Quezon City – Duck, cover, hold. These were the instructions given to 7,000 students, faculty members and personnel of the Muntinlupa National High School (MNHS) during the nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill Thursday morning, February 17, 2011.
The activity began with the ceremonial pressing of the button, which signals the start of the drill. A scenario was staged wherein MNHS students, teachers and personnel were busy with their regular school work when a 7.2 magnitude earthquake suddenly occurred.
The teachers told their students to duck, cover and hold. As soon as the shaking has stopped, immediately, teachers ordered the students not to panic and to walk orderly out of their classrooms.
The students and other school personnel directly went to their designated evacuation area along with emergency kits and flaglets with written year level and section for easy identification.
The ceremony was led by Secretary of National Defense Voltaire T. Gazmin, Office of Civil Defense Administrator Benito T. Ramos, OCD-NCR Director Susan Cruz, PHIVOLCS Director Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Department of Education – NCR Director Elena Ruiz, and other officials from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and Muntinlupa City government.
City Councilor Atty. Raul R. Corro in behalf of Mayor Aldrin L. San Pedro welcomed and thanked the guests for choosing Muntinlupa National High School to be the venue of the 1st quarter earthquake drill.
Corro also announced that the city recently passed the disaster risk reduction ordinance wherein 1% is being imposed on tax dues. Corro said the amount that will be raised will be used for training and education of personnel, and procurement of additional equipment for disaster operations.
Meanwhile, Secretary Gazmin thanked Muntinlupa Congressman Rodolfo Biazon and the local government as well as the students, teachers and personnel of MNHS for actively participating in the drill. Gazmin added that preparedness is vital to survival.
The secretary likewise encouraged members of the School Disaster Risk Reduction Management (SDRRM) Task Force to continuously upgrade their skills and intensify their communication efforts through the school’s communication and information team.
PHIVOLCS Director Renato Solidum also encouraged the students to continue to practice what they’ve learned from the drill and likewise, teach other household members to practice the same.
Congressman Rodolfo Biazon lauded the NDRRMC in raising the awareness of students, faculty members and even other school personnel on disaster preparedness. In 2008, the former Senator now Congressman, drafted a bill on disaster preparedness that focuses on readiness, rescue, relief and rehabilitation.
Other NDRRMC members from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Navy (PN) and the City Disaster Coordinating Council of Muntinlupa also witnessed the event. (PIA-NCR/Jell E. Guzman)