Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) commended the agency’s seven-man retrieval and rescue team for a job well done in earthquake-torn Nepal even as he said that their short-lived stint recently in that South Asian state serves all the more as an eye-opener for Filipinos to buttress their collaborative efforts to cope with similar challenges in the event of a strong earthquake here.
In an interview with newsmen upon the arrival of the MMDA team today, Tolentino said the Kathmandu experience serves as an instrument not only to help the agency to better prepare and upgrade its Metro Yakal disaster preparedness program but will “peventually harmonize our forces from within so we can cope better against the forces from the outside like natural calamities and other exigencies.”
He said the team’s Nepal trip bore fruitful results as the members were able to learn the ability of how rescue operators from all over the world were able to group together to approach the challenges of the times and come to the aid of earthquake victims there.
“Our team was also there to conduct post-earthquake studies and they were able to learn how each rescuer coordinated with various rescue groups to form part of a synchronized global humanitarian effort to provide the expertise and assistance Nepal badly needs,” he said.
Even as this developed, Tolentino announced that the country’s big business groups, media outlets and even the Church have written him signifying their desire to tie-up with the MMDA and other concerned government agencies with the end in view of consolidating all efforts to address cluster-oriented concerns relating to disaster preparedness and confronting future eventualities.
The MMDA’s rescue team was deployed to Nepal last May 1 to assist in retrieval and rehabilitation operations following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 5,000 people.