An emergency is always definitely a race against time. A few minutes of delayed response could mean the loss of lives and/or property. While it is true that all local government units have police cars, fire trucks and ambulances equipped with sirens and blinkers to respond to emergency situations, the only thing that makes the city of Marikina different is the sign posted in all of its emergency vehicles that says: “If this unit fails to reach you within 5 minutes upon call for assistance. report to Mayor BF, at tel. no. 646-1634,” This self-imposed time of five minutes is designed to successfully address the need for a quick response in times of emergency. It covers three basic needs namely fire, police and ambulance services to the people. To carry-out the program, the city government has established a Public Safety Command Center, otherwise known as RESCUE 161 at the back of the City Hall. To ensure the integrity of reports and compliance, all calls for assistance are timed and logged-in.
Two to three years ago, the average response time of police, fire and ambulance in the city was anywhere between 5 to 30 minutes. At present, the average response time of local operatives is between 2 to 5 minutes. In 1998, RESCUE 161 had a total of 3,384 responses or an average of 9.27 responses daily. These figures indicate an increase of 121% over the 1997 figures of 1,533 and 4.02 responses, respectively. Even the 98% crime solution efficiency of the Marikina Police is partly attributable to the program. Other components of the program are the following: Non-Emergency Medical Transfer (transport of non- emergency patient from house to hospital, hospital to house, house to house) and Midnight Doctor (extension of medical service to non-emergency patient right at his/her residence between 9 PM to 5 AM on a per need basis). There is now a great sense of public security in Marikina knowing that the city government is always ready to protect the lives and properties of its people.
This program is recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Programs in the 1999 Galing Pook Awards.