AFP gears up for big quake
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - July 23, 2015 - 5:48am

MANILA, Philippines - The military on Friday conducted a tabletop exercise that seeks to test their coordination plan in case a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hits Metro Manila.

About 100 soldiers joined the exercise held at the Armed Forces Command and General Staff College Wargaming Center and Function Hall in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The activity coincided with the nationwide earthquake drill organized by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“Insofar as the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is concerned, we are ready,” AFP deputy chief for operations Brig. Gen. Angelito de Leon said in an interview.

“If the Big One happens, the instruction is to drop everything and switch to HADR (humanitarian and disaster response),” he added.

Earlier, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology warned that 33,000 people could die if a 7.2-magnitude quake caused by the West Valley Fault hits Metro Manila and nearby areas.

Also known as the Marikina fault line, the West Valley Fault starts from the Sierra Madre and runs through Bulacan, Rodriguez, Rizal, Quezon City, the eastern side of Metro Manila including Pasig, Taguig, Muntinlupa, San Pedro, and Sta. Rosa in Laguna and ends in Carmona, Cavite. 

De Leon said under their plan, troops from the Northern Luzon Command in Tarlac and Southern Luzon Command in Quezon will send troops to assist affected areas in Metro Manila. 

He cited the need to improve the logistics and communication systems to ensure prompt delivery of assistance.

“We have to identify and consider the capacity of logistics bases. We have to further streamline communications,” de Leon said.

Rescuers, de Leon said, have been reminded to ensure their safety so they can extend assistance to those who need it.

“They should keep safe because if they do not take care of themselves, they will not be able to join the response efforts,” he added.

The venue of the tabletop exercise has two control rooms where military units can discuss and coordinate their responses. The plan was assessed based on three indicators namely promptness, appropriateness, and sustainability.

The Northern Luzon Command, Southern Luzon Command, Eastern Mindanao Command, Western Mindanao Command, Air Force, Army, Navy, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Civil Relations Servations, Generations Headquarters and Headquarters Support Command, AFP Reserve Command, AFP Medical Center, AFP Crisis Action Team, and AFP Battle Staff Bravo participated in the exercise.

The tabletop exercises started last Wednesday and will end on Friday.

ACIRC AIR FORCE ARMED FORCES COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE WARGAMING CENTER AND FUNCTION HALL ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BATTLE STAFF BRAVO CAMP AGUINALDO COMMAND METRO MANILA NORTHERN LUZON COMMAND QUEZON CITY WEST VALLEY FAULT
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