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Bill mandates Filipinos must learn how to swim

With flood-causing weather disturbances occurring at least 25 times a year in an archipelago like the Philippines, it has become necessary for Filipinos to learn to swim and rescue people on the verge of drowning.

Iligan City Rep. Frederick W. Siao made this observation as he urged colleagues in the House of Representatives to support House Bill 3495 or the Drowning Prevention Act.

The bill proposes the inclusion of mandatory swimming lessons as a subject in the K-12 Basic Education Curriculum.

Siao said swimming, water safety, and rescue lessons should be made an integral part of the overall strategy to reduce the incidence of drowning during natural calamities or recreational aquatic activities.

Because Filipinos live in an archipelago which also has various types of natural water forms, aside from being flood prone, all Filipinos must learn how to swim, develop skills in rescuing people from drowning, and learn water accident first aid.

“The United Nation International Children’s Emergency Fund survey disclosed that drowning is the second leading cause of death among Filipino children aged 14 and below, and the fourth leading cause of death from injuries in the Philippines,” said Siao.

Citing a report published by the World Health Organization, Siao said drowning is a “serious and neglected public health threat” that causes an average of 372,000 deaths annually. (Ben R. Rosario)