By Christopher Lloyd T. Caliwan
MANILA, June 15 (PNA) — The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday announced the active participation of several business sectors in the first Metro-wide earthquake drill on July 30.
“They fully agreed with this event and we are very thankful for their support,” MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino told reporters after the meeting with representatives of several business organizations held at the Thai Dusit Hotel in Makati City.
Tolentino said the active participation of the business sectors are needed for their people to be prepared in time of a big disaster.
Among the business groups who attended the meeting and supported the MMDA plan were Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines and Bankers Association of the Philippines and Industry.
The meeting focused on the precautions and necessary actions to be taken on the part of the business community in order to survive when the Valley Fault System (VFS) moves.
The MMDA wanted the business community to prepare for a systematic evacuation, rescue and response measure.
“For example, in a call center buiding, they should have a floor by floor evacuation plan. They must ensure the safety of personnel, It should have been well planned,” said Tolentino.
“There will be a simultaneous drill once sirens and bells ring at exactly 10:30 a.m.,” he added.
In order to make the drill effective, Tolentino said they are hoping that various sectors will give their all-out participation.
“So we expect an all out participation of schools, hospitals, malls, call centers, government offices, among others,” he noted.
The MMDA chief said the July 30 event will be similar to the “Great California ShakeOut”, an earthquake preparedness drill that took place on November 13, 2008, where 5.3 million people participated.
The drill involved homes, businesses, schools, churches and communities across Southern California and also featured week-long events to connect communities with preparedness resources and the information and knowledge to prepare, respond, and recover in the event of a disaster.
Aside from the business sectors, the MMDA is also consulting with local government officials and community leaders about the government’s contingency plans in the event a powerful earthquake hit Metro Manila.
In case tragedy hits, Metro Manila will be divided into four quadrants.
The government will use at least three golf courses as evacuation centers in the National Capital Region in the event of a big quake.
The Villamor Golf Club in Pasay City, Intramuros Golf Club in Manila, and the Veterans Memorial Medical Center Golf Club in Quezon City were identified by the MMDA as evacuation centers.
These golf clubs will also be used as relief distribution hub, trauma centers, mobile hospitals, training and command post based on the agreement made by the agency and the management of the golf courses.
Based on the studies conducted by the MMDA and Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), the earthquake rehabilitation would cost Metro Manila around Php1.8 to Php2.3 trillion.
“Are we prepared for that? Metro Manila has a booming economy but do we accept if the quake destroys half of it?” said Tolentino.
Tolentino said the drill is part of the agency’s commitment to ensure disaster preparedness especially during earthquake, using the sectoral grouping as specified in Oplan Metro Yakal.
MMDA employees are required to group themselves according to sectors of their places of residence.
Areas covered by the North Sector are Caloocan, Valenzuela, Malabon and Quezon City.
The cities of Navotas, Manila and Pasay form the West Sector.
On the other hand, the South Sector includes the cities of Makati, Taguig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas and the Municipality of Pateros.
Oplan Metro Yakal is MMDA’s earthquake contingency plan which focuses on preparedness of government resources and that of private organizations during emergencies.
Phivolcs recently released the Valley Fault System Atlas which contained detailed maps of the areas near the earthquake faults — the East Valley Fall which runs through Rizal and the West Valley Fault which spans from Bulacan going to Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna.
The agency said a strong movement, possibly equivalent to a magnitude 7.2, from the fault is possible and could kill more than 30,000 people based from Phivolcs studies.
The atlas also identified the 72 barangays in the metro cities of Pasig, Quezon, Marikina, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa which are above the fault line. (PNA)