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911 Davao

This past Wednesday one of the Ex-Pat organizations I belong to, Friends of Mindanao, had a field trip to visit the Command Center of 911 Davao City.

I am writing this from memory, so I ask for forgiveness of any errors.

We were greeted by Colonel Mario Verner Monsanto (Ret.), a retired military officer. In 1997 he was asked by the Mayor of Davao City to set up a disaster relief organization that became 911 Davao.

Davao is only one of the 2 functional 911 in the country.

The first thing that I noticed was the facility was very modern with modern desks and cubicles. We were escorted into the conference room where Mario gave us a presentation about the history and functions of the 911 center and their areas of responsibilities.

The Central 911 team is composed of the following:

> Urban Search and Rescue Services – USAR
> Fire Auxiliary Services – FAS
> Emergency Medical Services – EMS
> K9 Unit
> Police

They have a call center there where all calls come in. At that point they will dispatch any resource that is needed to help out the caller in distress.

Something else that is not available in most US cities, you can dial 911 from any landline or cell phone, no matter what cell service you are using. Also if the caller runs out of load (minutes as in US) they will call them back.

They have 10 Ambulances that will go out for any life threatening condition. Asking if someone has a problem that is not life threatening I was told that they will dispatch a police care to assist the person in need.

They support security at the airport with their K9 unit.

Not like in the US where the professional Fire Department Paramedic Service charges for responces, here in Davao there is no charge.

The majority of calls are for the police and disturbances, It is nice to see all the areas are available.

Something about Davao City that amazed me was the size. Davao City covers an area that in America would be called a county. There is downtown but there are rural areas that takes an hour or so to drive to that is still part of Davao City.

We asked about their support in other areas. They will go to other cities or provinces to assist but that order must come from the Mayor. A few years ago there were floods and most of a town in Leyte, in the Eastern Visayas region was covered with a major mudslide, they sent some rescue personnel to assist.

They would like to have a HazMat unit but the equipment and training is too expensive and difficult to get.

With the wonderful work they do, I hope one day some organization in the US or Europe or Asia will offer to train and donate the equipment to make Davao 911 as fully functional as their counterparts in other parts of our world.

I command and thank the City of Davao, Mayor Dutarte, Colonel Mario Verner Monsanto (Ret.) and all his personnel for all their good work and I hope and pray they will continue and grow as time goes on.

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