By Antonio Colina IV
DAVAO CITY – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa said the police forces in Davao City are 95 percent ready to handle crisis situations.
The statement was made Wednesday aftyer the PNP conducted the Southern Storm Exercises, an anti-terrorism and crisis management drill at the Abreeza Mall here.
Dela Rosa told reporters that there has been no letup in PNP’s preparation to efficiently deal with the crisis situations similar to Marawi siege wherein government forces engaged Islamic State-inspired Maute Group for nearly five months.
Dela Rosa, director of the Davao City Police Office from 2012 to 2013, said the authorities here are trained, prepared, and equipped to respond to any crisis situation but staging a simulation exercise (Simex) was necessary to strengthen coordination among law enforcement agencies, city and barangay officials during a crisis situation.
“Ginawa ang Simex na ito, dahil nakita nating yung weakest link natin is coordination. Ginawa ang Simex para coordinated lahat – interoperability ma-establish (We did the Simex because our weakest link is coordination, we did the Simex so that we can become more cooperated and interoperability can be established),” Dela Rosa said.
Around 10 government agencies participated in the exercises conducted to “ensure a whole-of-nation approach in responding to crisis.”
The Special Operations Unit of PNP Aviation Security Group in coordination with Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) simulated its response to a hijacked aircraft filled with actors as passengers, aircraft pilots and crew at Davao City International Airport.
There was also a simulated scenario on bombing incident, response to active shooter, hostage taking, dragnet operations, lockdown protocol, border security, counter-insurgency operations, and crisis management by DCPO with the Task Force Davao, Public Safety and Security Command Center, Davao Central 911, and barangays at the Abreeza Mall.
An exercise on the maritime interdiction operation was also done by Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Force and the PNP Maritime Group at the Davao Gulf.
“So far, from my end, the way I observe the proceedings I was very much satisfied. This was very comprehensive as all possible manmade disasters that can happen in Davao were all covered. Ang kulang na lang ay (what’s left is) natural calamity,” he said.
PNP Deputy Director General for Operations Camilo Pancratius Cascolan said there is a need to test the interoperability of the PNP with other government agencies, private sectors, and stakeholders to address the threats of terrorism and related emergencies to ensure that every personnel will know what to do under such circumstances.
“We do the simulation exercises for us to know our weaknesses and, at the same time, use our strengths,” he said.