PDRF launches brown bag on crowd management; Highlights importance during emergencies

The Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation (PDRF) recently organized a Brown Bag Session on Effective Crowd Management during Emergencies and Special Events in Quezon City to strengthen the risk management plans of the private sector, government, and other stakeholders.

Fifty-three (53) participants from the private sector, local government units (LGUs), academe, and non-government organizations (NGOs) participated in the pioneering session of the PDRF Brown Bag on crowd management.

“We faced many kinds of disasters: typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, [and] even armed conflicts. But crowd control is one thing [we also need to prepare with].  It’s a unique type of threat that we might face someday, and it could be very unexpected,” said PDRF President Butch Meily.

During the session, Operations Director Arnel Capili highlighted the goal of the Brown Bag in promoting socialization among various sectors and stakeholders through a learning series, allowing the exchange of knowledge and insights about certain topics among participants. As per this session, participants were engaged in simulation activities, commonly occurring in crowds, that could potentially lead to emergencies. Resource persons also presented local and international case studies to highlight the critical role of crowd management in events and disaster emergencies. Hence, the scope of the emergency was expanded to include an unforeseen factor, unmanaged crowds, as a secondary hazard.

Security and Emergency Management Professional, Martin Aguda Jr., CEM emphasized that crowd management is a unique and necessary topic in disaster risk and emergency management.

“I would say that this is a very unique topic in the field of [disaster risk reduction]. ‘Related ba s’ya sa DRR or emergency management?’, Yes, it is. It’s a form of crowd disaster,” Aguda Jr. said.

“The idea is to ensure na yung gusto naming ma-establish sa Makati na ‘culture of preparedness’, you make disaster resilience a way of life – If that is our vision in Makati, we’ll have to make sure that Makati wants to be seen na pinupuntahan o mapapakinabangan hindi lang ng mga regular naming residente o mga regular na pumupunta don. [Kundi] pati yung mga gumagawa ng mga simpleng event, o bonggang event, they will still feel safe wherever [in Makati] they are.” said Liza Vell Ramos, Research and Planning Chief at Makati Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office.

Given the positive feedback received during the training, Capili expressed hopes to have this series progress into more sessions in the future.