By Rey Anthony Chiu | 02:50 PM April 01, 2023

The Provincial Disaster and Risk Reduction Council (PDRRMC), considering the critical role of an accessible and operational decompression chamber in Bohol in the upcoming Bohol Dive Loop Festival 2023 (Bholdex 2023), is helping fund its immediate operationalization.

During its first quarter full council meeting march 31, the PDRRMC approved a resolution funding for the immediate repair, operation and operationalization of the facility, now resting unused, in Panglao, as critical emergency support for divers and patients who need immediate relief from decompression sickness.

A facility established through a tripartite agreement among Panglao Municipal Government, the Department of Tourism’s Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zones Authority (TIEZA) and the Philippine Council for Sustainable SCUBA Diving (PCSSD), the hyperbaric chamber was placed in Panglao as an immediate facility to relive sick divers who, during emergencies, surface from very deep dives, without allowing their body pressures to equalize.

During such emergencies, from a high pressure environments, divers, and sometimes, jet pilots develop air bubbles in their bodies’ systems, which can be very painful and fatal if the body is not immediately equalized, thus the need for a decompression, thus the hyperbaric chamber.

With a loop dive festival in Boholdex 2023, Bohol is inviting underwater photographer divers to join the photo competition, and in some newly opened dive sites, these competitive diver visual artists would to descent over the regular dive depths, to seek for the subjects of their shoots.

The famed black corals in Jagna and the wall in Balicasag and the underwater ledges of Cabilao, have been a mecca of deep divers, the currents in these places notorious for disorienting divers who could easily mistake their dive depths to beyond normal open-water diver limits, increasing the risk of decompression sickness if divers surface fast without the necessary pressure equalization.

Organized by Bohol Provincial Government, Panglao Association of Dive Operators (PADO) and the 12 local government units whose dive sites would be showcased during the half-a-month long dive festival, Bholdex brings in hundreds of SCUBA divers and free divers to explore Bohol and its new but world-class dive sites.

However, with a hyperbaric chamber remaining un-operational, the risks are high, according to PADO President Edgar Baylon, who acknowledges that the PDRRMC move is a huge help to assure divers that in any eventuality, there is a place nearby where they can get first aid.

But with Bohol not part of the hyperbaric (decompression chamber) MOA, it can only grant the operationalization fund, if it can be part of the MOA, in its intent to make the facility operational.

The PDRRMC, in its meeting presided by Provincial Administrator Aster Caberte, then is asking the Sangguninag Panlalaigan and the Provincial Legal Office to review the initial MOA and see how the Provincial Government can help operationalize the facility.

PDRRM Officer Dr Anthony Damalerio said the facility would need some P280K for spare parts and training of personnel who will operate the first aid facility.

Additional information from sources in Panglao bared that the facility needs three-phased power source, thus a special power connection, and a medical officer who will supervise the treatment, if ever.

The PDRRM Office in Bohol may be able to lend its manpower and shoulder the cost of training, while it also has disaster funds which could be used for the purpose.

This is even as a most immediate review of the MOA, so that Bohol could become a part of the contract of operation of the facility, says Damalerio. (RAHC/PIA_7/Bohol)

By Bohol Island News

Your reliable source of news and content in the island and the rest of Central Visayas and Mindanao.

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