We’ve been preparing for the ‘Big One,’ Phivolcs, NDRRMC tell solons
STATE seismology and disaster risk reduction officials told the House of Representatives panel that they have been preparing for the “Big One” in Metro Manila, after one congressman criticized them for scaring the people of the earthquake scenario in the National Capital Region.
During the House Metro Manila development committee hearing Monday, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) Director Renato Solidum said the Phivolcs has gone around earthquake prone areas in Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna and all Metro Manila cities informing them of the possible impact of a strong earthquake due to the West Valley Fault.
Solidum said this initiative has been ongoing since 2005.
“We’ve been preparing for the earthquake in Manila since 2005. We’ve covered Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and all cities in Metro Manila in the past two years and even way back in 2004, explaining to them the different hazards, where the faults are, and the need for preparedness,” Solidum said.
Solidum also cited its release of the Valley Fault System Atlas, a handbook of large-scale maps that detail areas traversed by the Valley Fault System in Metro Manila and surrounding areas.
He said it is only a coincidence that the government seemed only preparing for the Metro Manila earthquake in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that killed thousands in Nepal in April.
“Patuloy ang gawa ng gobyerno. Nagkataon lang na everytime there’s a major earthquake in other countries, government is asked (by media) about preparedness,” Solidum said.
He was reacting to Buhay Representative Lito Atienza who criticized Phivolcs for issuing alarming statements about an earthquake scenario long after keeping mum on its preparations.
“Bakit mayroong threatening bits of information from Phivolcs and Metro Manila Development Authority. Parang seasonal ata ito, bigla na lang binabalita, tapos nawawala nang matagal. Why is this sudden outburst of information coming from government?” Atienza said.
The representative also noted that the alarmist statements only serve to negatively affect the economy.
“We should do our work without alarming the population. Otherwise, it would cost economic dislocation,” Atienza said.
National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Alexander Pama, meanwhile, said on the NDRRMC’s part, it has crafted a national disaster response plan for earthquakes and tsunamis, as well as a Metro Manila integrated contingency plan.
“’Yung sa tanong na seasonal, kung bakit ngayon lang, since the study (on the impact of earthquake) was made in 2004, marami na tayong ginawang initiative. [Ang] NDRRMC ay gumawa ng national disaster response plan for earthquakes and tsunamis,” Pama said.
MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino also urged Congress to pass a bill authorizing the MMDA to take possession of commercial heavy equipment such as bulldozers and dump trucks being sold along Edsa and Araneta Avenue so they can use those to clear debris in case of a strong quake.
“Humihingi kami ng proposed legislative measure for Metro Manila to authorize MMDA during declaration of an emergency to take possession of all these assets to be utilized for clearing and recovery operations without regard for imminent, just compensation,” Tolentino said. AC
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