Nationwide quake drill set July 2

Pia Lee-Brago, Jaime Laude - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - A nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill will be held on July 2 in observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) announced yesterday.

In its Twitter account, the NDRRMC posted that the drill would be launched along Roxas Boulevard in Manila near the US embassy.

“The main event will be in Manila and this will be conducted simultaneously all over the country,” NDRRMC administrator and Office of Civil Defense executive director Alexander Pama said in a text message to THE STAR.

In the first quarter of this year, the NDRRMC launched a similar event in Legazpi City in the Bicol region, considered an earthquake zone due to Mayon and Bulusan volcanoes.

The activity will be participated in by students and administrators and occupants of high-rise buildings in the area.

The city government of Manila will join the nationwide event to prepare workers and residents for a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that could possibly hit the metropolis as shown in a study conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said the activity is part of the city’s observance of the National Disaster Consciousness Month.

Meanwhile, the city government of Makati will hold its own earthquake drill tomorrow at the city hall grounds.

Makati Mayor Junjun Binay said operations at the city hall would be suspended starting at 1 p.m. to make way for the drill, which will also simulate a power blackout.

Binay said the drill, organized by the Makati Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC), aims to raise awareness among employees and other workers holding office at the city hall regarding safety guidelines and precautions during an earthquake.

Earlier, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino called on all local government units in Metro Manila to hold earthquake drills after a magnitude 5.7 quake jolted the metropolis and nearby areas in Luzon Wednesday night.

Johnny Yu, chief of Manila’s anti-disaster unit, said 70 percent of the establishments in the city such as schools, hotels and hospitals, would take part in the whole-day activity on Roxas Boulevard.

Yu said the activity in the morning would prepare the public for a possible movement of the West Valley Fault, while the afternoon will focus on the movement of the Manila Trench. He said they would like to see how prepared the barangays would be should a disaster hit the city.

In line with the drill, the city government of Manila has distributed disaster and contingency plans, including hazard maps, to every barangay.

Yu said the contingency plan would be tested on July 2. He said the city is preparing for a worst-case scenario.

“We don’t want a repeat of what happened in Bohol and Tacloban. What we are trying to do is create a worst-case scenario to be able to prepare for any eventuality,” he said.

The MDRRMC, according to Binay, has planned the earthquake drill months before to ensure that it would be executed properly and comply with the international protocol on Incident Command System (ICS).

Binay said 59 floor marshals and 167 team leaders would guide city hall employees during a simulated evacuation drill. Other city employees have been trained as assistant team leaders, first aid providers and searchers.

More than 3,700 city employees and around 300 others from the Makati courts will join the activity.

PLDT, Globe back

mobile alerts law

Telecommunications giants Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom have expressed support for a new law mandating them to send free mobile alerts during calamities.

President Aquino signed into law Republic Act 10639 or the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act last June 20, compelling telecommunications providers to send free mobile alerts during natural and man-made disasters and calamities.

PLDT Group spokesman Ramon Isberto said the company would work with concerned government agencies on the implementation of the law.

“We have been working with the government regarding emergency alerts in the past. We need to work out how will we continue to do so under the new law,” Isberto said.  – With Aie Balagtas See, Mike Frialde, Lawrence Agcaoili


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