In preparation for a possible Senatorial election protest this year, a Gender Responsive Basic Safety Skills Training Workshop was organized for selected Tribunal personnel who constitute the ballot box collection / return teams as part of their training requirement prior to deployment.

Historically, some members of the ballot box collection / return teams experienced various health concerns such as injuries, motion and sea-sickness, and food-related illnesses, while in the field. A number of unforeseen incidents endangering their life, such as encounters with communist rebels and terrorists in their assigned areas, likewise occurred.  As their safety, security, and wellbeing are of paramount importance, the ballot box collection / return teams underwent a series of training on basic first aid, water safety and survival, and self-defense.

On 20 April 2022, the Training on Basic First Aid by the JGT Safety Training Center and ILEAD MEDIC School for Health Care Sciences, Inc. was held.  It provided the participants with the essential information and skills to handle sudden injuries or illnesses in order to prevent serious medical conditions. Simple bandaging techniques and correct cardiopulmonary resuscitation were among the subject matters demonstrated and practiced. Likewise included was the proper use of an automated external defibrillator.

As sea travel is inevitable during ballot box collection / return activities, the participants attended the Basic Water Safety and Survival Skills Training by the Excellence and Competency Training Center, Inc. on 21-22 April 2022.  Instructions on safety and emergency protocols aboard a water vessel, the proper use of life-saving appliances, and open water survival techniques were among the topics thoroughly explained. To reinforce these theoretical lessons, basic swimming drills and practical exercises were carried out in the pool and in the sea. 

As stated, learning basic self-defense is imperative as collection / return teams possibly face death threats, terrorist or criminal attacks, or robberies during deployment. Thus, a Basic Self-Defense Training by the International Krav Maga Federation Philippines was conducted on 27 April 2022. During this training, the participants were taught, among others, instinctive movements to counter knife attacks and threats, and the use of ordinary items, such as bags and chairs, as assault shields.

With the participants’ eagerness to learn, positive energy, and full cooperation, the four-day in-person training workshop was indeed a success. Undoubtedly, the ballot box collection / return teams have gained more knowledge and valuable skills not only vital to the performance of their official duties and responsibilities but likewise indispensable to confidently deal with emergencies and dangers.