SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
In preparation for the "Big One," a major earthquake feared to ravage Metro Manila, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution urging the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) and its agency-members to submit their plans of action.
House Resolution No. 1938, principally authored by Committee on Metro Manila Development Chairman Winston Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) , emphasizes the need for thorough preparation given the grave impact of a massive earthquake to the densely populated Metro Manila.
It states that Metro Manila residents must acquire the necessary skills and information to prepare themselves and their families.
The resolution cites that a 2004 study conducted by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) and funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) identified the West Valley Fault traversing Metro Manila as ripe for a strong movement of 7.2 magnitude.
The fault last generated an earthquake in 1658 or 360 years ago. Since the fault generates a major earthquake roughly every 400 years, the Big One is feared to occur soon.
The JICA study further showed the catastrophic impact of the Big One: an estimate of 33,000 deaths and 150,000 injuries sustained given the effects of an earthquake of this magnitude, as well as the possible destruction of 40 percent of residential buildings and 35 percent of public buildings.
Inquiries by the House have since revealed that families in Metro Manila are not sufficiently aware and prepared for a strong earthquake or its impact to their lives and properties.
According to HR 1938, this indicates the deficiencies of the disaster preparedness programs and activities of the agencies under the NDRMMC.
The measure thereby mandates the concerned agencies and other stakeholders to craft and submit to Congress detailed plans and programs that will render Metro Manila communities and residents truly prepared.
In particular, the MMDA is urged to spearhead a massive public information campaign to educate the residents, businesses, and government sectors on how they must get ready for the earthquake and its after-effects.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense (DND) through its Office of Civil Defense (OCD) is tasked with the establishment of a roadmap for a safe and resilient Metro Manila using specific, accurate, and up-to-date information on existing vulnerabilities and risk reduction and management measures.
The resolution also urges the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to conduct an engineering audit of the structural integrity and reliability of Metro Manila buildings.
Lastly, the NDRRMC, local government units, private sector, and other stakeholders must hold an inter-agency conference to formulate a well-coordinated action plan. | Czarina Engracia