26 June 2018 – The Philippines through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) opens the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) 2018 Asia-Pacific Regional Earthquake Response Exercise (AP-ERE) at Fontana Convention Center, Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. 

INSARAG is a global network under the United Nations umbrella dealing with Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) systems and mechanisms. For many years, INSARAG has held exercises in several countries with the aim to strengthen a country’s response capacity in a major earthquake disaster and to enhance its ability to work with international partners and agencies during the initial humanitarian phase.

For the third time, the Philippines is hosting the INSARAG as part of its constant efforts to pursue an External Classification for the Philippine Disaster Response Team.

According to the INSARAG, having teams classified according to a standard will enable disaster-affected countries to prioritize acceptance of international response support from Urban Search and Rescue Teams who can add proven value to their national capacity. The Insarag External Classification (IEC) is an independent, verifiable, voluntary process that has received unanimous acceptance through the INSARAG.

The Earthquake Response Exercise (ERE) seeks to test existing  protocols on disaster response and the interoperability of foreign USAR Teams and Emergency Medical Teams with their national and local counterparts during emergencies requiring international assistance.  The magnitude 7.2 earthquake in Greater Metro Manila Area (GMMA) generated from the West Valley Fault will be the exercise scenario.

Twenty-seven (27) countries worldwide, representing various sectors from the government, non-government and international organizations, are expected to participate in the 5-day exercise which will conclude on 29 June 2018.

NDRRMC Chairperson and National Defense Secretary Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana graced the opening of INSARAG 2018 as guest of honor and speaker. Secretary Delfin N Lorenzana highlighted the significance of the exercise in enhancing the country’s response capacity and its ability to work with international humanitarian partners. 

“We are glad that through this exercise, our local rescuers would be able to supplement existing capacity in International Urban Search and Rescue. And as a whole, our country’s national response capacity will be strengthened.”, says Secretary Lorenzana.

Philippines hosted INSARAG in 2004 and 2008. #INSARAGPH is the official hashtag for the INSARAG Asia-Pacific Regional Earthquake Response Exercise 2018.