Eight out of Nine Munti barangays may sink into the ground

MANILA, Philippines – Eight of Muntinlupa City’s nine barangays have a “high potential” for liquefaction should a strong earthquake jolt Metro Manila, a city disaster management official said yesterday.

Oscar Oquendo, who heads the city’s disaster reduction management council, said liquefaction happens when the soil becomes loose due to “massive ground shaking.” He told The STAR that if this occurs, “two-story houses would become one-floor ones. The first floor would sink into the ground.”

Citing a Metro Manila Earthquake Impact Reduction Study, Oquendo said the eastern portions of the barangays – except for the upscale Ayala Alabang – are “highly vulnerable” to this phenomenon “because they lie along the shoreline of Laguna de Bay.”

He clarified, however, that the effect will only be “minimal,” contrary to scenarios projected by other sectors.

Oquendo said they have been strengthening the barangays’ participation in ensuring the residents’ safety, such as identifying resources like the number of doctors and which establishments can help in rescue efforts. He said creeks and rivers run through most of the city’s barangays, which are connected through bridges.

He said should the bridges collapse, the city’s rescue personnel would not be able to respond to affected barangays, whose officials and residents would be left with only themselves to attend to their immediate needs.

City holds earthquake drill

Several employees of a 12-story condominium in Filinvest, Muntinlupa City stopped their daily routine after hearing the siren for the city’s quarterly fire earthquake drill yesterday morning.

Workers of Civil Place Building left their offices as fire trucks and ambulances arrived. Minutes later, two persons pretended to be trapped at the roof deck, allowing firefighters led by Chief Inspector Roderick Aguto to demonstrate the use of a P100-million ladderized firetruck – the only one in the country that can reach 15 floors.

Aguto said their new firetruck can also be used to douse fires in slum areas, “because if we cannot penetrate the area due to narrow alleys, I’ll just have to park it somewhere near and elevate its ladders to (direct) water to affected areas.”

Firefighters took five minutes to evacuate the employees and rescue the trapped persons, who were later brought to an ambulance.

Omar Acosta, city public information chief, told The STAR that the yesterday’s activity was a way to make residents and investors “feel secure” while staying in the city. Muntinlupa is among seven Metro Manila cities that are earthquake-prone since they lie along the Marikina West Valley Fault.

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