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Gard Program Successful – CAAP

Gard Program
DHL Head of the GoHelp Program for Asia Pacific Carl Schelfhaut (in the middle, wearing an orange vest) with GARD Participants during the airport assessment portion of the workshop. (JERRY S. TAN)

THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) announced that with the cooperation of lead coordinator United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), lead trainer DHL Group, in-country advocate Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) and CAAP as the national civil aviation regulator, the fourth Get Airports Ready for Disaster (GARD) Program in the Philippines was successfully completed at Laguindingan Airport from Juoy 25 to 27, 2023.

CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said the GARD Program is a global public-private partnership aimed at supporting airports in planning for their role as logistical hubs in the event of natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, and landslides, as well as integrating the airport’s role in national emergency plans.

“The GARD Program was first launched in the Philippines in 2013 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City, with the second and third workshops being held at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in 2014 and at Clark International Airport (CRK) in 2022,” he added.

“CAAP is very proud and grateful to have Laguindingan Airport be the first CAAP airport to hold the workshop. CAAP has been coordinating with DHL on this workshop since 2016. Now, more than ever, we see the ever-growing importance of strengthening our airports’ resilience to disasters. Our airports serve as gateways crucial to the delivery of people, goods, and services, especially during emergencies and natural disasters. In the future, we hope that exercises such as GARD can be echoed to other CAAP-operated airports around the country as well,” said CAAP Director General Captain Manuel Antonio Tamayo.

Established in 2009, Apolonio said GARD aims to echo the demand for airport preparedness and response capacity of transportation hubs in the event of disasters. The program, launched in 60 airports in 28 countries, includes training personnel in handling the influx of goods and people during calamities, assisting authorities of the area in relief operations, and assessing the current state of concerned airports.

President of the PDRF, Rene Meily said, “I’d like to commend DHL for its excellent GARD program. They are truly an example of what a private enterprise can do to make the world a better and safer place.”

A total of 20 participants from the different units of Laguindingan Airport and attached agencies participated in the three-day workshop where they learned the methodologies of GARD, from finding solutions to bottlenecks in airport logistics during disasters to airport assessment and report writing. The event capped off with a discussion among the Partners and CAAP on ways forward.

“In catastrophic events, airports play a significant role as a logistics hub for critical life-saving supplies, materials and for search and rescue personnel. The Get Airports Ready for Disaster program targets to assess the readiness of airports for such events. UNDP will continue to work with PDRF, CAAP, and DHL so that we may roll out this initiative in other airports around the Philippines,” said UNDP Philippines Resident Representative, Dr. Selva Ramachandran.

“We are happy to have Laguindingan Airport participate in our GARD program after a successful workshop at the Clark International Airport last year. This is the fourth airport in the Philippines that we have conducted the program, and it highlights the importance that the Philippines Government has placed on ensuring its airports are resilient. The support we have received from all stakeholders has been crucial in ensuring the success of these GARD workshops in the country,” said Carl Schelfhaut, Head of the GoHelp Program for Asia Pacific, DHL.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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