Bohol first responders meet US safety officials

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Oct. 22, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino first responders Dr. Glicerio Petran Doloritos, Mark Sidney Du Galia, and Meinard Tocmo Butalid arrived in San Francisco during the annual Fleet Week.

Before the members of the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard, the three Filipinos shared how they were able to save the lives of many kababayans during last year’s typhoon even with limited equipment and manpower.

“This is part of a more challenging way of showcasing not only who we are as Boholanos,” said Dr. Glicerio Petran Doloritos, Prov. Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer, “As well as the opportunities of talking to them, discussing ideas, exchanging notes with them.”

“It’s funny though, because primarily the objective is for us to share our experiences,” said Mark Sidney Du Galla, Head of ER, Management/Training Director of TARSIER 117, “But what really happens is we learn a lot from them.”

Their visit to, and training in the United States was not limited to San Francisco.

“We will be going to New York to meet also our colleagues there in the Home Reach Foundation and the New York Police Department,” said Meinard Tocmo Butalid, Chief Ops Officer of TARSIER 117.

The first responders were also able to get hands-on training from the San Francisco Fire Department in tactical urban search and rescue.

They shared training experience with U.S. Marines by working together to complete the exercises.

“It’s just great to have international partners out here to refine operations, to do the information sharing, and actually to learn what the guy on the other fence is doing,” said William Waugaman, 1st Medical Def. Civil Support Planner.

The first responders were able to personally thank San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee for his efforts in gathering proceeds for the families that were devastated by typhoon.

The first responders say that Bohol is in an on-going process of rebuilding, but they have been making great progress. They wish to invite all kababayans in the United States to visit Bohol and witness the reconstruction.

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