DSWD’s Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies (TeamBRE) Project

In 2011, the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) held a press conference. One of the matters raised was that during typhoons and other calamities, “fisherfolk” are among the most affected. Aside from their very lives being in danger, their livelihood — which depends solely on the sea — are also at risk.

Hence, it was decided that fisherfolk should be given appropriate services. One such project is Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies (TeamBRE), designed by the Social Technology Bureau (STB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

DSWD Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies Project
DSWD Caraga conducts meetings and orientation as part of TeamBRE project in September 2019.
Image Credits: @dswdcaraga on Twitter, stb.dswd.gov.ph (TeamBRE logo)

What is TeamBRE?

Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies or “TeamBRE” is a project that mobilizes fisherfolk for rescue and evacuation of affected families during calamities. In particular, these are the families located in coastal barangays and other disaster-prone areas.

The project was created in response to findings that fisherfolk have low economic productivity and high casualty rates during typhoons and other calamities.

Objectives of the Program

Generally, the TeamBRE project aims to mobilize a pool of volunteers among fisherfolk to support community resiliency. At the same time, the project seeks to provide an alternative source of income for fisherfolk during lean or typhoon months.

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Enhance the skills of fisherfolk regarding disaster preparedness and response;
  • Organize fisherfolk as TeamBRE volunteers who will respond safely during disasters and emergencies, in partnership with the local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council; and
  • Augment the fisherfolk’s income during lean or typhoon months.

Target Beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of the TeamBRE project are fisherfolk and their families, particularly those who are residing in low-lying, hazard-prone coastal areas and major rivers.

DSWD Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies Project
DSWD Caraga holds CADRE training sessions as part of TeamBRE project in September 2019.
Image Credit: @dswdcaraga on Twitter

Components of the Project

The TEAMBRE project has three main components, as follows:

1. Capability Building

This component involves the training of TeamBRE volunteers and project partners on family-based disaster preparedness and Community Action for Disaster Response (CADRE).

Notably, the CADRE training sessions cover the following topics:

  • Fire Emergencies;
  • Water Emergencies;
  • Basic Search and Rescue;
  • First Aid and Basic Life Support;
  • Securing Family and Preparing for Response;
  • Common Hazards and Community Response Group;
  • Dead Body Management; and
  • Incident Command System and Community Quick Response Sorting Technique.

2. Support Services

This focuses on providing services such as cash-for-work, food-for-work, skills training, livelihood assistance, and educational support to TeamBRE volunteers and their families.

3. Community Mobilization

This includes the organization of trained volunteers, mapping of resources, and formation of linkages with partners towards disaster preparedness and response.

Pilot Areas

The pilot implementation for the TeamBRE project covers these areas: Bacacay, Albay (Region V); Tacloban City (Region VIII); and Hinatuan, Surigao del Sure (CARAGA Region).

Here are some of the highlights or results of the pilot implementation:

  • 150 fisherfolk were organized and trained on CADRE, and they served as first responders during emergencies in their areas.
  • In Hinatuan, Surigao del Sur, 25 TeamBRE volunteers served as Deputized Fish Wardens and watchers of illegal fishing, cutting of mangroves, and gold panning activities.
  • Eight (8) TeamBRE volunteers and 13 project project partners from the three pilot areas transferred their skills on CADRE to untrained fisherfolk.
  • Incidents of casualty among fisherfolk was reduced.
  • Fisherfolk and their families became involved in livelihood projects such as mangrove planting, seaweed production, sari-sari store, piggery, goat-raising, boat repair, fish vending, backyard gardening, swine fattening, and more.
    The project increased the resiliency of individuals, families, and communities during emergency situations.

Interestingly, the TeamBRE project was replicated in seven (7) local government units (LGUs) of Dinagat Islands. In the following year, four (4) LGUs signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DSWD Field Office Region II for replication of the project. In addition, 13 LGUs in Region II and two (LGUs) in CAR had expressed interest in replicating the project.

Video: All About TeamBRE Project

The following video discusses the TeamBRE project in greater detail. It is shared by the Social Technology Bureau (STB) Hub YouTube channel:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Meanwhile, here are some frequently asked questions — and answers — about the TeamBRE project:

1. What is TeamBRE project?

TeamBRE stands for “Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies,” a project that mobilizes fisherfolk for rescue and evacuation of affected families in coastal areas during calamities.

2. What are its objectives?

The TeamBRE project seeks to mobilize a pool of volunteers among fisherfolk, who can help with rescue and evacuation during calamities. It also aims to provide alternative sources of income for fisherfolk and their families during “lean” or typhoon months.

3. Who are its target beneficiaries?

The target beneficiaries of TeamBRE project are fisherfolk and their families who are living in low-lying, hazard-prone coastal areas and major rivers.

4. What are its components?

The main components of the TeamBRE project are: capability building, support services, and community mobilization.

5. What type of trainings are provided?

The project provides training on handling fire emergencies, water emergencies, basic search and rescue, first aid, and basic life support, among other topics.

6. How can I learn more about it?

You can learn more about the TeamBRE project by contacting the DSWD Office or Social Technology Unit (STU) nearest you.

Contact Information: Social Technology Bureau

For questions and concerns about the TeamBRE project, you can get in touch with the Social Technology Bureau (STB), which is situated at the DSWD Central Office in Quezon City. Its office hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Address: Social Technology Bureau, 3rd Floor, Matapat Building, Department of Social Welfare and Development – Central Office, IBP Road, Constitution Hills, Batasan Complex, Quezon City
Telephone: +632 8951 7124 / 8951 2802 / 8931 8144
Email: soctech@dswd.gov.ph
Website: https://stb.dswd.gov.ph/

Google Map:

NOTE: On the other hand, if you are based outside the NCR, be sure to get in touch with the Regional Social Technology Unit (STU) in your province or region. Here is the STU directory, for your reference.

Infographic About Project

Meanwhile, here is an infographic featuring the TeamBRE project:

DSWD Team Balikatan Rescue in Emergencies Project
Image Credit: stb.dswd.gov.ph

Final Thoughts

Thanks to the TeamBRE project, fisherfolk and their families are better equipped for dealing with typhoons and other calamities. The fact that it also provides alternative livelihood opportunities makes TeamBRE an ideal project for those living in coastal areas, indeed!

Speaking of calamities, did you know that the DSWD has a specific bureau that addresses such matters? Check out this article to learn all about the Disaster Response Management Bureau (DRMB)!