VALENZUELA City Search and Rescue Unit (SRU) has been recognized by the National Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) as one of the best among its counterparts in Metro Manila.

Visibly-elated Mayor Rex Gatchalian, in a phone conversation with this writer, confirms that the local government received last month the 18th ‘Gawad KALASAG’ for the National Capital Region’s (NCR) Best in Government Emergency Management (GEM) – Urban Search and Rescue Category during the awarding ceremony held last month at the Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Hotel.

Gawad KALASAG or the Search for Excellence in Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) and Humanitarian Assistance is the premiere award on disaster preparedness and response in the country.

It was given to the city for maintaining an outstanding system of operations and facilities in place, which allows rescue personnel to respond at the soonest possible time without jeopardizing both their and the client’s safety, according to Zyan Caiña, the city’s public information officer.

For his part, Dr. Arnaldo Antonio, head of Valenzuela City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (VCDRRMO), gave the credit to Gatchalian and his administration for the recognition.

“The best reason why we got the award is due to the support of the local chief executive (Gatchalian) since he prioritizes disaster preparedness,” Dr. Antonio said.

He said further that the proper allocation of the city’s fund and the dedicated rescuers who render their services beyond measure are the other reasons why the VCDRRMO won.

Aside from SRU, Caiña said the Pio Valenzuela Elementary School has bagged the 2nd Place in the Public School Category, while Polo National High School received a Certificate of Appreciation for joining in this year’s search.

The NDRRMC conducts the annual Gawad KALASAG (KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan, Sariling Galing ang Kaligtasan) search to encourage the participation of different groups, institutions and individuals in fulfilling the disaster risk and reduction-related policies and strategies in protecting the communities that are prone from calamities brought about by nature and humans. GOOD RIDDANCE/ARLIE CALALO

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