PROFICIENCY in what rafters do in dealing with nature is the primary aim of Task Force Rapids (TFR) in initiating the re-training of the river guides.

The first batch of the trainees comprised 27 of the 101 rafters from six whitewater outfitters. The second training is set on June 28 and the last one in July.

In a two-day training that began Tuesday, the rafters are undergoing a series of lecture, demonstration, review, and written skills exams in basic life support and emergency first-aid.

Some of the rafters have been running the river course for 10 years, but they wanted to take part in the refresher course by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC).

TFR consultant and former Department of Tourism-10 (DOT-10) regional director Dorothy Jean Pabayo said “if they will pass the training, they will qualify for the International Rafting Federation (IRF) where they can go through more intensive river guide training.

She added there will be also cases when rafters would just like to have intensive review and training to regain their skills.

PNRC head of training Dale Vallejos said that certification will be given to the qualifiers and its usage is only up to a year.

The emergency first-aid certification however can last up to two years. Once expired, they have to take the refresher course again.

Vallejos admitted the PNRC has been lenient in the training but with the whitewater rafting accident that led to the untimely death of tourist Aizza Mae Balbin, PNRC has decided that they will impose stricter training for the rafting community.

“This time we will really have to impose more intensive training for them. Rafting companies are also required to let their river guides join this training and the IRF before deploying them to the river,” Vallejos said.

There are also cases when trainees cannot qualify.

“Occasionally, there are really those who fail. Some of the rafters man gud are living in the riverbanks. Although they are not that comprehensive when it comes to the written examination, but skills-wise, they are better than on paper. So we advise them to take the remedial exam within that day,” he explained.

Val Lingad, of local rafting outfitter Bugsay, who has been a river guide for eight years, said that he took the refresher training mainly because of the recent rafting accident.

“I took the training because of what happened. Something to refresh my skills, I guess,” Lingad said.