By Mike Frialde
MANILA, Philippines – The five-hour Metro Manila earthquake drill will be staged on July 30 as part of the government’s plan to make the Metro’s residents prepared for the possible 7.2-magnitude earthquake to be triggered by a movement in the West Valley Fault, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said.
It would be recalled that MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino earlier submitted a draft executive order to Malacañang calling for the conduct of the metro-wide earthquake drill. Tolentino said the MMDA, through the Metro Manila Council, will be meeting on June 2 with the 17 mayors of Metro Manila to discuss the flow and conduct of the drill.
Tolentino said the earthquake drill will happen between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. to simulate both daytime and nighttime conditions.
“Titignan natin kasi kailangan may daytime at night time. Kailangan may araw,” he said.
During the drill, both mobile phone service and electricity across Metro Manila would be cut. Without electricity, Tolentino said massive traffic jams would also be simulated as traffic lights would also not function.
“Kapag lumindol matrapik din talaga ‘yun eh. Kailangan ng simulation ng actual kasi. Ang lindol kasi disruption din yun di ba.
“Mas ready tayo kasi nasa labas lahat ng ambulansiya di ba?” he said.
As part of its own preparations, the MMDA will be holding a rescue Olympics on June 2 where the speed and efficiency of the respective rescue teams of the Metro’s 17 local government units will be assessed.
Meanwhile, the MMDA will also meet the heads of the 84 barangays that were earlier identified as being located along the path of the West Valley and East Valley faults.
Tolentino said that contingency measures at the barangay level would be discussed during the meeting.
One June 3, the MMDA, said Tolentino, would be holding a simulated deployment of its personnel under “Oplan Metro Yakal” – the agency’s action plan in the aftermath of a strong quake.
He said during the simulation, the MMDA would set-up simulated evacuation sites at the Villamor Air Base golf course, Veterans Hospital golf course and at the Intramuros golf course.
In addition, the MMDA will also be lending its “earthquake simulation house” to the barangays projected to be most affected by the 7.2 earthquake.
“Iikutin lahat ng barangays ng West Valley fault para idemo yung 6.9 magnitude at 7.2 magnitude sa mga residente ng barangay.
Maghapon yun. Pero pipilitin nila isang barangay sa umaga, isa sa hapon,” he said.
Tolentino stressed on the need for earthquake preparations in the Metro saying that from a scale of 1 to 10, he rates the level of awareness and readiness at 4.5.
“So ang inuulit ulit ko dito for this generation to realize the impact of this dapat makadaan tayo at least dalawang metro wide earth quake drill from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” he said.
Tolentino said residents of the 72 barangays located on the path of the West Valley and East Valley faults should be drilled on earthquake preparations.
“I think it would entail the collective efforts coming from each and everyone of you here. Lahat siguro. Lalo na yung 72 barangays na tatamaan ipakita yung kahandaan at yung karatig sa labas,” he said. – with reports from Irish Matito and Mariel Atuan