Procurement of swift water search and rescue equipment this year

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BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Bontoc municipal government will procure swift water search and rescue equipment this year.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin C. Odsey, chair the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), made this pronouncement during a post-evaluation meeting of the council on November 25, 2020, at the Bontoc Emergency Operations Center. Also present during the meeting were search team leaders of community volunteers and the family of Kyneihner Waggay Sawi, the 11- year old boy who drowned on November 22, 2020, at the Kadchog section of the Chico River whose body was found floating at the Chico River in Sitio Alawey, Barangay Tocucan, Bontoc after three days of search, rescue, and retrieval operations.

During the meeting, the mayor recognized that swift water search and rescue equipment are important in increasing responders’ capacity in disaster situations and  greatly hasten search and rescue operations.

Among the equipment to be procured by the municipal government through the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) are thermal swimsuits, underwater flashlights, diver goggles, fishnets, and additional life vests.

Aside from this, the municipal government will allocate a separate fund for the conduct of Swift Water Search and Rescue Training to the individuals in the barangays next year.

The municipal government, through MDRRMO, earlier purchased life vests, Kernmantle ropes, and flotation rings. Also, all the 16 barangays of Bontoc were covered in Basic Life Support (BLS) trainings in the previous years.

In addition, members of the Bontoc Emergency Response Team (BERT) underwent training on mountain search and rescue and water search and rescue.

Meanwhile, the mayor commended the workforce for the orderly search, rescue, and retrieval operations with the establishment of an Incident Command Post with F/INSP Roy Mayao, the Fire Marshall of Bontoc Municipal Fire Station, as the Incident Commander on the ground.

Likewise, Odsey expressed his gratitude to all responders, community volunteers, and the public who extended their help and offered prayers adding that the tragic incident once again has brought forth the best of the Ifontok og-ogfo, but he added that government must improve its capabilities to respond to similar situations.

In response, Johan John Paquito, a relative of the victim extended the gratitude of Waggay and Sawi Families to everyone.

Kyneihner, who was fondly called as Kayno in the ili, is described as a boy with a few words, but who always smiles, his captivating smile so infectious for everyone he meets.

His teachers at the Bontoc Central School (BCS) grieve for the loss of a pupil whom they consider as their child too, remembering him as a child who is kind, obedient, respectful, responsible, and courteous.

Rebecca B. Paspas, Kayno’s adviser in 4th Grade reminisces the kindness of the young boy to his classmates. According to her, Kayno has never been involved in fistfights with his classmates. He excelled in Mathematics, but never did he boast about it. He stands to answer confidently whenever called by his teacher. His teacher, Rebecca added that Kayno is also interested in volleyball and usually joins the said sports during school intramurals.

Another teacher of Kayno in 3rd Grade at the BCS mentioned that he is an obedient pupil and a responsible brother to his younger sister. Accordingly, he always watches over his younger sister even if he is with his friends.

In keeping with cultural practices and tradition, his remains was interred before daybreak on November 26, 2020 at the Bontoc Public Cemetery. By Alpine L. Killa