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MMDA needs 8,000 quake responders

Wanted: Volunteers to undergo 3-day crash course on emergency rescue
/ 06:25 AM June 01, 2015

To ensure that there will be enough rescue personnel on hand should the “Big One” hit Metro Manila, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) is looking for 8,000 volunteers to undergo a three-day crash course on emergency response.

During the agency’s Sunday radio program, MMDA Chair Francis Tolentino said they were aiming to train free of charge an additional 8,000 people who would become part of the Metro Manila Rescue Volunteer core.

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At present, the agency has a 6,000-strong rescue team on top of 1,000 volunteers from local government units in the the metropolis.

According to Tolentino, those who want to volunteer for emergency rescue training should be 18 years old and above and physically fit. The training can be done on weekdays or on a weekend, depending on the volunteers’ availability.

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The need for more volunteers has become apparent after the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that the West Valley Fault, which runs through several cities in the metropolis and nearby provinces, was ripe for movement.

Phivolcs said that the fault line may generate a magnitude-7.2 quake which could leave around 37,000 people dead.

Under the MMDA’s Oplan Metro Yakal, the earthquake response plan drafted by the agency, the metropolis was divided into four quadrants to speed up the response time in case of a disaster.

The north quadrant (red) is composed of Caloocan, Navotas, Valenzuela, Quezon City, San Juan and Mandaluyong; the south quadrant (blue) is composed of Makati, Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Taguig, Pateros, Pasay, Muntinlupa and Pateros; the west quadrant (green) is made up of Manila and Malabon while the east quadrant (orange) is composed of Marikina and Pasig.

It also identified four possible evacuation sites for Metro residents (the Veterans Memorial Golf Course in Quezon City, Villamor Golf Course in Pasay City, Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong City and the Club Intramuros Golf Course in Manila) and assigned 2,000 emergency rescuers to man each quadrant.

Tolentino said that the training would be done by batches with each composed of 30 volunteers to maximize the time of the trainer and the facilities to be used. “We will also do the training by quadrant,” he added.

MMDA General Manager Cora Jimenez said individuals interested to undergo the free training may call the agency at 8820927 or 8824151.

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Tolentino added that the rescue volunteers would be given T-shirts, identification cards and a certificate of training. “They will be able to use the knowledge they gained from training in real-life scenarios,” he said.

The training is part of the agency’s preparation for the effects of a strong earthquake that may possibly hit the metropolis.

According to the Valley Fault System Atlas released by Phivolcs which contain detailed maps of the areas near the earthquake faults—the East Valley Fault which runs through Rizal and the West Valley Fault which stretches from Bulacan to Rizal, Metro Manila, Cavite and Laguna—the West Valley fault may move any time.–With Ariana Michaela Lopez and Celine Palenzuela, trainee

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TAGS: Big One, Earthquake, earthquake volunteers, Francis Tolentino, MMDA
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