in managing crisis situation, Pagdilao initiates the holding of series of seminar-workshop, the latest of which, takes place in Batangas province with no less than Gov. Vilma Santos who was all praises for him for introducing to them the interim rules in handling any eventuality like the Luneta hostage-taking fiasco which left eight Chinese Hong Kong tourists dead.

In quick response, Santos orders the creation of CMC which she will lead and will be composed of several government units and the provincial police force. Moreover, she directs the municipal and city mayors under her turf to replicate the activation of crisis management at their own level.

According to Pagdilao, the creation of the interim rules as well as the media protocol on media coverage that the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has crafted which defines the roles of the media during coverage of crisis situation was in response to the absence of a specific rule to guide the CMC.

CMC interim rules were first introduced in Western Visayas when Pagdilao was then its regional director as part of the police’s proactive response to ensure that any crisis similar to the infamous Luneta hostage incident can be handled efficiently. The interim rules on CMC were later endorsed by the National Peace and Order Council to other regions for them to study and adopt it in dealing with crisis situations.

The interim rules stipulate that civilian authorities at the onset of the crisis should immediately convene the CMC and the Critical Incident Management Task Group (CIMTG), establish a command center and integrate and orchestrate all actions of government agencies involved for the immediate resolution of the crisis.

While the crisis is on-going, local executives who head the CMC shall supervise and monitor the progress of the crisis or hostage situation, process and decide on the hostage-takers’ demands. Likewise, the interim rules provide the conditions for the elevation of the crisis management to a higher level such as the Regional CMC or at the national level.

Pagdilao says that the interim rules also state that CMC chairman should not interfere with tactical and operational matters relative to the hostage situation and they should not be allowed to act as negotiators in a hostage crisis. These two functions are supposed to be left in the hands of the on-scene commander and the negotiating team, he points out.

With Pagdilao at the helm and with the entire regional (government and police) officials working as a team, CALABARZON is surely in the safe hands and its people can sleep soundly.

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