As part of the re-examination of the government’s capability in disaster response, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) conducted today the First Quarter Nationwide Earthquake Drill in Metro Manila as well as other parts of the country.
With the recent 6.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Eastern Visayas last month, the simulation aims to test the preparedness in responding to a strong earthquake as well as assess the evacuation and response plan of the various offices and establishments participating in the drill.
In Metro Manila, the ceremonial earthquake drill took place at the Camp Aguinaldo, covering the buildings of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Headquarters.
Simulating a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that would cause structural damages caused by cracks and fires, chemical spillage, trapped bodies, etc., the drill showcased the manner and procedure to be used by disaster response groups in times of calamity.
According to AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Jessie Delloso, the earthquake drill is a timely activity as the Philippines is beginning to experience earthquakes, with the recent one in Eastern Visayas leaving 50 people dead and 66 missing.
He said that “the activity is a means to strengthen capability and enhance awareness on how to respond to a relatively strong calamity, particularly earthquake.”
Dr. Renato Solidum, Director of Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) reinforced the use of the “duck, cover, and hold” position during an earthquake and stressed that preparedness for earthquakes means preparedness for one’s self, buildings, and other people.
DND Secretary and NDRRMC Chairperson Voltaire Gazmin commended the concerted efforts of the national and local government in promoting the ultimate survival and safety of the nation and the citizenry through the drill.
He also added that the government and the public must exhibit vigilance and readiness at all times to ensure personal protection and safety in times of calamities.
The National Earthquake Drill is part of the continuing implementation of the NDRRMC’s Four Point Plan of Action on Disaster Preparedness particularly on public information, education, communication, and preparedness for response.
The activity which started since 2006 is conducted quarterly.