By Terence Toriano
Kalibo, Aklan – The First International Japanese Water Survival Training known as Uitemate shall be conducted to 80 Aklanons from the Disaster Management Offices, DepEd Aklan Division Office, various private and public school educators, and other organizations at the Faith Village Gardens in Boracay Island on November 3, 2017 by the Society of Water Rescue and Survival Research (SWRSR) headed by Nagaoka University of Engineering Professor Hidetoshi Saito, with 19 other Instructors from Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and assisted by the SWRSR Branch Instructors in the Philippines based at MDRRMO Kalibo.
Uitemate literally means “floating” (Uite) and “waiting” (Mate).
This is a method developed by the Non-Profit Organization SWRSR where a person who may not be able to swim can simply float lying face up on the water and wait for rescue.
This technique had been instrumental in saving numerous lives during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami where a 9.0 Magnitude Earthquake devastated the Tohoku Area in March of 2011 killing more than 15,000 people.
A moving story of survival on that fateful day when children and faculty from a seaside elementary school in Higashi-Matsushima City is forced to evacuate to their school gymnasium in the minutes following the quake where they were caught by the rising waters by the tsunami but they survived by using the Uitemate technique.
It is on the same month last year, through the effort of former Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer Tatsuya Hada, SWRSR from Japan with 20 instructors and 10 students arrived in Kalibo, Aklan to conduct the 1st Uitemate Instructor Course to nearly a hundred teachers, Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Staff, Emergency Responders, and academic professionals in two separate locations, at the 3rd Floor Conference Hall of LGU Kalibo for the lectures and at the Provincial Sport Complex Pool at Calangcang, Makato, Aklan.
Mayor William Lachica welcomes the return of SWRSR since it also coincided with the celebration of the Kalibo Foundation Day where it is included as part of the activity since it is facilitated by MDRRMO Kalibo, the designated SWRSR Branch in the Philippines. Along with the international SWRSR team, guests from the Manila Polo Club, Dela Salle Santiago Zobel School, and Bago City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office shall also be visiting as contributing lecturers on water safety.
An Uitemate by the pool, the 3rd in the country shall then be conducted on November 6-7, 2017 in Bago City, Negros Occidental at the Buenos Aires Mountain Resort where the 20 Instructors and guests including this writer and JICA Volunteer Kazuyoshi Naito.PN