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Coast Guard trains Boracay lifeguards

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has conducted a training for some 200 lifeguards on Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan as part of preparations for the tourist hotpot’s reopening on October 26.

The lifeguards, who have completed their training, are personnel of resorts and hotels near the island’s long White beachfront, Capt. Allan Victor dela Vega, district commander of PCG 6 (Western Visayas), said on Tuesday.

“We want all the resort owners and hotels to be responsible to have qualified lifeguards,” dela Vega said. “The mere fact that they are operating resorts and they are at the beachfront, they should share in providing qualified lifeguards.”

The PCG is eyeing two lifeguards for each resort and hotel.

Following the closure of Boracay since April 26 to pave the way for the island’s rehabilitation, the PCG was able to audit the safety measures of the resorts and hotels, especially establishments with swimming pools.

While the resorts and hotels have lifeguards, they lack the proper training, dela Vega said, adding other establishments do not even have qualified ones.

The training course, which began last Aug. 6 with 25 to 30 trainees per week, includes 32 hours of water safety course, four hours of first aid course and four hours of basic life support, dela Vega said.

Those who have completed the training course received a certificate from the PCG that they are now qualified lifeguards.

Dela Vega said they prioritized the training of swimmers who lack techniques on safeguarding, followed by the newbies.

“We accept that they are swimmers. We just teach them the right technique and the right operation of rescue equipment,” he said. “The training is still ongoing so that by the opening, all the resorts and hotels on the island would have qualified lifeguards.”

Besides training lifeguards, dela Vega said the PCG plans to conduct oil spill response and combat exercise before Boracay’s reopening.

“This is to strengthen our defense and protection in case an oil spill happens in the area,” he said.

A total of 50 Coast Guard personnel with different specializations are helping in the rehabilitation efforts of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force. One response vessel is also securing the island.

Dela Vega said the PCG may add more personnel and another response vessel before the reopening.#