More people are now aware of the “drop, cover and hold,” a series of actions that the public must do when a big quake strikes.
This was the assessment made by the Metro Manila Development Authority which described this year’s earthquake drill a success.
MMDA chairman Danilo Lim on Friday led the 3rd Metro Manila shake drill event to reinforce the drop, cover and hold message as well as the whole process of getting people to prepare themselves for an emergency situation.
“The shake drill is to prepare us for worst-case scenarios and we want to test how long it would take fo rall units to respond given the traffic and rush hour. It’s my hope for citizens to see the significance and importance of the simulation exercise. The earthquake does not follow our schedule nor respects our standard for convenience,” said Lim.
Following the duck, cover and hold activity held at the MMDA main office in Makati City, which was participated by officials and employees, Lim left the agency to convene the Metro Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Council at the Emergency Operations Center at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
This year’s event was also participated by various government agencies and local governent units in cooperation with the private and the business sectors in cities of Taguig, Pasig, Makati, Manila and Quezon City in preparation for the Big One.
In Ortigas, fire and anti-terror drills were also conducted aside from the quake preparation exercise.
Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology director Renato Solidum said during the Friday drill, that in the event that Metro Manila experiences a magnitude 7.2 and intensity 8 quake, people must cover their heads and necks using their arms and get under desks and other shelters that are sturdy. He advised people to either hold on to their shelter or continue covering their heads and necks until the shaking stops.
“The importance of surviving the earthquake is for us to allocate our resources even better. If you survived you don’t need our help anymore, then we will find others who are in need of our assistance,” Solidum said.
The MMDA had called on Congress to pass a law making earthquake preparedness a regular exercise, not only for the National Capital Region, but for the entire country.
The drill was aimed to properly inform the people about survival methods and the “do’s and don’ts” before, during and after the disaster.
The agency noted that a number of scenarios made in the event were based on a simulated 7.2-magnitude tremor with Intensity 8 qhich could happen in Metro Manila.
Solidum said with an Intensity 8 earthquake, the scenarios of fire incidents, collapsed structures and hazardous traffic incidents would occur.
“You will not be able to move during such a strong quake,” said Solidum, whose office earlier made a warning that a massive quake would occur if the Valley Fault System moves.
He cautioned against entering buildings where earthquakes just struck, saying these structures may eventually collapse during the tremors’ aftershocks.
“No one can predict when will it happen. So, we must be prepared as individual persons, our safety is not depended to the national or local government. Our safety is really dependent on our awareness and preparedness during the earthquake.”
The MMDA also created Oplan Metro Yakal Plus, the MMDA’s disaster contingency plan drawn up for regional disaster response.
Under the Metro Yakal Plus, the MMDA is responsible for command and control and search and rescue operations if the Big One jolts Metro Manila.
The MMDA said it would permanently place a 20-foot container vans in the four quadrants in Metro Manila where command and control centers will be set up to facilitate the deployment of resources and rescue personnel. At present, the East Quadrant command center is located at LRT-2 train depot in Santolan, Pasig City; the North Quadrant at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; the South Quadrant at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City and the West Quadrant at the Intramuros Golf Course in Manila.