Boracay Island will be reopened to tourists starting October 26. As part of the preparations, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has completed their training with some 200 lifeguards in Malay, Aklan.
According to District Commander of PCG 6 (Western Visayas) Capt. Allan Victor Dela Vega, the lifeguards are employed by resorts and hotels near the island’s long white beachfront.
“We want all the resort owners and hotels to be responsible to have qualified lifeguards,” said Dela Vega. “The mere fact that they are operating resorts and they are at the beachfront, they should share in providing qualified lifeguards.”
Two lifeguards per resort and hotel is the target of the PCG.
Lifeguards Lacking Training
Captain Dela Vega added that the opportunity to audit the safety measures of the resorts and hotels in Boracay came during the Island’s closure. Although the resorts and hotels have lifeguards, most of them are not qualified because they lack training.
25 to 30 trainees per week went through training that started on August 6. The training course involves 32 hours of water safety course, four hours of basic life support, and four hours of first aid course.
All those who have completed the training were given a certificate as a qualified lifeguard by the PCG.
Dela Vega mentions prioritizing the training of swimmers who lack techniques on safeguarding. They were then followed by the newbies.
“We accept that they are swimmers. We just teach them the right technique and the right operation of rescue equipment,” Dela Vega said. “The training is still ongoing so that by the opening, all the resorts and hotels on the island would have qualified lifeguards.”
More than just lifeguards
Aside from lifeguard trainings, oil spill responses and combat exercise are also in the pipeline according to Dela Vega.
“This is to strengthen our defense and protection in case an oil spill happens in the area,” he said.
50 members of Coast Guard that have different specializations are helping in the rehabilitation efforts of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force. One response vessel is also being used to secure the island.
Captain Dela Vega said that they are planning to add more personnel and another response vessel before Boracay’s reopening.
via Philippine News Agency / Cindy Ferrer